The Mid-Willamette Valley region has wondrous small communities with their own personality and lure. Just the drive from Salem to these quaint towns is a scenic experience. Below is a sample of a few communities to spend the day.
Aurora (27 miles north of Salem)
Aurora, Oregon, is a quaint town with a lot to do. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the town boasts dozens of antique stores, several restaurants, a couple tasting rooms and a ton of history. It has even been listed as one of the top destinations for antiquing in the country!
Don’t miss the meatloaf sandwich, pork chops, or bread pudding at Filbert’s Farmhouse Kitchen in the 1865 historic Mohler farmhouse.
Tip: Most of the town’s restaurants and stores are located within a five-block radius, making it easy to park the car, get out and explore.
Woodburn (19 miles north of Salem)
In downtown Woodburn, you will find a community that is a capital of Latinx culture in Oregon. The authentic Mexican vibe that reflects the heritage of the town’s many immigrants make Woodburn a bicultural and bilingual community. All seven regions of Mexico are represented in the businesses and restaurants downtown.
Tip: Shop at the Woodburn Premium Outlets – and remember Oregon has no sales tax.
Silverton (15 miles east of Salem)
In Silverton, visit The Oregon Garden an 80-acre botanical wonderland that features 20 specialty gardens, a hobbit house for children, and an onsite resort and restaurant. You can choose to tour through the garden at your own pace or take a guided trolley tour.
Silverton’s downtown is vibrant with shops, restaurants, and colorful murals that visually relay the story of the Silverton area.
Independence (17 miles west of Salem)
Independence is located on the west side of the Willamette River offering a charming walkable downtown with inter shops, boutiques, and one-of-a-kind restaurants.
There is a regular series of free concerts and movies during the summer, as well as festivals and other events in the Riverfront amphitheater.
The Independence area is also part of the Great Oaks Food Trail (see below).
Dallas (15 miles west of Salem)
A photo in front of the Historic Polk County Courthouse will remind you of the film “Back to the Future” with the clock tower and quaint town square. Dallas is also home of the Delbert Hunter Arboretum and Botanic Gardens that wind along the peaceful Rickreall Creek and a living museum of native plants. Just north of Dallas is the 2,492-acre Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge which is a magnet for migrating waterfowl.
The Dallas area is also part of the Great Oaks Food Trail (see below).
The Great Oaks Food Trail invites visitors and locals alike to explore the scenic beauty and unique products of the Polk County area west of Salem. With experiences ranging from craft beer tasting to filling a bucket full of blueberries, the Great Oaks Food Trail will guide guests on a journey filled with culinary treasures and unique agritourism experiences. Explorers can choose their own adventure by visiting any of the 40-plus stops on the Trail.