Experience Willamette University Whatever brings you here to Salem, OR, whether it's business or pleasure, there is a range of wonderful Salem, OR attractions and fascinating cultural destinations for our guests to explore. There is one destination in particular that we'd like to highlight that may not on be on your radar: Willamette University. Yes, a university right here in the heart of historic downtown Salem! And you know what? You don't even have to be affiliated with the college to appreciate the amazing amenities it offers to our community. Willamette University is located directly across the grounds of the Oregon State Capitol and offers visitors endless opportunities to experience unique art, culture, history and athletics. Founded in 1842, it is the oldest university in the Western United States. Past visitors have described the campus as 'small, intimate and beautiful', a 'traditional college with an Ivy League flavor' and 'truly a gem of a place in Salem'. On any given day, the campus is buzzing with activity in a park-like setting featuring beautiful green space, lovely historic buildings and a wonderful creek that meanders throughout the grounds. 'Willamette University is more than just an institute of learning. This is a very worthwhile stop for anyone in Salem,' says a recent visitor. 'Stop by the Echoing Wall, where you can stand, talk, and hear your voice reverberate back.' WU enriches the Willamette Valley's art scene by hosting hundreds of free or low-cost concerts, plays, readings, films and festivals every year. There are also numerous opportunities for sports fans to watch talented up-and-coming athletes from all over the region compete in an exciting game! As you're planning your visit to Salem, Oregon- be on the lookout for some of these exciting features and add them to your itinerary Special Events Willamette University frequently showcases the unique talent from its student body along with renowned performers, orators and artists from around the globe. The university also partners with local performing arts groups like the Oregon Symphony and Salem Chamber Orchestra to host their programs on campus. Hallie Ford Museum of Art The Hallie Ford Museum of Art regularly showcases special exhibitions ranging from classical works to modern masters. It is the 3rd largest Art Museum in Oregon and boasts an impressive permanent collection featuring Native American and Northwest artists that is free to students and affordable to the community. Athletic Events Have a blast rooting for the Bearcats at home football games, baseball games, softball games, tennis and volleyball matches, basketball games and much more! Atkinson Lecture Series Willamette University's Atkinson Lecture Series brings prominent writers, actors and leaders to town. For more information, visit the Willamette University's Arts Event Calendar and Bearcat Fan Zone.