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Salem Travel Guide, Oregon

Salem is settled in Willamette Valley, a beautiful region much appreciated for its scenery. The city is not of small scale, it is actually the third largest city in the state and the most important one since it is its capital. Still the biggest attraction is not the city itself, even if it has what it requires to keep the tourists entertained, but the outdoors and the beautiful parks and gardens.

The city came into being in 1834 when a Methodist missionary decided to form a settlement in the area. He was the one to found the Oregon Institute eight years later. The city can be seen as a city of firsts, the first settlement in Willamette Valley, the first school of higher learning in the region, the first textile mill, etc. With such a promising start one would have expected the city to develop much faster than the other neighboring cities, but it was not to be so until in 1859 it became the state’s capital.

The main industry in the city was the textile industry and it is still industry based. The cultural scene is also present enhanced by the presence of Willamette University, but it is more conservative than in the other cities with students where the great number of young people attending the universities guarantees a lively atmosphere.

Even if it is a big city it retains the feel and mood of a small town that for some might be appealing and the lack of hustle and bustle is quite relaxing making the visitor s feel at home and at easy in a different city.

Families surely appreciate this atmosphere as they feel their kids are safer in such a city. And this section is also included in the city’s plans for attracting tourists. Children can be kept entertained by taking them to Salem's Riverfront Park located on the western edge of downtown that includes Salem's Riverfront Carousel where they will enjoy a modern carousel and try each of its 42 horses. They can continue having fun at Salem's Riverfront Park as there is also the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village and many other attractions to keep them busy for the day.

The adults will also appreciate Salem's Riverfront Park and its lovely pathways where a nice stroll will put you in the right mood to visit the rest of the city. The riverfront is an attraction for many who fancy cruises on the Willamette River and they vary from one hour cruises to longer ones that also offer meals on deck.

For a more thoughtful entertainment the adults can choose to head to the Smith Auditorium to attend the performances of the Oregon Symphony or go to the Elsinore Theater or the Pentacle Theatre to see a good play.

Other equally worth visiting attractions are included in the countryside. One of them is the Silver Falls State Park with unique wineries, the Oregon Garden, and the flower fields. Another park is the find Willamette Mission State Park offering great outdoor activities like biking, walking and horseback-riding.

If you fell more like watching than have some action then you can head to the Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge south of the city while Basket Slough National Wildlife Refuge is to the north. Both offer wildlife watching that includes birds, ducks, geese, swans, and raptors.

The flora of the area is also highly appreciated and the flowers and gardens you can see at the Willamette University's Martha Springer Botanical Garden and Rose Garden are breathtaking. And we shouldn’t leave out to mention how beautiful the city becomes when the iris are in bloom. You are able to see them in spring at the farms, especially at Cooley's Gardens the world's largest bearded iris grower. A large variety of peonies and tulips are also a big draw.

A city of flowers, outdoor activities and quiet atmosphere, Salem is the perfect destination to al those who what to unwind.

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