8 Best Neighborhoods in Salem: Where to Live in Salem, OR (2024)

Posted by Jordan Matin on Tuesday, December 19, 2023 at 8:30 AM By Jordan Matin / December 19, 2023 Comment

8 Best Neighborhoods in Salem: Where to Live in Salem, OR (1)

The city of Salem, Oregon, offers a wide range of neighborhoods, each with its unique charm and price range. For anyone considering moving to Salem or trying out a different area of town, it's worth delving into the best neighborhoods in the city and learning about the most expensive and most affordable areas. Whether you're seeking luxury or budget-friendly living, understanding the amenities and community atmosphere of neighborhoods in Salem is key to finding the perfect fit.

Best Neighborhoods in Salem, OR

From vibrant downtown in the center of all the action to quiet streets that feel like an escape from the city, the best neighborhoods in Salem are in convenient locations and offer the area's top amenities.

Downtown Salem

Experience Salem’s best parks, the city's best entertainment, events, outdoor activities, shopping, and dining in the Downtown Salem neighborhood—all within walking distance of your front door. Residents and visitors of Oregon's capital city always have something fun and exciting to look forward to here. Whether it's checking out the latest show at one of the many theaters, exploring a new park or hiking trail when the weather is nice, or trying the newest restaurant when the cravings hit, living in Downtown Salem is a dream for many.

Some of Salem's largest employers, plus several coffee shops, museums, breweries, and historic buildings, dot the area. The city is continuously improving, from street safety to revitalization efforts.

Downtown Salem has two major parks, including the 900-acre Minto-Brown Island Park and the 23-acre Riverfront Park, the latter bordering the community's western edge. The Union Street Railroad Bridge and the Peter Courtney Minto Island Bicycle & Pedestrian Bridge connect these areas. Residents and visitors can access over 30 miles of walking, running, and biking trails or get out on the Willamette River in a kayak.

Willamette University and the Oregon State Capitol are two large points of interest in Downtown Salem. The college is one of the oldest in the Western United States and has an additional campus in Downtown Portland. Lush landscaping and art displays surround the Oregon State Capitol, where virtual and in-person tours are available pending construction projects or special events.

Homes for sale in Downtown Salem include quaint and spacious single-family properties alongside mid-rise condos, ranging from just under $300,000 to nearly $700,000. There are also a few multi-family homes for sale, ranging in style from older duplexes to new construction builds.

Downtown Salem Amenities

  • Riverfront Carousel
  • Salem Hospital
  • Hallie Ford Museum of Art
  • The Grand Hotel in Salem
  • Salem Convention Center
  • Waldo Park
  • Willamette Heritage Center
  • Gilbert House Children's Museum

South Salem

Several neighborhoods make up the South Salem area, where prospective homebuyers have various property types built by some of Salem’s most popular home builders to choose from. From historic homes in established neighborhoods to new construction builds in master-planned communities, South Salem is one of the largest areas in the city and is an ideal place to live, work, and play.

Living in South Salem puts residents close to shopping centers, schools, nature, and more. Those looking for the best golf courses should consider the Illahe Hills or Creekside Estates communities, where they can enjoy the Creekside Golf Club or the Illahe Hills Country Club.

New construction awaits buyers mainly around the Bailey Ridge and Verona Heights developments, while plenty of acreage is available in Tanglewood, Spring Lake Estates, Rosedale, and Chinook Estates. Beautiful landscaping surrounds cozy, historic homes in Alderbrook and Sunnyridge and parts of Cambridge and Woodscape.

While homes for sale in South Salem can list for up to $1.5 million, most sell from the $400s to the low $700s. There are also a number of mobile home and condo options listing for under $300,000. Lots and land are also available, with several options ranging between the mid-$100s and high $300s.

South Salem Amenities

  • Belcrest Memorial Park
  • Firecrest City Park
  • North Croisan Creek Trail Head
  • Madrona Swim Club
  • Candalaria Elementary School
  • Lifesource Natural Foods
  • South Salem High School
  • Salem Heights Elementary School

West Salem

Because the Marion Street Bridge connects the growing West Salem community to the rest of the city, West Salem is best for those who want to live in one of Salem's top neighborhoods while feeling like they're away from it all. This unique and relaxed community of over 30,000 residents is the only Salem area in Polk County, as the others are across the bridge in Marion County. The Willamette River flows on the neighborhood's southeast border, separating West Salem from Minto-Brown Island Park below.

