Our City Our Neighborhood

Walk to the Saturday Market, and tour interesting sights along the way

The Salem Saturday Market near the Capitol is an endearing staple of our city. A good place for lunch or to pick up local produce and gifts. And who hasn’t discovered a new sweet to try or stared at a weird vegetable you never knew was locally grown? This article will show you how to walk to the market and see something interesting on the way.

First, get yourself the map for easier navigating. Then make your way to the first point and enjoy the narration:

Coming from State Street? Walk the parallel Ferry St SE instead. Here you can find ① Mill Race Park embedded in the sound of rushing water followed by the beautifully kept garden of the ② Korean Church of Salem.

Dipping down to Mill Street SE takes us even further away from traffic. While walking Mill St westwards you will see the quaint ③ Mia Chung Buddhist Temple on your right, followed by the ④ Willamette Heritage Center with its 19th century buildings and textile factory. Both are part of the Center’s self-guided tour. 

On the other side of the street you’ll find ⑤ Kaneko Commons, featuring residence halls for Willamette University students and office space for the American Studies Program (formerly known as Tokyo International University of America). Willamette University and Tokyo International University (Kawagoe, Japan) partner to offer the American Studies Program, a study abroad experience where students gain cross-cultural awareness and enhance their abilities to study, live and work in intercultural environments. Although the residence is considered to be a part of Willamette’s campus, the physical location is off the main part of the campus. Accessing the complex requires taking the distinct skybridge, or crossing 12th street and the adjacent railroad tracks.

12th St SE can be safely crossed using the crosswalk and push-button operated lights. Once on the other side, point your nose north (right) and walk a short distance along Willamette University’s East boundary.

Just before crossing Mill Stream we’ll turn left and enter one of WU’s best kept secrets: the ⑥ Martha Springer Botanical Garden. This garden contains 12 thematic sections including a butterfly and alpine garden. Then, turn onto a beautiful stone bridge crossing Mill Stream: An excellent spot to observe the local duck population revel in the water.

The WU campus is open to the public and has many beautiful hideaways, impressive architecture and affordable eateries. For the sake of our walk, however, we will move on in a north-western direction towards the north edge of campus. Here we find the ⑦ Sesquicentennial Rose Garden. Planted in 1992, it is another colorful refuge next to a busy street. 

Looking west we see a ⑧ circle of giant sequoia trees. Tradition dictates that you stand, sit or lie in the middle of the circle and look up for full effect.

Turning towards State St we have a beautiful view of our next destination: the ⑨ State Capitol. Go ahead and cross the street to get to the Capitol‘s rear entrance. From there we make our way to the front by following the path meandering around the building on either the left or right.

The Capitol, rebuilt for the third time after being burned down twice, is well worth a visit with its luscious interior and exhibits on our ever-evolving state. The building is freely accessible on weekdays.

After crossing Court St NE, we find ourselves in ⑩ Oregon State Capitol State Park. The park takes up two blocks on each side of Chemeketa St NE and is host to many events. The cherry trees lining the park bloom in early spring, coloring the area pink and white, to the delight of many photographers.

We’ve almost reached our destination with the ⑪ Salem Saturday Market to be found two blocks north.

Here we are. Have a good time at the market and, maybe, consider walking back the same way for a fresh perspective on the things you missed on your way here.