Things to do in Salem: Riverfront Carousel

Take a Magical Ride on Salem’s Riverfront Carousel

There’s no better way to enjoy Salem’s riverfront district than by hopping on a traditional carousel, atop a hand-carved and painted majestic horse. Salem’s Riverfront Carousel, which has been operating for over 20 years, isn’t your ordinary carousel. It’s run by volunteers and plays an active role in the Salem community. This carousel is a fixture of cultural and social life in Salem, and any visitor to the city should stop by to experience the magic themselves.

The Story of Salem’s Riverfront Carousel

The old-world style carousel in Salem was founded by Hazel Patton and first opened to the public in 2001. The first year it was open, more than 300,000 people came to take a ride. It’s housed in a building constructed specifically for the carousel, on the grounds of Salem’s Riverfront Park. Everything about the carousel, from the lovingly crafted carousel animals to the building it sits in, is a community effort. All of the animals you can ride on the carousel were sponsored by residents of Salem, including local businesses, politicians, and families. They’re crafted by a group of volunteer artists who dedicate their time and talents to make the carousel as magical as can be.

Parties, Events, and Things to Do at the Carousel

Salem’s Riverfront Carousel has an excellent location — right by downtown Salem — making it ideal for parties and special events. In addition to housing the carousel, the building also has plenty of event space for banquets, weddings, proms, and corporate events. During warm-weather months the event can even spill outside into the park. If you want to host an event you have to book in advance.

Even if you don’t host an event at Salem’s Riverfront Carousel, you can still make your visit to Salem a special experience by picking up a souvenir in the Gift Gallery, or taking a walk in the beautiful Salem Riverfront Park afterward.

Plan Your Visit

Salem’s Riverfront Carousel is located at 101 Front St NE, Salem, OR 97301. It’s right near the entrance to Riverfront Park and there is a parking area nearby. The carousel is open every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, except Sundays, when it opens at 11:00 am. One ticket to ride is $2.00, or you can purchase ride packages at discounted rates. The carousel is also accessible to people with disabilities.