Named from the anglicized form of the Hebrew word "shalom," meaning peace, Salem provides visitors with exactly that - plus a horde of historic sites to explore and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Oregon's capital, one of the oldest cities in the state, exudes simple, small-town hospitality with just enough politics and culture to keep things interesting. Tour the grand, gold-domed State Capitol to learn about the workings of the government, then head to the observation deck for a fantastic view of Salem and its surrounding area. Although the whole city is a living history lesson, brimming with old buildings and landmarks, the Mill Mission Museum is a definite standout. Art buffs should not miss the impressive Pacific Northwest collection at the Hallie Ford Art Museum. In between sights, take time to people watch or picnic at Bush's Pasture Park, or enjoy wine tasting at some of the local vineyards. Salem's idyllic setting, in the heart of the emerald Willamette Valley, coupled with its historic role as political hub for Oregon make it the perfect choice for a delightful and interesting weekend away.
Things to do in Salem
4.5 based on 730 reviews
Word of mouth is with out a doubt the Best breakfast food in Salem.
We go out at least once per week and try every breakfast place we can find. They have unusual dishes and amazing food quality. You will be waiting a while, it’s a very small place and they have maximized the seating but it’s super popular.
4.5 based on 398 reviews
I have eaten at the Wild Pear innumerable times, and I have never had a bad meal. If my wife is out of town, and I'm on my own, this is where I slip away to lunch. Some things are real standouts. The French dip sandwich is delicious, on a nice crusty baguette, with tender, flavorful beef. The lobster melt sandwich is great. The coconut curry butternut squash soup is fabulous.
Even though it is great, Wild Pear isn't perfect. Because it is an open space, and a little crowded, it can be a little noisy. I don't mind, but my wife doesn't like to go there because of the noise. Parking is a little problematic. I often have to park a block away. On the other hand, the wait staff is pleasant, professional, cheerful, and efficient. Oh, and the place is spotlessly clean. I appreciate that.
4.5 based on 440 reviews
Annettes is located in the historic Kingwood Building. Originally built in 1928 to be a market place. The building has adopted many occupants through it's time. Annette has given the historic building the respect it deserves with a dramatic makeover inside and out. Many people still remember the old market place and can't believe this is the same building from way back when. Come dine with us in our modern, yet home style stmosphere, with friendly staff to make you feel right at home.
Annette’s is one of those local places you can’t not go to. It’s got amazing food! Good portions and the people there are friendly! We like sitting in the bar and ordering appetizers and drinks. It’s a good atmosphere. Stop in grab some great food and drinks and hangout!
4.5 based on 139 reviews
My wife took me to Bibimbap House while we were in Salem for my birthday, and we found it to be an outstanding choice. Parking was ample, and they opened up their more private back room for us so we were seated quickly. Many menu choices, and our server was friendly and attentive without smothering us. We loved the complimentary egg/veggie appetizers with four different Korean toppings. Absolutely delicious. Then our entrees arrived. My wife's Bibimbap (#9) arrived sizzling and beautifully presented, and I was treated to a well-proportioned, lovely combination lunch (Beef Bulgogi). Both dishes were flavored well and gave us many tastes of Korea. And, best of all, they were very moderately priced. I highly recommend Bibimbap House to both local and visiting foodies!
5 based on 73 reviews
At Rafns', we work directly with Oregon growers to provide the highest quality food products available. Our goal is to support farming practices that respect our land and strengthen our community. What We Do: We use certified organic olive oil and butter. We use cage-free and free-range eggs. We use meats that are local, drug-free, and humanely-raised. For real. We make our own gelatin-rich bone broth. We use organic, non-irradiated herbs, spices, and chocolate from local suppliers. We use organic produce from local farmers and purveyors, with very few exceptions. We take pride in the cleanliness of our kitchen. What We Don't Do: We don't use MSG. We don't use trans fats or refined oils. We don't use teflon or synthetic cookware. We don't use genetically modified ingredients. We don't own a microwave. These are the standards and values that guide us. If you share these values, we hope you will support us! -Nate & Rochelle Rafn
We have wanted to try Rafns for quite awhile and decided this would be a great place to celebrate our anniversary-it was!! The surroundings are simple but elegant, the service was attentive but not intrusive and the food was delicious! I had the cranberry and pecan salad and mushroom soup (not too filling but very satisfying) and my husband had the Seafood “Caldeirada”-a Portuguese seafood stew (he loved it!). The homemade bread was also delicious! We enjoyed our food and our dining experience and will definitely go there again!
