Salem, Oregon reminds me a bit of Missoula with the Willamette River running through the city, the variation of old and new architecture, its proximity to beautiful wilderness areas, even the carousel located next to the river. RMSP has a Photo Weekendtaking place in Salem this Saturday and Sunday. After the classes have concluded for the day and all of the information is fresh in your mind, head out to photograph the historic buildings, parks and everything the city has to offer.

Historic Elsinore Theatre- Salem has an incredible history of theater and the performing arts. The Elsinore Theater is a large Tudor Gothic building built in 1926. A three year renovation project starting in 2002 has restored the theater’s look and feel to that of its original state.

The Reed Opera House - This opera house opened in 1870 and housed 7 stores and a hotel on its first floor and Salem’s first 1,500 seat theater on its second story.To this day, the Reed Opera house holds various stores, restaurants and bars. The outside facade has been restored to its original appearance.

Silver Falls State Park- This state park is a temperate rain forest located in the lower elevation of the Cascade mountain range. The Trail of Ten Falls/Canyon Trail takes you through mossy landscapes and old growth trees to ten different waterfalls (hence the name).

Riverfront Carousel - located in the Riverfront Park, this is not to be missed. The carousel was inspired by Missoula’s carousel. Handcrafted wooden animals, music, and laughter always make for incredible photographs.

Oregon State Capitol Building- This large art deco capitol building is visually inspiring inside and out. The capitol is also surrounded by three city blocks of beautiful grounds including fountains, statues and two parks to photograph.

Willamette Valley Vineyards - The Estate Vineyard, located south of Salem, is planted on an old west-to-southwest facing volcanic flow. Despite it being March this is a great place to photograph the early spring happenings of a vineyard.

Riverfront Park- This 23 acre riverfront park has a ton of things to photograph. There is  everything from Amphitheaters to a boat dock. Its a great place to walk around with your camera.

Historic Deepwood Estate - This estate is an 1894 Queen Anne Victorian Home situated on approximately 4 acres of manicured gardens and nature trails set in the heart of Salem near its downtown core.

Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge- This wildlife refuge was deemed a “Birding Paradise” by the Statesman Journal. Currently access is limited because of the geese wintering in the area, but it is still a great opportunity to walk around with your camera to capture flocks of geese.

Take a walking tour - If you need to stretch your legs a little after a long day, take one of these self-guided walking tours found on the Salem Heritage Network’s blog. Many of the places listed above are included in these various walking tours.

Do you know of great places to photograph in Salem that I didn’t mention? I’d love to know where you photograph. Leave your suggestions in the comments below. If you do photograph in Salem, Oregon show us your favorites! Post them on our Flickr group pageor on our Facebook page. Make sure to tag the images with “Salem”.


Page Orb

Page worked at RMSP for almost a decade. Life after RMSP holds freelance opportunities in photography, web design, and writing for Page. When not behind the computer you may find her playing in snow, in the mountains, behind a camera or relishing her most important job-Mom. To see Page's personal projects visit