The state capital is a peaceful and homely university city that exudes a slightly conservative air and is a popular destination for conferences. Salem makes a good day trip from Portland, WA, as it's just an hour's drive south. Highlights include the state capitol itself and a few museums, along with a pleasant riverfront park complete with carousel. Outside the city limits are more interesting destinations, like a spectacular state park, an engaging hilltop abbey and a beautiful themed garden.
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