West Salem's business districts are along Edgewater Street and Wallace Road. Several lush parks cover the neighborhood, adding to the area's overall natural beauty. The 114-acre Wallace Marine Park offers several amenities, from sports fields and walking paths to play equipment and picnic tables.

Residents and visitors can spend their time at nearby wineries, with some of the top options including Chemeketa Cellars and Redhawk Vineyard & Winery—and that's just the start of what they'll find. Some popular restaurants in West Salem are Annette's Westgate for American food, beer, wine, and co*cktails; and Momiji to satisfy sushi cravings.

West Salem contains Salemtowne, the only community of 55+ adult community homes in Salem. Properties here typically sell between the mid-$300s and the upper $400s, and residents are responsible for additional homeowners association fees supporting additional amenities.

Otherwise, homes for sale in West Salem range in price depending on property type, age, and location, typically starting around $100,000 for single lots. Single-family homes range from just south of $400,000 to upwards of $750,000.

West Salem Amenities

  • Orchard Heights Park
  • West Salem High School
  • Eagle's View Park
  • Roth's Fresh Markets
  • Chapman Hill Elementary School
  • Straub Middle School
  • West Salem City Hall

Fairmount Hills

The Fairmount Hills neighborhood in South Central Salem offers older properties, incredible views, and several convenient amenities within a peaceful setting. River Road South is Fairmount Hills' western border, separating it from the Willamette Slough. On the community's eastern side is Commercial Street SE, a main road with local service shops, restaurants, and stores.

Fairmount Hills is a smaller, close-knit area home to the Governor’s Mansion, Mahonia Hall. While this walkable neighborhood in Salem is just southwest of downtown's many amenities, there's plenty to discover in the immediate area.

Fairmount City Park features a disc golf course, a playground, hiking trails, covered seating areas, and more. Play mini golf at Best Little Roadhouse while enjoying a delicious steak or burger, and when you're ready for dessert, head over to Gerry Frank's Konditorei for something sweet.

The South Central Salem homes in Fairmount Hills are typically on the pricier side. Some properties offer extensive renovations, and others await their new owner to bring their vision to life. Most are large and historic, generally ranging in price from $400,000 to over $700,000.

Fairmount Hills Amenities

  • Daynight Donuts
  • Dutchbros Coffee
  • Straight from New York Pizza
  • White's Restaurant
  • The Cut Connection Barbershop
  • Baker Head Start preschool
  • Lux Artistry Nail Bar
  • Cascade Sleep Supply

Bush Park

8 Best Neighborhoods in Salem: Where to Live in Salem, OR (2)

East of Fairmount Hills and a bit closer to downtown in South Central Salem is the cozy Bush Park community. Offering a retreat-like feel away from busier parts of the city, Bush Park is a historic neighborhood in Salem featuring attractive landscaping, tree-lined streets, and stunning architecture. Part of Bush Park leads into a historic district, the small Gaiety Hill section, containing over 100 of Salem’s historic homes.

Dominating a large part of the community and within walking distance of many Bush Park homes is the 90.5-acre Bush's Pasture Park. In addition to hosting the Salem Art Fair & Festival and being home to the Salem Art Association, Bush's Pasture Park provides visitors with everything from sports fields and walking trails to playgrounds, a rose garden, Willamette University's McCulloch Stadium, picnic tables, rentable areas, and more. The Deepwood Museum & Gardens is just east of the park, offering museum tours, events, and even a beautiful setting for weddings.

McKinley and Bush school districts serve elementary students in Bush Park. Residents can walk to several coffee shops, plus local services and stores along Liberty Street SE, where the Liberty at Lincoln bus stop can take residents farther into the city.

Generally ranging in price from the high $300s to the low $800s—which enables buyers to take control of their cost of living in Salem—homes for sale in Bush Park vary in size and condition, from cottages in need of a remodel to larger properties on spacious lots with custom amenities. There's so much to love about this desirable community, easily making it one of the best neighborhoods in Salem.

