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Living in Salem Oregon - EVERYTHING You Need to Know

What is Living in Salem Oregon Like?

Are you thinking about moving to Salem, Oregon? Salem, is the state capital of Oregon, and is situated about 46 miles south of Portland and 66 miles north of Eugene, in the heart of Oregon's Willamette Valley, one of the nation's most fertile agricultural regions. At the time of writing, Salem has a population of 180,000 and is Oregon's second-largest city, just barely ahead of Eugene.

Sitting alongside the Willamette River, Salem has a beautiful and walkable historic downtown area.  Covering a 7-block radius, Salem's Downtown District boasts restaurants, shopping, and cultural buildings that all contribute to this city’s rich history. In the middle of the city sits The Oregon State Capitol. Visitors appreciate the architectural and historical beauty of this building. The shining white marble glistens in the sun. But what really stands out about this magnificent building is the gilded Oregon Pioneer perched at the top of the central tower. The capital is surrounded well-manicured Oregon State Capitol State Park, complete with statues and interpretive information. 

The historic downtown and capital building is a site to behold and great to visit, but it's the other things that make living in Salem, Oregon, so great. Read on to explore what living in Salem, Oregon, is like!

The Moving to Salem Oregon Team

Let our team of trusted professionals help you buy or/and sell a home in Salem Oregon. Elizabeth Davidson has sold real estate in Salem, Oregon, for over 12 years. Her knowledge of Salem and the surrounding areas will be of great value as you navigate this challenging real estate market. To learn more about Elizabeth, CLICK HERE to check out her About Me video. If you're considering buying a home in Salem, Oregon, CLICK HERE to sign up for Listing Alert to be the first to find out when new homes matching your criteria hit the market. Just enter the price range and other criteria you're looking for, and you'll receive an email when Salem homes matching your criteria are listed.


Todd Davidson is an experienced mortgage broker and can help you get the best financing option for your home purchase. Whether you're a first time home buyer, or trying to buy/sell a home at the same time and move to Salem, Todd can help. Not quite ready yet? Todd can work with you to put together a plan to get you there. Whether you're thinking a few months or a year or more if you want to buy a home in Salem, Oregon, CLICK HERE to email Todd and set up a call or just call him at 971-275-2465. Together our Moving to Salem team can help you make moving to or within Salem, Oregon, a reality!

Elizabeth Davidson Oregon Realtor

Elizabeth Davidson


Todd Davidson Headshot.JPG

Todd Davidson

Mortgage Broker

Public Schools in Salem Oregon

One of the most important considerations if you are considering moving to Salem, Oregon, would be the schools. Students living in Salem, Oregon attend schools in the Salem-Keizer School District. Overall Salem-Keizer is middle of the pack as far as school districts in Oregon. With almost 40,000 students in 65 schools, the Salem-Keizer school district is the second biggest district in Oregon. The district has a student-teacher ratio of 23 to 1 and had an on time graduation rate of 79% for 2022, compared to 80% state-wide. gives the Salem-Keizer School District a B-. With Diversity, Teachers and College Prep all being ranked an A or B.

If you're moving to Salem, Oregon, and have school aged children, check out the school rankings and boundaries of the Salem-Keizer School District to find out which schools your kiddos will become a part of. For more information on the Salem-Keizer School District, rankings and boundaries, check out the Salem-Keizer School District, Niche and Great Schools links in the Moving to and Living in Salem Oregon Links section below.

Best Neighborhoods in Salem Oregon

Salem, Oregon, is a beautiful, growing city with plenty to do. If considering relocating to Salem, Oregon, picking just the right Salem neighborhood for you and your family can be challenging. Here are a few of the top Salem neighborhoods to help guide you in choosing just the right community in Salem:

Bush Park

With its tree-lined streets and historic architecture, the Bush Park neighborhood in Salem, Oregon, is an excellent choice if you're considering moving to Salem, Oregon. This extremely walkable neighborhood sits close to downtown, Willamette University, and the Salem Hospital. Want to go for a jog? Bush Pasture Park is located in the middle of the neighborhood and has some beautiful jogging trails. Are you looking for a cup of coffee? Starbucks is a couple of blocks away. Feel like grabbing dinner, going shopping, or seeing a concert in the park? You can walk downtown, and it's all there. With its beautiful, well-maintained, older homes starting at $500,000, not only is this a desirable Salem neighborhood, but it's more affordable than most areas if you're looking to move to Salem, Oregon.

