Indoor Adventures Abound In Salem and the Mid-Willamette Valley
From thundering waterfalls to towering old-growth forests, there’s no question that Salem and the Mid-Willamette Valley offer some epic outdoor adventures - but did you know that the region is home to some unique indoor activities and attractions, too?
Whether you’re looking to try your hand at axe throwing, indoor rock climbing, or splash around in a heated, Olympic-sized pool, you’ll find plenty of indoor activities that appeal to kids and kids at heart.
Here’s a round-up of fun indoor adventures you can enjoy this winter (and all year long) in Salem and the Mid-Willamette Valley—along with a few ideas for food and drink if you’re looking to kick back, rest, and recharge afterward.
The Rock Boxx
Tucked away on a quiet corner in South Salem, The Rock Boxx is an indoor bouldering gym that boasts high-energy fun for kids and adults alike.
The gym comprises expertly designed climbing walls that reach up to 17 feet high, heavily padded floors, and specialized training equipment—all of which helps The Rock Boxx cater to climbers of all skill levels. (Newbies can even sign up for introductory classes.) An upstairs seating area affords sweeping views of the whole gym.
After a few climbs, you’ll find plenty of stops for food and drink nearby. The flagship outpost from Salem's own Gilgamesh Brewing pairs filling pub grub (such as salads, burgers, sandwiches, and macaroni-and-cheese) with its house-made beers (many of which source ingredients from nearby farms). At the nearby Salem Airport, the historic Flight Deck Restaurant & Lounge dishes a filling menu of comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner right on the runway. And if you're looking for solid suds, For Tomorrow We Die Brewing Co. serves a refreshing selection of ales and lagers—seasonal beers, classic styles, and inventive selections alike.
Oregon Axe Salem
The Mid-Willamette Valley has a long history as a hotbed for timber and logging. Communities like Mill City date back to the late 1800s and thrived in the 20th century as timber towns, while logging camps took shape around Silverton in the early 1900s.
The timber industry isn’t what it once was, but the family-owned Oregon Axe Salem lets visitors connect with that history in a sense through a night of ax throwing. Your session begins with a short overview and safety instructions from a trained professional—and then you can throw to your heart’s content.
After your round, recap the fun with your friends and loved ones over a bevvie at Oregon Axe Salem’s on-site lounge. Other ideas for follow-up stops include Boon's Treasury (an outpost from the regional McMenamins chain that dishes pub grub and house-made beers at the northern edge of downtown Salem) and Noble Wave Louisiana Kitchen (a downtown eatery specializing in Cajun-inspired cuisine—fried chicken sandwiches, hearty po'boys, gumbo, and more).
The Kroc Center
Looking for a gym workout that gets beyond the basics? You’ll find a variety of fun options at the Salvation Army Kroc Center. The boisterous community center hosts a variety of exercise-minded attractions that includes an aquatic center (complete with a wading river and family lighthouse slide), a full cardio gym, an NBA-size basketball and volleyball court, a rock-climbing wall, and regular group classes. If your idea of fun includes a bit of button-mashing, the Kroc Center even offers an arcade.
Refuel afterward with food and drink from some of Salem’s best international eateries. The family-owned Don Froylan Creamery makes its own Mexican-style cheeses and serves them via a custom quesadilla bar, nachos, taquitos, and more. Just a block away, the Don Bigote Churreria food truck dishes crepes, shakes, and other sugary desserts crafted with its namesake treat. And Pho Keizer specializes in authentic phở, bánh mì, and other Vietnamese delicacies.
Athletic Edge Adventure Park
Family fun is abundant at Athletic Edge Adventure Park in northeast Salem. There, little ones can frolic in a three-story play structure, play their favorite table games (like shuffleboard, air hockey, cornhole, and Skee-Ball), and more. Older teens and adults, meanwhile, have plenty to enjoy themselves—like Giant Jenga and Connect Four games, a golf course simulator, and a mini golf course.
