Attractions in Salem, OR

by Brent Abbott
A state fair is one of the many attractions of Salem, Oregon.

A state fair is one of the many attractions of Salem, Oregon.

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Salem is the capital of the state of Oregon, as well as the county seat of Marion County. According to the 2006 U.S. Census Bureau figures, the city of Salem has a population of 152,239 people. The city, which lies in the Willamette Valley, is home to numerous attractions for people of all ages.


Salem’s Mission Hill Museum ( covers five acres and displays the history of The Thomas Kay Woolen Mill, as well as the houses of the missionaries who founded Salem. The museum is open Monday through Saturday, but is closed on Sundays and on certain holidays. Visitors are able to access the grounds for free or pay a small admissions fee to explore the museum. Guests choose from either a self-guided or guided tour of the museum. A cafe and a gift shop are also offered at Mission Hill Museum.


St. Innocent Winery ( in Salem is a great attraction for adults interested in wine making and tasting. Types of wine produced by St. Innocent include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay, as well as sparkling wines. The tasting room at St. Innocent is open all year for guests wishing to stop in and taste the wines. The winery also offers special open houses during Memorial Day and Thanksgiving weekends, where visitors are able sample the various selections of wines, along with wine-friendly food and treats.


Elsinore Theatre ( has been a fixture in Salem since 1926. During its history, Elsinore entertained crowds with silent movies, early talking movies, as well as vaudeville performances. The theater was nearly demolished in 1980, but it was saved from demise with support from a grassroots organization. Today, Elsinore Theatre is host to a variety of events, such as classic movie showings, orchestras, musicals, ballets and plays. Tours are also arranged for visitors who wish to see the historic theater, as well as its legendary Wurlitzer organ.


Salem is host to the annual Oregon State Fair (, which runs from late August into early September. The fair provides carnival rides, food and beverages, along with various attractions and displays. Examples of other activities at the fair include a lumberjack demonstration and competition, dirt track car racing, various concerts, grill offs, horse shows and talent searches. The 2010 Oregon State Fair had an attendance of more than 380,000 people, which made it one of the biggest events in Oregon.

About the Author

Residing in the Midwest, Brent Abbott has been writing since 2007 on subjects including music, health, home improvement and computing. His work has been published on websites such as ReverbNation and Body Sava. Abbott holds a certificate in computer operating as well as an Associate of Arts in liberal arts from North Dakota State College of Science.

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