14 Things to Know Before Moving to Salem

First Wednesday

1. Star power

Jon Heder

John Heder, the star of Napoleon Dynamite grew up in Salem. He graduated from South Salem High School in 1996, where he was on the swim team and was a member of the Drama Association. We can only hope he learned his tetherball skills there as well.

2. Ma and Pa Kettle

Kettle Chips

Salem is the home of Kettle Foods, Inc., making those dangerously addictive potato chips since 1982. The Kettle Brand began out of the back of a beat-up van and has been thriving in Salem ever since.

3. City of Loraxes

Tree City USA

Salem has been awarded "Tree City USA" status by the National Arbor Day Foundation for 30 consecutive years for its dedication to urban forestry. Sticking with the city’s nickname "Cherry City", blooming cherry trees line many of Salem streets as well as the Capitol Mall across from the Capitol, which is well worth a visit with the flowers in full bloom.

4. Cuckoo

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Oregon_State_Hospital_1920

The award-winning film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was filmed at the Oregon State Hospital. Ken Kesey’s novel, which the movie was based off of, was also set in Salem.

5. Location, location, location

45th_Parallel_N

Salem sits on the 45th Parallel. This means it's the center point between the North Pole and the equator. Whether you’re driving through for a visit or coming to stay you can see the sign announcing this distinction on I-5.

6. Roller Derby

Cherry City Derby Girls

Salem’s Cherry City Derby Girls were founded in 2009, and accepted into the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association as a full member league in 2012. CCDG is home to four home teams, the Rydel Bells, Thrill Kill Kittens, Dolls of Anarchy, and Panty Raiders, as well as a travel team the 8 Wheel Assassins.

7. Scholarly chops

Willamette University

Willamette University is the oldest in the American West. It has a 69-acre campus, just south of the capitol giving students access to a variety of government internships. The campus also has a stream running through its center.

8. Cracking down on crime

Oregon Department of Corrections

Salem is the headquarters of the Oregon Department of Corrections. It is home to four state correctional facilities, including the Oregon State Penitentiary, Oregon's only maximum-security prison. Somewhat surprisingly, Salem also has the fourth highest crime rate of Oregon’s 20 biggest cities. But, unlike the city's namesake, this Salem has few alleged witches.

9. Hit the road

Salem, Oregon commute

Salem has the eighth shortest commute of Oregon’s 20 biggest cities. With an average commute of 20.9 minutes, commuters save 48 hours each year compared to Gresham’s commuters whose commute is an average of 6 minutes longer. What will you do with your extra two days? Salem is also more bikeable than walkable. According to WalkScore the city is mostly car dependent.

10. Root for the home team

Salem-Keizer Volcanoes

The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are the city's minor league baseball team, affiliates of the San Francisco Giants. They have their own stadium in nearby Keizer with a video board, sky boxes and a children’s play area. And tickets are affordable for the whole family.

11. Living’s easy

Salem housing market

The average earner in Salem can afford 24% of homes on the market. Salem’s median income is $45,564, meaning they can afford a home costing $204,282 or less. Salem has one of the lowest costs of living of Oregon’s 20 biggest cities.

12. Want some wine with that?

Willamette Valley, Oregon’s wine country

Salem, located in the Willamette Valley aka Oregon’s wine country, has no shortage of food and wine festivals. The Pinot Noir and Chocolate Celebration pairs decadent chocolates with classic Oregon Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley Vineyard’s new Tasting Room and candle-lit barrel cellar. There’s also First Taste Oregon, the Annual Mo’s Crab and Chowder Festival, pairing seafood with Pinot Gris, Chef’s Nite Out and the Oregon Wine & Food Festival, among others. One thing’s for sure, Salem knows how to live.

13. One for the kids

A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village

The A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village interactive children's museum includes 3 giant slides, a maze, a simulated archeological dig site, climbing wall and some of the inventions of Alfred Carlton Gilbert. There’s also The Enchanted Forest located just south of Salem on I-5. The amusement park includes attractions inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Mother Goose, and Grimms' Fairy Tales and roller coasters like the Big Timber Log Ride, the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

14. Laughter is the best medicine

Capitol City Theater

Capitol City Theater, in the heart of downtown Salem, offers a chance to laugh until it hurts with their 90-minute family-friendly comedy improv shows. Their performances will have you happily splitting your sides and getting in a nice abs workout in the process.