4 based on 378 reviews
Salem is hurting for really great restaurants, yet this place is an exception for sure. Consistently outstanding cuts of beef, and the Whiskey River Salmon is incredible! The staff is friendly, outstanding,and efficient. The endless supply of hot rolls are to die for! Gets my vote for best restaurant in Salem.
4 based on 392 reviews
Northwest Inspired Cuisine In Salem Oregon Looking for lunch, dinner, late night eats, drinks or a reason to celebrate? Join us for a culinary experience you are sure not to forget! Located in The Grand Hotel in Salem, Bentley’s Grill is a full service, Northwest Inspired, restaurant and bar. Offering some of the finest choices of fresh Pacific Northwest cuisine, and over 300 varieties of the region’s most enological offerings, Bentley’s Grill has something for everyone’s palate. An amazing menu, full bar, wine tasting and an incredible happy hour await you!
What a great place to have dinner after an 11 hour drive over icy winter roads to land for holiday stay. We sat in the bar and were waiting on immediately. Excellent wine selections and beautiful food presentation. Our wait staff were professional and friendly with just the right amount of attention. We ordered the calamari appetizer to share, cooked perfect and steaming hot to the table. For dinner I had the Panzenella Salad and my hubby ordered the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad. Both were very large and perfect for dinner. Because we were staying at the hotel we received a 10% discount off our food. Nice place, I'd go again and try some other items off the menu!
4 based on 215 reviews
We were on a long road trip from Vancouver to Santa Barbara and stopped for lunch in Salem. Newport was the first restaurant we encountered; what luck! The Hawaiian fish and chips were outstanding: coconut breaded mahi mahi (one of my favorite fish) with sweet potato fries. Coffee was good, too! Service was prompt, which was important for us, but others were enjoying a more leisurely mealtime. This was our most memorable meal between Vancouver and Santa Barbara.
4.5 based on 63 reviews
Grassfed burgers, fresh salads, beer-battered chicken, Pacific Northwest regional beer & wine pairings, housemade tots & fries, vegan & gluten-free options, 20 creative sauce blends, hand-spun milkshakes with locally-sourced small batch ice cream and more!
The cleverly-named Bo & Vine Burger Bar is located in downtown Salem near the intersection of Liberty and Court Streets. It’s billed as “a burger bar to a gather with friends and explore your inner foodie.” When you enter, you can pick up a menu to peruse while waiting in line to order at the counter. Besides the food menu, you’ll notice lots of interesting drink options, including beer, wine, Jones sodas and creative shakes.
Both my son and son-in-law ordered the Huevos Rancheros burger (with fire-roasted Hatch green chilies, cage-free fried egg, house-made pepper jack beer queso, sliced avocado, house-made chipotle aioli, cilantro) while I opted for the Willamette burger (with goat cheese crumbles, smoked bacon, house-made sweet chili sauce, caramelized onion, balsamic reduction, spring mix lettuce). We also ordered a side of their signature Bo & Vine tots, which taste like a glorious cross between hash browns and hush puppies.
My sons were both very happy with the taste and construction of their burgers. I found my Willamette burger to be remarkably crafted, with a nice blend of textures and a very nice balance of savory, sweet, slight sour and spice heat.
Service was efficient and polite, though not overly friendly. Their innovative sauce bar has a wide range of interesting sauces from which to choose. This is not a cheap place to eat, but prices are about what you’d expect to pay for an upscale burger. The biggest downside is the size of the dining room, which fills up very quickly during peak dining hours (we ended up deciding to take our order to go). Still, that would not deter me from returning to Bo & Vine should my travels bring me back to Salem.
4 based on 205 reviews
I really LOVE this place! They have the VERY BEST fajitas in town! The staff is very efficient, friendly and helpful.
The food is consistently good. You can always depend on a great meal here. And it's much less expensive than the other Mexican restaurant down across from Super Walmart on Lancaster Dr.
Excellent food every time we've gone... which is whenever I get a chance
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