Salem, Oregon

Cherry City



Sunny Days: 154
48100 Affordability
80100 Schools
48100 Diversity
75100 Safety

Oregon is an inspiration. Whether you come to it, or are born to it, you become entranced by our state's beauty, the opportunity she affords, and the independent spirit of her citizens. - Address to 1973 Legislature

The Best Thing About Salem?

Wine Life in Willamette

Life in the capital is a bit slower than life in the city (Portland) but Salem residents are just fine with that. Trading the urban metro for some peace and quiet is a deal they’d take any day. If a life with beautiful outdoor opportunities and wine tastings galore is a appealing then put Salem on your shortlist.

Here are some pros from a local on living in Salem:
-Convenient to get around and to beaches, mountains, etc. Traffic is congested during commute hours, not bad during other times.
-Parts of town are relatively attractive, downtown is nice, several good parks.
-Summer is great, but quite short, although it varies year to year. One year it rained almost daily with temps in the 60’s until the end of June when the rainy season started again in early Sept. One year it was 106 in May and rainy season held off until late Sept, which locals tell me was a rare season.
-People generally friendly and conscientious.
-Surprising number of good local restaurants and grocery stores.

For more reviews of what living in Salem is like from locals check out: The Buzz

The Worst Thing About Salem?

Same Thing

If peaceful glasses of wine and bike rides inside and outside the city don't sound like you, Salem’s probably not an ideal fit. It’s more or less a large small town, where everything’s closed by 10 and the places that are open before then tend to be quiet. Young, non-white, and liberal people in particular tend to not like it in Salem with the exception of pockets near the university, and you might be shocked by the number of confederate flags you see in the capital of a state with Oregon’s general reputation. Portland’s only an hour away for those looking for an escape, but it would make more sense to live closer if you're looking for that vibe.

Here's a local on living in Salem (vs. Portland):
Salem, on the other hand, is a great place to settle down and get comfortably domestic. It’s cheaper to live here than Portland (though affordable housing is becoming increasingly rare), and there is a lot less competition for jobs. And, of course, it’s the state capital so there are a lot of state agencies and employees. It’s easier to get around town, and just generally getting stuff done is simpler. But the trade-off is that Salem has a lot less to offer culturally. It’s a lot more homogenously white, middle and lower-middle class folks. There aren’t nearly as many high-quality restaurants or cultural events. There are some parks and nice natural spaces, but none of them really rise to the level of Portland’s better park areas. There’s adequate shopping and other services, but it’s much more middle America.

Lifestyle of Salem

The benefits of living near the Willamette Valley and the Willamette River highlight the lifestyle of Salem. Kayaking, hiking and camping spots are bountiful near the city, and trips to the vineyards are popular for residents and tourists alike in the summer months when rain is less frequent. Native Salem-ites are described as "small-town friendly" and conservative, tending to live more slow-paced lives than their Portland neighbors.

If you're interested in seeing what's happening in Salem check out the calendar of events:

Workstyle of Salem

Unless you’re working for the state, jobs are hard to come by in Salem. Outside of politics, education jobs from the public school system and Willamette University are the only other major hiring block Salem itself really has to offer. If you're moving here without a job then best to be a WFH'er.

Why You Should Move Here Now?


If you find the stress-inducing pace of Portland (or Seattle or SF or LA) exhausting, and having a locally grown glass of wine on a quiet Friday evening is appealing, put Salem on your shortlist. Many of the people who move to Salem are doing so to escape something: a more expensive or chaotic city, a population they think is too liberal, or a population they think is too conservative. Whatever your reason for trying to escape where you presently live know that for some Salem has served as an excellent alternative.

Neighborhoods in Salem

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Young Professionals

While Salem isn’t Portland in terms of a downtown scene it does have bars and restaurants and several condominium and apartment buildings, many new with more on the way, where you can live and walk out at night. If you are lucky enough to work downtown then you can skip the car and maybe get a bike for taking advantage of all the bike lanes that run throughout the city. The
demand for more affordable housing in cities near the major metros on the west coast means downtown should be on the rise for years to come.

  • Downtown

Central Area


Central Salem has beautiful Historic District neighborhoods with beautiful vintage homes. They are extremely walkable to the State Capitol, Willamette University or Salem Health Hospital so if you work in any of those locals you’ll like it here. Although these neighborhoods are a bit quieter than the newer downtown blocks they still have walkable access to the Broadway revitalization zone, which has casual pubs, pizza joints and movie theaters for local entertainment.

  • Central Area
  • Historic District

Illahe Hills


If golf club living is your preference then check out the Illahe Hills neighborhood. Home to Creekside Golf Club, it is filled with upscale and luxury homes, all within a golf cart ride to the club. No membership in the club is required to live in the neighborhood so you can enjoy the lush greenery and never bother to don the cleats. You can also sign up for a social membership if you want to enjoy the meals and cocktails without the links. If you prefer luxury homes without the golf community vibe then look at Croisan Mountain. All luxury homes set up high with beautiful views and plenty of room for the kiddos to play on the tree-lined blocks and big yards.

  • Illahe Hills
  • Croisan Mountain
  • Laurel Springs
  • Alderbrook