Salem Real Estate & Homes for Sale

Salem Real Estate & Homes for Sale

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7 Photos
2334 NW DOAKS FERRY RD NW
$1,500,000
House
3 beds
3 baths
2,372 sqft
~5 acres
2 days on site
 Courtesy of Zenith Realty, LLC
15 Photos
935 ELECTRIC AVE SE
$235,000
House
3 beds
2 baths
2,334 sqft
7,405 lot sqft
2 days on site
 Courtesy of Keller Williams Rlty Mid Wlmte
16 Photos
Open House
815 D ST
$249,900
Open House

Sun Sep 14th 12pm-4pm

House
3 beds
2 baths
2,512 sqft
4,792 lot sqft
2 days on site
 Courtesy of Equity Builders Realty
16 Photos
485 NW SUNWOOD DR
$325,000
House
4 beds
3 baths
2,518 sqft
13,939 lot sqft
5 days on site
 Courtesy of Prudential Real Estate Professionals
16 Photos
4605 CROISAN SCENIC WAY
$289,000
House
4 beds
2.1 baths
2,251 sqft
8,712 lot sqft
5 days on site
 Courtesy of The Salem Real Estate Group
16 Photos
575 JUSTICE ST SE
$239,900
House
3 beds
2.1 baths
2,796 sqft
7,405 lot sqft
4 days on site
 Courtesy of Blum Real Estate
12 Photos
2656 GILBERT ST
$285,000
House
4 beds
2.1 baths
2,455 sqft
9,148 lot sqft
6 days on site
 Courtesy of The Rian Group Real Estate
16 Photos
1740 NEOTA ST NE
$199,000
House
3 beds
2.1 baths
1,682 sqft
4,356 lot sqft
8 days on site
 Courtesy of Fairplay Realty & Investments
16 Photos
Open House
4094 S DUANE DR
$199,000
Open House

Sun Sep 14th 1pm-3pm

House
3 beds
1.1 baths
1,661 sqft
6,534 lot sqft
6 days on site
 Courtesy of Murray Brown Real Estate
16 Photos
3292 NW ELLIOT ST
$300,000
House
4 beds
2.1 baths
- sqft
6,970 lot sqft
7 days on site
 Courtesy of The Salem Real Estate Group
14 Photos
4347 ROGETS CT NE
$214,500
House
3 beds
2.1 baths
2,021 sqft
6,534 lot sqft
7 days on site
 Courtesy of Hardy Properties
8 Photos
934 NW CARTER AVE
$299,000
House
3 beds
2 baths
2,021 sqft
7,841 lot sqft
7 days on site
 Courtesy of Manor Realty
16 Photos
2666 HOOVER AVE NW
$249,900
House
3 beds
2 baths
2,262 sqft
8,712 lot sqft
7 days on site
 Courtesy of Blum Real Estate
16 Photos
6005 LONE OAK RD
$525,000
House
4 beds
2.1 baths
3,635 sqft
8,712 lot sqft
7 days on site
 Courtesy of The Salem Real Estate Group
5 Photos
1984 FUTURE DR NE
$147,340
House
3 beds
2.1 baths
1,396 sqft
3,920 lot sqft
8 days on site
 Courtesy of REALHome Services & Solutions
16 Photos
5203 9TH CT SE
$142,000
House
3 beds
2 baths
1,140 sqft
5,227 lot sqft
10 days on site
 Courtesy of Blum Real Estate
4 Photos
580 RIVERVIEW DR NW
$164,300
House
3 beds
3 baths
3,127 sqft
9,583 lot sqft
10 days on site
 Courtesy of REALHome Services & Solutions
16 Photos
5807 COBALT LOOP SE
$239,900
House
4 beds
2 baths
1,658 sqft
6,098 lot sqft
8 days on site
 Courtesy of Blum Real Estate
5 Photos
383 LOWER LAVISTA CT
$188,500
House
3 beds
2 baths
1,525 sqft
6,098 lot sqft
8 days on site
 Courtesy of REALHome Services & Solutions
16 Photos
4514 CENTURY DR SE
$299,900
House
4 beds
2 baths
2,873 sqft
8,712 lot sqft
8 days on site
 Courtesy of Blum Real Estate
12 Photos
168 24TH ST
$149,900
House
5 beds
2 baths
3,858 sqft
4,792 lot sqft
8 days on site
 Courtesy of DAT Real Estate Solutions, PC
7 Photos
1010 ELECTRIC AVE SE
$155,000
$5,000 Price drop Sep, 12
House
2 beds
1.1 baths
1,967 sqft
8,276 lot sqft
8 days on site
 Courtesy of ERA/NW Professional Realty
15 Photos
1952 SPICETREE LN
$185,500
House
3 beds
2 baths
1,300 sqft
5,663 lot sqft
11 days on site
 Courtesy of Gysin Realty Group LLC
16 Photos
2383 MAPLEWOOD DR S
$299,900
House
4 beds
2.1 baths
2,044 sqft
5,663 lot sqft
9 days on site
 Courtesy of Blum Real Estate
1 Photo
1025 NW TERRACE DR
$180,000
House
2 beds
1 baths
2,100 sqft
6,098 lot sqft
11 days on site
 Courtesy of Oregon Realty Co.