Pros and Cons of Living in Salem, Oregon

There are definitely more Pros than Cons living in Salem, Oregon! Salem, OR, has a lot going for it and many excellent amenities, attractions, and opportunities. It’s a wonderful town to raise a family, with a location that’s central to the Portland metro area. Salem has an exciting nightlife and just as exciting opportunities to enjoy nature and outdoor adventures. Plus, although close to Portland, we’re far enough not to be affected by some of the city’s problems. (Bye-bye, Portland traffic!)

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Now, here’s the thing; Salem, OR, has some excellent pros, but, like most American cities, has a few cons, too. Knowing the good and the bad can be vital when moving here. Where to buy a home in Salem, for example, and which schools are the best. If that’s essential information you’d like to know, read on. We’ve got the notable Pros and Cons of living in Salem, OR, below. 

MOVING TIP: Reserve a storage unit in Salem, OR, online before you move here. It’s the best way to ensure one will be waiting to safely store your stuff when your movers arrive. Plus, self-storage is typically much cheaper than storing your things in a mover’s massive warehouse!

PRO: Summer Weather in Salem, OR, is Stellar

Summertime is surprisingly warm and beautiful in Salem, OR. Best Places gives Salem a nearly perfect comfort index of 9.2 in summer, which is excellent. One reason is that we rarely see extremely high temps in Salem. The average high in summer is 81.6°, making ours one of the cooler Oregon cities. From May through September, the weather is typically fantastic, with little rain and low humidity. Salem sees a dozen genuinely hot days during that time, which is delightfully low. That makes summer weather one of the best pros of living in Salem, OR, no question.

Pros and cons of living in Salem

CON: Housing Costs in Salem, OR, Are High

While Salem isn’t the most expensive city in the U.S. for housing, it’s certainly not the cheapest, either. Our housing cost index is 122/100, 22% higher than the U.S. average. Renting an apartment is also more expensive than average, but not by a vast amount, thankfully. Some folks rent a storage unit in Salem, OR, rather than buy a bigger home. That way, they can keep some things safely stored and save money on a smaller home or apartment.

PRO: There Are Exciting Activities in Salem, OR

There’s a surprising amount of exciting, adventurous, and fun activities in and around Salem all year! From kayaking on the Willamette River to scuba diving, hiking, camping, and more, you can enjoy it in Salem, OR! Some of the best are listed below, but there are many more to discover once you’re living here!

Pros and cons of living in Salem

CON: Property Crime in Salem is a Problem

In Salem, keeping an eye on your stuff is essential. That’s because we have a problem with property crime, which is nearly double the national average. Motor vehicle theft is also about 40% higher than in the rest of the country. It’s a problem, no doubt, but the good news is that Salem has a professional and compassionate police force.

CON (or PRO): Living in Salem, Oregon Means Rain

OK, so Salem isn’t nearly as rainy as our neighbor city to the north, Seattle, WA. That’s the good news, but the not-so-good news is that Salem still gets more than enough rain. From November through April, at least 50% of the month sees the wet stuff. Some months, like December and January, see even more. That’s a lot of overcast days, no doubt. It’s not a deal-breaker, but you will need a windbreaker, galoshes, and rain gear when living in Salem, OR.

Pros and cons of living in Salem

PRO: Living in Salem, Oregon Means Lots of Beer

Ending today’s list of the pros and cons of living in Salem, OR, is a big pro indeed; craft beer. Salem is known for its craft beer scene, with several top-notch micro-breweries in the area. There are several wineries also, and even a brandy and rum distiller! Some of the standouts include:

  • Gilgamesh Brewery– Try the Mamba, a People’s Choice award-winner!
  • Xicha Brewing– House-brewed European lagers and Latin-infused food make this place a local fave.
  • St. Innocent Winery– Producing outstanding wine since 1988!
  • Salt Creek Cider House– Hand-crafted hard ciders made with local fruit and no sugar. Yummy!
  • Divine Distillers– Rum and brandy made from fresh, Salem ingredients. Their farm-to-glass tastings are a treat!
  • Legacy Estate Vineyard– Ten minutes outside Salem sits this magnificent, 160-acre winery. Buy $60.00 of wine, and you can camp there overnight!
  • Bine Valley Brewing– Two or three new brews every month give you plenty of reasons to keep going back.
  • Salem Ale Works– Great beer and excellent food in a gorgeous setting. Yes, that sounds like a good plan, indeed!
  • Cória Estates– Spectacular views of the Willamette Valley and its five mountains make this a must-see winery! (They would be Mount Jefferson, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, and South Sister Mountains.)
Pros and cons of living in Salem

There Are More Pros Than Cons Living in Salem, OR!

After reading today’s information about Salem, we hope you agree it’s got more pros than cons. Yes, Salem isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty close! At Northwest Self Storage, our storage centers are pretty close, also. We’ve got 13 self-storage locations in Salem, OR, and the surrounding area. All have clean, secure, and safe storage units in Salem ready to store almost anything. That includes household goods, cars, boats, collections, you name it!

Rent a Storage Unit in Salem, Oregon

If you have questions about renting a storage unit in Salem, OR, we offer a convenient chat function online. You can also stop at one of our many Salem self-storage locations. They all have on-site managers who are well-versed in everything about self-storage. They can advise you well on which size and type of Salem, OR, storage units will best fit your particular needs. Until then, enjoy all the pros of living in Salem! Plus, if you’re on your way, best of luck with a stress-free move!


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This post was published on 6/8/2021. It was updated on 2/2/2022.

7 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Living in Salem, Oregon”

  1. Pros:
    Mountains 1 hour away, Beaches 1 hour away.
    Willamette University, Bush’s
    Pasture Park, Minto Brown Park, Wallace Marine Park, beautiful open farm land(it is in the center of the Willamette Valley), Portland an hour away, Eugene 75 minutes away… Good Schools, good Sport Facilities. Clean water from the Santiam and clean air…

  2. Hi Sheila,

    I’m from Chicago and am white, but might be able to help a little bit. Many of my friends and coworkers in FEMA are black. It really depends on where you are in Oregon. Near Portland you would do well, everyone is very friendly and pretty accepting. BUT it’s not diverse like most major cities… I’ve heard good things about Eugene Oregon as well, but never worked there. When we all worked with FEMA in southern Oregon (Medford, Roseburg, etc). Many of the women had to deal with racist patients, white supremacist (swastika tattoos, *eyeroll). Additionally, in southern oregon, they struggled to find someone Literally ANY ONE who knew how to style Black Hair. One of my friends was denied a tasting at a winery “bc of COVID”, But I was literally at that winery a day before, doing a tasting (but we were all white).

    I hope this helps sorry I couldnt offer more insight.

  3. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences about living in Oregon with our community!

  4. Hi Sheila,
    I am a mixed race (Caucasian and Bahamian) woman who grew up in Salem. I was, and still am, someone who stands out in just about every setting due to color. Rarely ever though have I felt that in a negative way. If anything I think it was curiosity. I’ve never had any issues with housing or employment due to my skin color. Neither with making friends. I’ve moved a few times through the years, but find myself back in Salem in my 40s because it’s my home and truth be told I love it here. Hope that helps you out a little bit. Best wishes!

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