Bush Park Amenities

  • Liberty Street Hair Design
  • Montessori Discovery Center
  • Fitts Seafoods
  • Tong King Garden Restaurant
  • Basil & Board
  • Northbank Surgical Center - Boulder Creek
  • Simply Blissed Day Spa


Cul-de-sacs, large trees, and lush greenery define Salem's carefully planned Woodscape area. Three subdivisions make up Woodscape: Woodscape Glen, containing rentable Salem townhomes and garden homes; Woodscape Meadows, established in the 1980s and 1990s to add larger properties with spacious yet private backyards; and Woodscape Green, the area's newest development.

Woodscape's location makes it a huge draw for current and prospective residents. Within the neighborhood are walking paths, community gardens, and various property types to consider—all while feeling like you're away from the city and deep in the forest.

Wes Bennett Park borders the southwest corner of Woodscape and offers visitors a splash pad, a basketball court, and a playground. Walk along Reed Lane SE from the park to reach Pringle Elementary, or take a short drive on Battle Creek Road SE to reach Lee Elementary. Kuebler Boulevard is just north of Woodscape, where residents can find a Costco, several fast food options, and more at the Kuebler Gateway shopping mall.

Single-family homes in Woodscape start around $400,000 and can reach the mid-$700s for dwellings in Woodscape Green. Townhouses and garden homes in Woodscape Glen offer two-bedroom floor plans renting for around $2,000 per month.

Woodscape Amenities

  • A Smart Start Preschool & Daycare
  • Salem Fire Department Station 9
  • Starbucks
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Costco
  • Boone Ridge Senior Living Community
  • Mahonia Nursery
  • An approximately 15-minute drive from Downtown Salem

Candalaria Heights

Looking for mid-century modern homes in Salem? The established Candalaria Heights community just below Fairmount Hills in South Salem is one of the best places to find them. Candalaria Heights offers residents a pleasant mix of amenities. Large, original floor plans, sloped or flat lots, basem*nts, and views of beautiful surroundings or the Pacific Coast Range grace these spacious homes.

Homes in Candalaria Heights surround Candalaria Park, a small green space between Boice Street S and Candalaria Boulevard S, where visitors can spend some time outdoors or kick a soccer ball around on the grassy field. The neighborhood's western portion contains the small Candalaria Elementary school on Hansen Avenue S, while several stores and restaurants line Candalaria Heights' eastern border on Commercial Street SE. Those wanting to live close to downtown will be happy to know they're only about three miles away, about a 10-minute drive from the community.

Prospective buyers should be ready to spend more on homes higher up in the community, which typically run upwards of $1 million. They can still experience the neighborhood's greatness from down below, where properties generally list for around $400,000.

Candalaria Heights Amenities

  • French Press Coffee & Crêpes
  • ACME Café
  • Aunt Bee's House
  • Lifesource Natural Foods
  • Happy Owls Daycare
  • Corner Pocket Bar & Grill
  • Candalaria Terrace


A stroll through Grant, one of Salem's city-designated heritage neighborhoods, is an up-close look at some of the area's most diverse properties, like original and remodeled Salem bungalows, farmhouses, Cape Cods, and Four Squares. Grant is just above downtown Salem and just below Highland, and the Willamette River flows just outside its western border.

Residents don't have to leave Grant or travel far for daily needs. Grocery stores, schools, parks, and more are all within the community, and additional options and entertainment await just beyond the boundaries.

Grant is home to a street mural and is the first Salem neighborhood to have one. Toward the center of Grant is the Grant Community School, which provides around 400 students with English and Spanish instruction.

The various property styles and sizes mean homes for sale in Grant differ greatly in price. The largest options, including some of Salem’s farmhouse-style homes, offer over five bedrooms and list for around $700,00, while smaller, older homes have common price tags of around $300,000.

Grant Amenities

  • Tony's Taco Shop
  • Broadway Coffee House
  • Dark Horse Bar & Grill
  • Salem Child Development Center
  • A Divine Appointment Salon
  • Junior's Taqueria
  • Grant School Park
  • Christo's Pizzeria & Lounge

Most Expensive Neighborhoods in Salem, OR

8 Best Neighborhoods in Salem: Where to Live in Salem, OR (3)

Salem's most expensive neighborhoods provide their residents with the ultimate lifestyle of privacy, unbeatable amenities, and some of the most luxurious homes in the city. Homebuyers considering Salem’s luxury homes can use these neighborhoods as idyllic starting points for their searches.