Fairmount Hills

The Salem neighborhood of Fairmount Hills is home to older, historic houses, including the Governor's Mansion/T.A. Livesley House. Some of Salem's prominent citizens throughout the years have called this Salem neighborhood home. The neighborhood is comprised of mostly older, larger homes on larger lots. With a variety of architectural styles from Cape Cods to Victorians in this Salem neighborhood, you'll find most homes very well cared for and updated. The Fairmount Hills community is highly walkable, with tons of restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, and other businesses close by. With two of Salem's more prominent parks, Bush Park and Fairmount Park, located in/around this Salem neighborhood, there's plenty of space for the local residents to get together as a community and stay active. This Salem neighborhood feeds into the highly regarded south Salem schools making it more desirable. With the beautiful, well-cared homes and other amenities in the area, prices in this neighborhood are on the higher side of Salem neighborhoods.

Ironwood Estates

The Ironwood Estates neighborhood is located in South Salem by Sumpter Elementary School. The homes in this Salem neighborhood have been well maintained, and most were built in the 70s and 80s, and prices are more affordable as many of the homes need updating. Residents of this neighborhood tend to live here a long time, adding to the desirability of this Salem neighborhood. Even in slower markets, the homes sell very quickly. Drive through this Salem neighborhood in late spring, and you can expect a blizzard of white from the white cottonwood seeds that line the streets. Expect to see walkers, runners, and people out walking their dogs as residents of this Salem neighborhood tend to be very active.

Jan Ree

If you are looking to move to Salem, Oregon, and want a more affordable community with easy access to I-5, then the Jan Ree neighborhood might be for you. Located just off I-5 on the north end of Salem, if you've got to commute to the Portland Metro area for work, it's a great spot. This Salem neighborhood started building in the 1970s and is still being added to today. The initial builds were mostly one-level homes, but many two-story homes have been built in later phases. Though there aren't many businesses in the area to walk to, Safeway and Starbucks are about a five-minute drive away. Keizer Station is less than ten minutes away and is home to Target, Lowes, many restaurants, and other shopping. So most of what you need is close by.

Illahe Hills

Located in south Salem, the Illahe Hills neighborhood is comprised of mostly single-family luxury homes, with some condo units mixed in. With an abundance of customer homes in this Salem neighborhood, you'll see a good variety of architectural styles. Prices range on the higher side of Salem neighborhoods. This Salem neighborhood sits adjacent to the Illahe Country Club. Members there have access to the golf course and pool. Membership is an additional charge but not a requirement for living in this Salem neighborhood.

If moving to Salem, Oregon, and you'd like to buy a home in one of these fabulous neighborhoods, CLICK HERE to sign up for LISTING ALERT to be the first to know when a home matching your criteria gets listed for sale in Salem, Oregon. To connect with a local realtor, CLICK HERE. One of the most important decisions you'll make when moving to Salem, Oregon, is picking an experienced realtor who can help you get the house you want at the best price. At living in Oregon, we work with the best realtors throughout the state and can help you get the right realtor to make your move and home purchase as easy as possible.

Park in Salem Oregon

Living in Salem Oregon Tips/Info/Blog Posts

Helpful Tips for Moving to Oregon and Buying a Home







Top Destinations & Attractions in Salem Oregon

Living in Salem, Oregon, in the middle of the Willamette Valley and in the State Capital of Oregon, puts a unique mixture of recreation, history and culture at your fingertips. Below are some of the post popular attractions for those visiting or living in Salem, Oregon:

Silver Falls State Park

Sitting 24 miles east of Salem is Silver Falls, State Park. Oregon's largest state park boasts four waterfalls and more than 35 miles of backcountry trails great for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. There are green spaces and off-leash areas for your dogs, guided horseback-riding sessions, and abundant camping options. 


If visiting or living in the Salem, Oregon, area it's mandatory you check out Silver Falls, State Park.

North Falls at Silver Falls State Park, in Oregon

Willamette River Greenway - Spring Valley Access

This 177-acre, day-use park is ten miles north of Salem on the west bank of the Willamette River. The park offers five miles of multi-use trails you can take a quite walk or a brisk mountain bike on. There are a number of spots along the trail you can cast your line in the water and try your luck at fishing.

The Enchanted Forest

Just twenty minutes south of Salem, you will find the Enchanted Forest. This family-friendly theme park has lots of rides and attractions for guests to enjoy. With its fun-themed areas like Storybook Lane, Old European Village, and Western Town, and rides like Haunted House and Big Timber, it's been popular with locals and out-of-towners since its opening in 1971. In addition to all the attractions, there are picnic areas and eateries to enjoy. In the summer months, there are comedy theater and musical performances as well.

