The city that is Salem today was originally called Chemeketa; it also went by the names "Mill" and "Institute". The name Salem was adopted about 1850, and the town became the capital of the Oregon Territory in 1851.  Salem provides a horde of historic sites to explore and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. One of the oldest cities in the state, Salem is the third largest city in Oregon and offers a blend of history, politics and culture, surrounded by modern agriculture. 

Tour the domed State Capitol - with the gold plated "Oregon Pioneer" on top - 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 much of the downtown 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 is home to Honeywood Winery , the oldest in the state.

Children will enjoy Discovery Village , located on the banks of the Willamette River. In the summer, take a delightful cruise onboard the sternwheeler Willamette Queen . And to experience one of the oldest ferries in the state, drive a few miles north of Salem to Wheatland .

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.