Food, friends and phenomenal views are all standard fare in Salem, the capital city of Oregon. Located in the mid-Willamette Valley, Salem is picture-perfect, thanks to its views of majestic mountains like Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood. Of course, the area’s natural beauty is but the icing on the cake for people looking to make a living. Salem boasts a thriving economy, with plenty of professional opportunities, particularly in the manufacturing, technology and agricultural products industries. Salem homes for sale are currently listed at a median price of $313,450, which is a real steal compared to many other areas in the Pacific Northwest. Homes for sale in Salem can be found in a range of neighborhoods, including walkable Englewood, historic Bush Park or family friendly Sunnyridge.

Salem has plenty to offer without being over or underwhelming. It’s packed with historic significance, with landmarks like the State Capitol building and Willamette Heritage Center, an impressive complex that lets locals experience the days of yore, with buildings that date back to the 1840s. Art enthusiasts should definitely make time to appreciate the displays on regional, European, Asian and Native American art at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. Those with an interest in the less conventional tour will enjoy the Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health, which follows the evolution of mental illness and treatments in a building that used to be known as the Oregon Insane Asylum.

In terms of playtime, Salem leaves nothing to be desired. It’s situated only 59 miles east of the Pacific Ocean and 47 miles south of Portland, for people who want access to those amenities. However, one need not exit the city proper for a good time. Located squarely in wine country, Salem is home to many world-renowned vineyards and wineries. In recent years, the craft beer industry has also joined the party, with breweries and cideries popping up all over. The emphasis on fresh, local fare has also encouraged a renaissance of farm-to-table dining, indeed some of the best in the world.

Salem’s status as an outdoor mecca is great news for people who enjoy activities like hiking, cycling and simply taking in the fresh air. Minto-Brown Island Park, and the 900 acres therein, is a popular haunt, especially thanks to its 12 miles of walking and bicycle trails. Plus, there’s almost always something going on at Salem’s riverfront park, like outdoor concerts, festivals and markets.