Area Activities

For families and friends traveling to Salem for Commencement Weekend, there are several activities in the Willamette Valley you may like to visit while your student is occupied with graduation obligations.


Hallie Ford Museum of Art - Willamette University

700 State Street, Salem (5-minute walk from campus)
Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday
Admission is FREE on May 14 and 15.

Exhibitions Information

Kaneko Cafe's Japanese Fare - Willamette University

1300 Mill St., across the skybridge near Tokyo International University of America
Open 8-10 a.m. for breakfast, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. for lunch, 5-7 p.m. for dinner Monday through Friday

The Kaneko Café at Willamette University offers authentic Japanese cuisine. Menu items are created with fresh ingredients and include noodles, meals from the grill, sushi, salads, soups and snacks. The café also offers daily fare from around the world — from Thai curry to Katsu, a delicious breaded pork or chicken dish with rice, cabbage and sesame sauce. For the less adventurous, American classics balance out the menu. Meals are priced for the budget conscious. Call (503) 373-3341 for information.

Botanical Gardens - Willamette University

The Martha Springer Botanical Garden at Willamette University is small, but contains lovely variety. Twelve micro-gardens border the Mill Race stream and include a butterfly garden, herb garden, alpine rock garden, ethnobotany gardens, theme borders and a waterfall. Many native species are highlighted in the one-acre garden, and benches and picnic tables allow visitors to linger. The garden is tucked away behind the Sparks Athletic Center on the southeast edge of campus. 

The campus also offers an intimate Japanese Zen garden behind the Art Building on the northwest edge of campus, accessible from Winter and State Streets.

Nature walks can be extended by visiting nearby Bush Park and the Historic Deepwood Estate gardens.

Historic Deepwood Estates

1116 Mission Street SE, Salem (across from Willamette University)
Open 12-5 p.m. Sunday-Friday from May-September

The Elegant 1894 Deepwood Estate provides one of Oregon's finest examples of an ornate, multi-gabled Queen Anne style home. The 5.5 acres of Deepwood Estate includes gazebos, the original carriage house, outdoor wedding gardens, and the Rita Steiner Fry Nature Trail.


The Oregon Garden

879 W. Main Street, Silverton (a 45-minute drive from Willamette University)
Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May-September
Located on 80 acres in historic Silverton, The Oregon Garden features more than 20 specialty gardens and the Gordon House, the only house in Oregon designed by the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Willamette Valley Vineyards

8800 Enchanted Way SE, Turner (a 15-minute drive from Willamette University)
Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Willamette Valley Vineyards, located in the heart of the Willamette Valley atop Illahee Hill, offers complimentary tasting of vintage selections.