One of the best things about the Cambridge area is its ultra-private and almost forgotten location within Salem, providing residents with the ultimate escape. While this part of the city feels somewhat hidden, it's not too far from Kuebler Boulevard's commercial area and Interstate 5, so residents are never far from where they often need to go.

Cambridge Meadows, Cambridge Woods, Cambridge Heights, and Cambridge Crest make up the Cambridge neighborhood. Each subdivision contains beautiful, spacious, single-family homes with lush lawns and stunning details. Cambridge is residential, and most homes for sale range from $400,000 to around $1 million, though this can vary greatly by subdivision. For example, homes in Cambridge Woods Estates trend towards the lower end of this spectrum, listing from the high $400s to $700,000.

Cambridge Amenities

  • Winco Foods
  • Hilfiker Park
  • Trader Joe's
  • Woodmansee Park
  • Royal Thai Kitchen
  • The UPS Store

Illahe Hills

The Illahe Hills neighborhood, just off River Road, is the perfect place to fulfill one's dream of owning a golf course home along one of Salem’s best golf courses. Mid-century modern, Craftsman, and French Country properties highlight some of Illahe Hills' architectural styles—adjacent to the Illahe Hills Country Club. Here, members can enjoy golf, pickleball, tennis, or bocce ball, swim in the pool, or work out in the fitness center. The country club is also a beautiful venue for weddings and other special events.

Prospective home buyers should note Illahe Hills' has a homeowners' association and covenants, conditions, and restrictions for a small section of condos within the neighborhood.

Additionally, there are three school districts: Schirle, Sprague, and Crossler. Because Illahe Hills is a luxury golf course community, residents can drive their golf carts around the neighborhood whenever they'd like.

Like Cambridge, Illahe Hills' residents tend to reside in the community for a long time. When these spacious, single-family homes—many of which are among Salem’s homes with acreage—are available, they typically list close to $1 million, making Illahe Hills one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city.

Illahe Hills Amenities

  • Lively Station
  • Illahe Ridge Park
  • Illahe Hills Tennis and Pickleball Center
  • Minto-Brown Island Park
  • Dog-friendly community
  • Joryville Park

Croisan Mountain

Enjoy gorgeous views of Mount Hood and some of South Salem's finest homes in the Croisan Mountain neighborhood. Large, custom properties and some of the most sought-after mountain view homes in Salem are present throughout this lush, ultra-private community.

Croisan Mountain's active homeowners' association takes care of the area's public maintenance and requires covenants, conditions, and restrictions to uphold the neighborhood's appearance. While its location makes residents feel like they're away from Salem, nearby amenities like restaurants, parks, shopping, and several of the schools in Salem are just a short drive from the community.

Croisan Mountain homes are on spacious lots and provide ample room for their residents. As one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Salem, buyers can expect starting prices at around $1 million, with many properties averaging between $1.3 million and $1.5 million.

Croisan Mountain Amenities

  • Nelson City Park
  • Bloomquist Dental
  • North Croisan Creek Trail Head
  • Belcrest Memorial Park
  • Salem Golf Club
  • WinCo Foods
  • Sprague High School
  • Roth's Fresh Markets - Liberty Road

Golf Club Estates at Creekside

The Golf Club Estates at Creekside neighborhood offers luxurious golf course homes and condos around the Creekside Golf Course. This is the community's main attraction, offering golf and social memberships, a restaurant, a pool, fitness facilities, and unique additions like a nail salon and spa services.

Golf Club Estates at Creekside has a homeowners' association, plus covenants, conditions, and restrictions.Homes in Golf Club Estates at Creekside commonly list from $500,000 to the mid-$700s. Most homes for sale have three to four bedrooms and two to three bathrooms, ranging from original styles to more recent, custom builds.

Golf Club Estates at Creekside Amenities

  • Battle Creek Elementary School
  • Bryan Johnston Park
  • Sumpter Elementary School
  • Guentner's Gardens
  • Rees City Park
  • South Salem Senior Center
  • Animal Care Center Veterinary Clinic

Most Affordable Neighborhoods in Salem, OR

8 Best Neighborhoods in Salem: Where to Live in Salem, OR (4)

Salem also welcomes affordable neighborhoods—each with unique charm and several great reasons to call them home.

Jan Ree

The established Jan Ree neighborhood contains several phases and began production in the 1970s. Some of Jan Ree is in Salem's city limits, while other parts are outside of it. It lies near the northernmost part of the city and is in the unincorporated Haysville community of around 22,000.

