Convenience, Accessibility and a “Low-Stress” Vibe Make Salem, Oregon the Perfect Destination for Meetings, Conventions, Events and More!
by Salem Convention Center | Sep 28, 2021
“Salem is the best of big city and small town Oregon. We have lively nightlife and culture, vintage theaters and enough oddities to check off the ‘see something weird’ box. Salem is accessible, unhurried and easy to navigate, full of parks, friendly people and welcoming local events that make any time a great time to visit.” Travel Salem
There’s a saying that “Salem is the most Oregon part of Oregon”, there’s even a hashtag devoted to that saying: #salemismopo. We happen to know it’s true! You can’t really know Oregon, without exploring its capital city. Since opening our doors in 2005, thousands of attendees from all over the world who have traveled to Salem to attend special events, multi-day conventions, conferences, workshops and meetings have expressed their delight and surprise at the many features Salem has to offer.
Salem is one of Oregon’s oldest communities, featuring historical attractions, scenic parks, festivals, performing arts, and many family friendly activities. The city is conveniently situated on the banks of the Willamette River between the Cascade Mountains and Oregon Coast Range, and offers visitors a unique combination of scenic, natural attractions in an urban setting. Visitors also appreciate Salem’s “laid back” vibe and accessibility.
Here are some of the main reasons why Salem, Oregon is the perfect place to host a meeting, conference or other event:
#1- Salem is just the right size. Salem, Oregon’s second largest city and state capital, offers the best of both worlds: amenities you would normally find in a large city combined with a friendly, small town vibe. With a population of approximately 150,000 people, many visitors say Oregon’s capital city is the perfect size- not too big, and not too small.
#2- One-of-a-kind experiences you can’t find anywhere else. Salem offers an eclectic mix of history, art, culture, fashion, antiques, music, craft stores, bakery and casual eateries – many of which are within blocks of the Salem Convention Center. As one of Oregon’s oldest communities, Salem is home to a host of stately historical homes and cultural attractions, including:
Willamette Heritage Center: This wonderful museum is designated an American Treasure by the National Park Service and hosts outstanding exhibits and events throughout the year, attracting thousands of visitors, history buffs, and school groups each year. The museum preserves the history of the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill and represents one of Oregon’s earliest and strongest industries.
Oregon State Capitol: Visitors come to our state capitol to learn about the important events in Oregon’s state history, visit the magnificent rotunda and where Oregon’s 30 state Senators and 60-member House of Representatives meet. Designated as the State Capitol State Park in 2007, the grounds surrounding the Capitol feature ornamental and native trees and shrubs. It is also the setting for the Walk of the Flags, Waite Fountain, Parade of Animals sculpture, a Liberty Bell replica, and a gazebo constructed in 1982.
A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village: Children of all ages come here and let their imaginations run wild with indoor & outdoor interactive activities. Not to mention, the museum is located in three unique, historic houses and has a 20,000-square-foot Outdoor Discovery Center.
Enchanted Forest: This beloved Oregon attraction is located just a few miles from the Salem Convention Center. Visitors enjoy the mystical forests and handcrafted feel of this popular theme park. Kids will love the rides, story book lane, a Haunted House, roller coaster and Big Timber Log Ride.
Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health. Explore the history of mental illness and its treatments through the collections of Oregon’s historic State Hospital, formerly known as the Oregon Insane Asylum. Fans of the film, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, will be interested to know that the movie was shot almost entirely on location here and features props, photographs, and other items related to the movie.
#3- Our proximity to Oregon Wine & Craft Beverages. The award-winning wineries, breweries and distilleries in this rich agricultural region of the Mid-Willamette Valley are a destination unto themselves. Located in the heart of Oregon’s wine country, Salem’s vineyards, tasting rooms, distilleries, cider houses and breweries renowned for producing world-class wines, craft beers and other artisan beverages. In fact, the Willamette Valley was named 2016 wine region of the year by Wine Enthusiast magazine! Many area wineries offer tours to give visitors a behind-the-scenes look, learn how wine is made, and sometimes meet the winemaker!
#4- Access to Safe, Beautiful Outdoor Spaces. In addition to a thriving downtown district, Salem is recognized for scenic beauty with various gardens, flower fields, vineyards, and hiking trails. Salem is also home to an abundant park system located downtown along the Willamette River, including Salem’s Riverfront Park, Wallace Marine Park and the Minto-Brown Island Park. These parks are connected by a unique bridge system, including the recently constructed Peter Courtney Minto Island Bridge. Together, these parks encompass 1,037 acres of trails and natural space.
#5 Location, Location, Location! When it comes to location, it doesn’t get much better than Salem. Not only are we centrally located 47 miles south of Portland and 64 miles north of Eugene, just off the I-5 corridor, but we’re also merely an hour’s drive from the ocean to the west and an hour from the Cascade Mountains to the east.
#6 Excellent Dining & Lodging Options. There’s been a lot of buzz in recent years about the growing restaurant scene in Salem, Oregon. Dozens of innovative chefs and restaurateurs from all over the world have brought their culinary gifts here with new additions every year. An abundance of unique coffee shops, bakeries, and casual eateries can also be found throughout the city. The wide range of Salem, Oregon hotels and lodging properties offer both upscale and budget-conscious options – providing exceptional hospitality to accommodate the specific needs of conference guests, meeting attendees and presenters. The Salem Convention Center is especially unique, as we’re one of the only convention centers in the Pacific Northwest with both a 3.5 Star Hotel and fine dining restaurant adjoined to it! Learn more about The Grand Hotel in Salem and Bentley’s Grill.
#7- Super Easy to Navigate, Walkable, Accessible. Visitors to the Salem Convention Center are frequently surprised how walkable and accessible our vibrant, historic downtown area is! Just take a walk around The Salem Convention Center, and you will find delightful surprises and local gems around every corner. Ride Salem Bikeshare, Cherriots (Public Transit), Uber and Lyft are all good options for visitors who wish to get around without a vehicle.
#8 Not Having to Deal with Portland’s Traffic or Parking. Portland is a great American city, but it has some of the worst traffic in the country. Not to mention, parking can be a nightmare in certain parts of the city. Salem offers a refreshing alternative with lighter traffic, and plenty of free or inexpensive parking options for visitors.
#9- Salem Has a Thriving Arts and Cultural Scene. We believe that one of Salem’s best kept secrets is our growing cultural arts scene. We take great pride in our local artistic venues – public art exhibits, beautiful galleries, top notch theatre, music and dance performances.
The nearby galleries and museums, such as the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and the Salem Art Association’s Bush Barn Art Center, are a must see and feature an exceptional array of work. As part of our commitment to support public art and Oregon artists in our community, The Salem Convention Center is a prominent supporter of The Oregon Artist Series, an exhibition that introduces Oregon art to tens of thousands of conference attendees, hotel guests, Salem residents and many others who might otherwise not be familiar with the art of our region. Works from this series are on exhibit throughout our building and include the magnificent sculptures in our courtyard.
Learn more about the advantages of meeting in Salem by visiting www.travelsalem.com and traveloregon.com.
Ready to Make A Come Back? We are now booking events through 2022! Start now by completing our Request for Proposal form or calling us at 1-866-614-1900. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.