Vineyard near Salem Oregon

Take a Wine Tour

In the heart of the Willamette Valley, one of the top wine-producing regions in the world, if you're visiting or living in Salem, Oregon, you must go on a wine tour to sample the amazing local wines. Not only will you get some amazing views and sample delicious wines, but you'll also learn how the wines are produced and get a chance to take home a couple of bottles of your favorites. If visiting or living in Salem, Oregon, it's well worth an afternoon!

Top Businesses & Employers in Salem Oregon

Salem, Oregon, is home to a wide range of private employers and industries. The business-friendly taxes and fees have made it advantageous to locate in Salem, Oregon.


With the abundant natural resources, the Mid-Willamette Valley is the most significant producer of agricultural products in Oregon. With its prime location on I-5 between California and Washington, the region is vital in the manufacturing and distribution sectors. The increasing presence of high-tech in the area has only helped strengthen the local economy.  

Some of the largest employers for those living in Salem, Oregon, and surrounding areas:

  • State of Oregon - 20,100 employees

  • Salem Health/Salem Hospital - 5,200 employees

  • Salem-Keizer School District - 4,759 employees

  • Federal Government - 1,800 employees

  • Marion County - 1,757 employees

  • City of Salem - 1,305 employees

  • Chemeketa Community College - 960 employees

  • Amazon Fulfillment Center - 800 employees


With the strong local economy and great location, if you're considering moving to Salem, Oregon, you should have plenty of job prospects.

FAQs About Moving to and Living in Salem Oregon

What is Salem, Oregon, known for?

Salem, Oregon, is best know for being the state capital of Oregon. In addition, Salem is in the heart of the Willamette Valley and is surrounded by outdoor recreation, wineries, and some gorgeous scenery.

What is there to do if you're living in Salem, Oregon?

Living in Salem, Oregon, you're surrounded by outdoor recreation and other must-see sites. Silver Falls State Park, Willamette River, and the Oregon state capital are just a few must-see attractions in the area.

What is the weather like in Salem, Oregon?

In Salem, the summers are warm, dry, and mostly clear but short. The winters are cold, wet, and mostly cloudy. Temperatures throughout the year typically vary from 36°F to 85°F and are rarely below 25°F or above 96°F. If moving to Salem, Oregon, from a drier and sunnier climate the weather might be a tough adjustment for you.

Is Salem Oregon safe?

You'll get a different opinion on whether living in Salem, Oregon, is safe or not, depending on what you read. The truth is violent crimes are lower than the national average, but Salem has a higher property crime rate than the national average. You shouldn't let that influence your decision on whether or not to visit or move to Salem, Oregon, as overall, it's a pretty safe place.

What cities are near by Salem, Oregon?

If living in Salem, Oregon, there are several smaller cities close by. A few of those as well as distance from other large cities in Oregon: Keizer - 4 miles away, Hayesville - 5 miles away, Dallas - 15 miles away, Woodburn -19 miles away, Portland - 46 miles away, Eugene - 66 miles away. For a list and links for other Willamette Valley cities.

I want to move to Salem, Oregon.  How do I make it happen?

  1. If thinking of making the move to Salem, Oregon, you're going to realize there's a lot of different neighborhoods. I've listed some of the best but there are many more. Do your research, visit, and find the Salem neighborhood that is best for your family.

  2. Our Facebook Group > Moving to Oregon is a great resource if you're looking to move to Salem, Oregon. We've got a great collection of experts who know the Salem neighborhoods, schools, homes, things to do, and much more. Join the group and don't be afraid to ask what you need to know about living in Salem.

  3. If you're thinking of buying a home in the Salem area, you'll need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. For Mortgage Info, reach out to me. I'm a local mortgage broker and would be honored to help you buy a home and move to Salem, Oregon, as well as answer any questions about moving to and living in Salem, Oregon, that you have. If you just want to to research home prices and homes for sale in Salem, Oregon, CLICK HERE. No info or login needed to see all the homes for sale in Salem, Oregon, currently. 

For FAQs about moving to Oregon or living in Oregon, check out my blog, 31 FAQs About Living in Oregon. For more information about living in Oregon, check out the homepage of LIVING IN OREGON.

Video's on What it's Like Living in Salem Oregon

Elizabeth Davidson - Realtor - About Me Video

Elizabeth Davidson - Realtor - About Me

Elizabeth Davidson - Selling Your House

Elizabeth Davidson - Realtor -  Listing your home

Helpful Links for Moving to and Living in Salem Oregon

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