There's plenty to do and see within Jan Ree, but if residents want to see more of the city, they're only about a 15-minute drive from downtown. Local highlights include the Jan Ree Swimming Pool and the six-acre undeveloped Parkdale Park, which Marion County manages as green space.

Prospective residents will find a share of Marion County’s ranch homes in Jan Ree's original development. However, two-story properties are available in the community's latest phases. Overall, homes for sale in Jan Ree usually range from $400,000 to $500,000.

Jan Ree Amenities

  • Adore Hair Studio
  • Hoodview Park
  • Play & Learn Daycare
  • NW Confections
  • Yoshikai Elementary
  • Carolina's Bridal Boutique
  • Hammond Elementary
  • Two bus stops


Oregon City home builder Forrest Ridge created the Northstar development, offering affordable new construction properties in North Salem.

Northstar's location is close to Interstate 5 for easy daily commutes into downtown or nearby cities. The city of Keizer is about 10 minutes away, where Keizer Station provides visitors with everything they need for groceries, restaurants, and more.

Homes for sale in Northstar typically list from $400,000 to the mid-$500s. There are several open-concept floor plans available for buyers to choose from in Northstar, ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 square feet.

Northstar Amenities

  • EZ Orchard Farmers Market
  • Valley Inquiry Charter School
  • Lake Labish County Park
  • World Market
  • Keizer Rapids Park
  • Vince Woods Farm

East Salem

Several neighborhoods make up East Salem—all of which are among the best places to live near Salem Municipal Airport—including Four Corners, Green Hills, Meadowlawn, and Royal Oaks, to name a few. Living in East Salem is an excellent choice for buyers seeking affordability yet wish to remain close to everything they need. Shopping, schools, and local service centers surround these communities while putting residents about five to 10 minutes from downtown.

The Willamette Town Center is an East Salem hotspot with a movie theater, a food court, and many stores. Weathers Street Park is a great place to spend time outdoors and features a playground, covered seating areas, walking paths, and a basketball court. Some schools in the area include Blanchet Catholic School, McKay High School, and Scott Elementary School.

Prospective residents will find several property types, including condos, townhouses, and single-family properties throughout this part of the city. While these vary significantly in style, size, and price, most homes for sale in East Salem have an average list price in the mid-$400s.

East Salem Amenities

  • Salem Municipal Airport
  • The Home Depot
  • Royal Oaks Park
  • Crumbl Cookies - Salem
  • Auburn Elementary School
  • DICK'S Sporting Goods
  • Weathers Park

Santana Village

Decently sized ranch-style homes built between 1960 and 1970 on flat roads with large yards make up East Salem's Santana Village. The four-acre Santana Village Park is in the center of the community, a "neighborhood-owned resource" that's continuously a work in progress with the help of volunteers and local students. There are two horseshoe pits, walking trails, picnic areas, open green spaces, sports courts, and a playground for visitors to enjoy.

Santana Village is just southeast of Four Corners. Its borders include Pennsylvania Avenue SE, 49th Drive SE, Buffalo Drive SE, and Connecticut Avenue SE. Interstate 5 is about 10 minutes from the community, which provides convenient driving in Salem for its residents.

With properties often offered around $300,000, Santana Village might just be Salem's most affordable neighborhood. Homes for sale commonly have two-car garages, three bedrooms, and attractive landscaping.

Santana Village Amenities

  • Mary Eyre Elementary School
  • Glow Beauty Bar
  • Twilight Child Care
  • Therapeutic Balance
  • Houck Middle School
  • Coastal Farm & Ranch
  • Craft Warehouse
  • Holidays Dog Boarding

Which Salem Neighborhood is Right for You?

Salem's neighborhoods present a spectrum of options, catering to different financial capabilities and lifestyle preferences. From upscale areas boasting private amenities to more affordable neighborhoods offering practical living spaces, the city accommodates a wide range of residents. For those planning to move to Salem, these insights offer a valuable perspective on where to find a neighborhood that aligns with their financial situation and lifestyle needs, making it a city with something for everyone.

Looking for the perfect home in Salem, OR?Call Matin Real Estate at (503) 622-9601today to talk with a local real estate agent who can help you find your new Salem home.

8 Best Neighborhoods in Salem: Where to Live in Salem, OR (2024)
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