One of the most picturesque towns in Marion County, Silverton has lovely historic homes, a walkable downtown featuring murals and great options for eating. In the region’s history, the Kalapuya and Molala were the original Indigenous groups living in the now Silverton area. With the arrival of pioneers from the east, the tiny town of Silverton was established in 1854. The town grew slowly and became known for its proximity to Silver Falls State Park and, later in the 1990s, for the Oregon Garden. Even today, Silverton is a charming small town inhabited by about 10,000 people. A great day trip from Portland; many excellent options exist for people of all ages.

The Oregon Garden

879 W Main Street, Silverton

The Oregon Garden is one of Silverton’s main attractions in the town closest to Silver Falls State Park. Both of these attractions could easily take a day to fully experience. The Oregon Garden is an 80-acre botanical garden with different themed gardens, from a garden featuring the plants highlighted by the Lewis and Clark expedition to a children’s garden to a tropical greenhouse. The garden also has a wide variety of events, from educational workshops on gardening to their famous Christmas Market.

Silverton Oregon
Fall at the Oregon Garden. Photo credit: Daderot

The Oregon Garden is also the site of The Gordon House, Oregon’s only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house. It was initially built in Wilsonville, with views of the Willamette River and Mount Hood. In the late 1990s, it was sold to new owners who wanted to pull down the historic structure. With the help of the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy, the house was moved to the Oregon Garden site in the early 2000s and restored. Anyone can now visit and take a guided tour of the house. During the summer, it’s open Wednesday through Sunday for tours and in the winter from Friday through Sunday.

Silverton Oregon
A view of the South Falls at Silver Falls State Park. Photo credit: Jeff Hollett

Silver Falls State Park

Located on State Highway 214 outside Silverton

The largest state park in the Oregon State Park system, Silver Falls has something for everyone who loves waterfalls. It’s one of the most popular state parks in the state, and it’s easy to see why. The scenery, even without the waterfalls, is stunning. To see the most in the shortest time, many people opt for the Trail of the Ten Falls (8.2 miles), which includes some of the most famous waterfalls. There are 18 waterfalls at the park in total, and they vary significantly in accessibility, so plan ahead for your trip.

Silverton Oregon
The restaurants of North Water Street perch above Silver Creek in Downtown Silverton. Photo credit: Gary Halvorsen, Oregon State Archive.

Coolidge McClaine Park

300 Coolidge Street, Silverton

Downtown Silverton sits along Silver Creek. To experience the creek, head to Coolidge McClaine Park, a shady park with water access, playground equipment, and picnic tables.

One particularly picturesque part of downtown features restaurants perched right above the water along North Water Street and West Main Street. The Noble Fox restaurant and brewery is one of those that offer classic brewery fare, from burgers and macaroni to gorgonzola fries. Down the street, The People’s Taphouse creates wood-fired pizzas while you watch. Close by, the Little Leaf Cafe serves healthy breakfast and lunch options and features a seating area directly above the creek. Across the street, also on the water, is Mac’s Place, with sandwiches, macaroni, pizzas, and live music every weekend.

Some other downtown Silverton favorites include the Main Street Bistro and Bar, which has a vast menu from breakfast to dinner, plus NFL games, live music, and pool. At Fin + Fowl Kitchen, diners can select Japanese-inspired ramen and sushi, while Akatsuki Sushi Bar delivers delightful sushi combinations across the street. It’s not hard to find great food in Silverton – these are just the restaurants in the center of town.

Silverton Oregon
A mural featuring historic shots of Silverton and its homes downtown. Photo credit: Another Believer

Silverton is also known for its series of murals. Created by the Silverton Mural Society, all paintings feature elements from Silverton’s past and surroundings. Painted by local artists, the murals feature many different topics. Some are pretty general, like the large murals dedicated to the 20th century, the Oregon Trail, or one featuring a parade of pets.

Other murals honor specific Silverton residents, including Bobbie the Wonder Dog, grocer Orville Roth, cartoonist Homer Davenport, and astronaut Don Pettit. Many of the rest of the murals feature pieces of Silverton’s history, from baseball to a timber company and a flour mill. For those interested in Silverton and its history and murals, there are tours, both guided and self-guided for visitors.

Beyond the many activities available, walking through the neighborhoods is a lovely way to get to know the town and see its many historic homes. Whatever kind of experience you’re wanting, Silverton has options for you. From the formal gardens of the Oregon Garden to the majesty of Silver Falls, from looking at murals to eating ramen, a trip to Silverton is a great way to experience Marion County.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email