tips on moving to salem
July 31, 2012 9:11 PM   Subscribe

Moving to Salem, OR in about a week. Big "getting-there" stuff is covered; now looking for any and all tips to make this the initial move-in and adjustment period as painless as possible -- give me your new-to-Salem-fu, please!

My family has secured employment (Willamette-related), awesome lodgings (rental house in the 17th and Oak St area), and we're using a full service mover, so other than waiting for our stuff to show up and unpacking it, we don't have anything to worry about in terms of the basics of actually moving to Salem.

Here's what I am worried about primarily: What ISP should I use? (I work from home and need a fast, reliable, fat pipe that doesn't cost a mint.)

Here's what I'm also worried about, secondarily: What cool neighborhood restaurants and bars should I know about that I can easily walk or bike to? Are there neighborhood mailing lists or Facebook groups I should be looking to join?

Basically, if you live in Salem, what do you wish somebody had told you when you first moved there?

Thanks for any and all suggestions!
posted by genehack to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I lived about 4 blocks from there and also had Willamette-related employment about 2 years ago.

I just used Comcast when I lived there, with fairly heavy internet usage in my household. Definitely not ideal, but I never found anything better and honestly, it wasn't that bad. I have no idea what new companies have popped up since I left.

You'll be within easy walking or biking distance of all of the bars and restaurants downtown, but even closer to you will be Word of Mouth bistro (State & 17th) which has some of the best breakfast in town. Not quite as good as Busick Court downtown, and both will have a wait on weekends, but still very good.

Avoid the Ram unless you want to drink moderate-to-mediocre microbrew with all of the Willamette students. Brown's Towne lounge is a nice bar downtown with a good beer selection and I've heard really good things about the newer Venti's taphouse towards the South side of town.
posted by evilbeck at 9:59 PM on July 31, 2012

I grew up in Salem. The city is large(ish), but it's sprawled out and very suburban in most places. Public transit is just okay. The bus system has been struggling for a decade plus and keeps having to rethink times and routes to deal with their budget problems. Neighborhoods tend not to group in cohesive units in Salem, so announcements on events etc. are going to be citywide inclusive. Luckily, you're living close enough to downtown that you can find things to do without spending 20 minutes driving across town and events tend to center themselves there. The only exception is stuff in West Salem, across the river, because with the exceptions of work, coming downtown, or leaving for the coast, people tend to find excuses not to cross one way or the other.

There's a few local ISPs and there may be DSL available where you're living, but your best bet (sadly) is still probably going to be Comcast.

Honestly, I came to tell you how boring Salem is, but this previous AskMeFi covers that ground pretty well. It's a five-year old post, but Salem hasn't changed much culturally or structurally since I was born, so the info is still pretty accurate. Since this post isn't to change your mind about moving there, I'll just say I hope you find some friends, carve out some time to visit all the beautiful outdoors activities nearby, and make trips to Portland or Eugene.
posted by asciident at 10:19 PM on July 31, 2012

Having lived in about 10 different Oregon cities, my experience in Salem was somewhat wanting; it suffers from a distinct lack of culture as a place where most the professionals who work there live in Eugene, Corvallis or Portland Metro. Maybe it's a function of the legislature being there, maybe it's the fact that Portland is so awesome and so close by, or maybe it's the unchecked sprawl of Salem, but it's just a weird dynamic.

That being said, neat things about Salem - it's got a great downtown! The cafes and shops are great, the people are nice, and there's lots of great parks nearby. Don't forget how close you are to other activities, like wine country in every direction, or tons of neat hikes and waterfalls half an hour to the west in Polk County, or the coast 75 minutes away to the west. There's decent (but not spectacular) skiing at Hoodoo about 75 minutes away to the east, and much better skiing if you drive another 90 minutes to Mt. Bachelor near Bend, or to the skiing on Mount Hood to the north.

Uhm, avoid the east side of Salem during rush hour, it's awful. Highway 99 is generic suburban sprawl and strip malls in every Oregon city, and east Salem is no exception. For that matter, avoid the I-5 area and all the overpasses/underpasses during rush hour.

There are great bike rides and routes in Salem, especially to the west and southwest. If you have kids, you should take them to Enchanted Forest, it's a pretty cheap amusement park about 5 miles away from Salem.

I got my law degree from Willamette, and enjoyed the experience. I have fond memories of the Ram, but it definitely turns into a college dive Wednesday through Saturday night. The student cafe on campus has surprisingly good food, so don't turn your nose up at it ;-)

Oh, and for ISP - I really don't have a problem with Comcast. You will get the best deal if you find a Comcast kiosk (probably one at the shopping mall a couple blocks north of the downtown core) and ask for their latest offers.

Good luck!
posted by Happydaz at 10:31 PM on July 31, 2012

I'm pretty new to the area myself, but if you want fast, local Linux packages, look no further than my datacenter. For home ISP, here in Corvallis I went with Comcast. At the very least, they're the most committed ISP to ipv6 =)
posted by pwnguin at 11:29 PM on July 31, 2012

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