Adults can kick back with beer, cider, and spirits (or enjoy a meal with their little ones) at the on-site café. Other nearby eateries include Adam’s Rib Smokehouse, a family-owned barbecue joint and Salem institution that specializes in slow-cooked meats and burgers, and ƒ/stop Fitzgerald's Public House—which bills itself as “Salem’s smallest pub” and serves regionally sourced beer and cider.
Silver Creek Lanes
Whether you’re a bowling newbie who needs bumpers to avoid gutter balls or a seasoned pro with your own shoes, you’ll fall in love with the game all over again at Silver Creek Lanes in Silverton. The long-running attraction offers open bowling sessions throughout the week, as well as glow-in-the-dark cosmic bowling on weekends—where the lights go down, the music gets turned up, and groups of all sizes can have fun in the upbeat environment.
An on-site eatery dishes burgers, nachos, and other crowd-pleasing favorites—but you’ll find plenty of other options for excellent food and drink around town. Akatsuki Sushi Bar resides in the city's historic Hartman Building and dishes thoughtfully crafted takes on Japanese cuisine—including a wide variety of sushi standards, sashimi, chef creations, noodle dishes, and more. Mac’s Place, meanwhile, is a welcoming neighborhood pub that pairs an extensive food menu with live music, karaoke, and weekly discounts. And Silver Falls Brewery pours nearly two-dozen house-brewed beers, with a wide range of ales and lagers offering a different taste for every palate.
West Valley Taphouse
The Dallas-based West Valley Taphouse brings together all the ingredients for a jovial night out. For starters, kids of all ages can take a trip back in time with the taphouse’s extensive arcade room, which offers a handful of classic pinball machines starring your favorite pop culture stars of yesteryear and several vintage games (such as Tetris, Golden Tee, and Street Fighter II). And, yes: Minors are welcome—as long as they’re supervised.
When your thumbs need a rest, West Valley Taphouse offers a whopping 65 taps of quality craft beverages from local producers—including beer, cider, wine, kombucha, and even soda.
If you're hungry, the taphouse's food menu includes salads, sandwiches, burgers, and internationally inspired pub grub (such as bratwurst and street tacos). Across the street, Corby’s Public House boasts a community gathering space that serves pizza, burgers, and more in a friendly space that features pool and shuffleboard tables, eight beer taps, karaoke on weekends, and monthly events (such as sip and paint). And in Monmouth, Habebah Mediterranean Cuisine—opened by three brothers who previously ran a food cart in town—has earned acclaim for its gyro, falafel, baklava, and other flavorful Mediterranean dishes.
Woodburn Aquatic Center
Looking for some fun in the water? The Woodburn Aquatic Center offers something for swimmers of all stripes—not to mention plenty of activities away from the pool.
The water-based fun includes a massive lap pool, rope swing, wading pool (especially helpful for little ones just getting their sea legs), and a twisting water slide. You’ll also find a spa area, saunas, and fitness room if you want to keep the workout going.
After your workout, enjoy some of Woodburn’s excellent eateries. Trapala Brewpub & Rostisseria serves flavorful Mexican fare (and is noted for housemade salsas and filling tortas), while Hungry Lion Asian Cuisine dishes fresh, filling portions of teriyaki, yakisoba, fried rice, and other Asian dishes.
700 High St. NE, Ste. 100,
Salem, Oregon 97301 (971) 332-5680
Oregon Axe Throwing700 High St. NE, Ste. 100,
Salem, Oregon 97301
1865 Bill Frey Dr. NE
Salem, Oregon 97301 (503) 566-5762 Video
SALEM KROC COMMUNITY CENTER1865 Bill Frey Dr. NE
Salem, Oregon 97301
2680 Aerial Way SE
Salem, Oregon 97302 (503) 581-5721
FLIGHT DECK RESTAURANT & LOUNGE2680 Aerial Way SE
Salem, Oregon 97302
307 S. Main Street
Independence, Oregon 97351 (503) 871-6688
GILGAMESH BREWING- THE RIVER307 S. Main Street
Independence, Oregon 97351