8 Reasons to Visit Dallas, Oregon

An idyllic town with history, trails and wineries. Set among vineyards and rolling hills, Dallas is located about 25 minutes outside of Salem, Oregon. Its owner-operated businesses, small-town charm and walkable downtown square will have you feeling like you’re in Mayberry – for all the right reasons.

  1. Walk the historic downtown.

Although only one building in the core of downtown Dallas is on the National Register of Historic Places, almost every building was built between 1880 and 1910. The town itself is centered around the Polk County Courthouse, which was completed in 1900 and is one of the oldest courthouses still in use in the state. With a 95-foot clock tower, the building is hard to miss.

Surrounding the courthouse, rows of historically-significant buildings house restaurants, antique shops and murals depicting the town’s history.

  1. Peruse antique stores and more.

In downtown Dallas, you won’t find big-name stores. Instead, you’ll find locally-owned shops selling one-of-a-kind items. For antique and vintage treasures, visit Some Things and the Dallas Antique Mall. Right down the street, Main Street Emporium of Dallas has a variety of new and upcycled home goods, children’’ toys and clothing.

Quilters come from all over the country and world to visit Grandma’s Attic Quilt Shop. From fabrics and patterns to quilting lessons and advice, the store offers a little bit of everything and has been a staple in the community for more than 20 years.

  1. Coffee bars, restaurants and taphouses.

For a small town, Dallas boasts a handful of appetizing restaurants, including Pressed Coffee & Wine Bar. Often referred to as the hub of the community, Pressed is a great place to grab a coffee in the morning, order a light lunch in the afternoon and enjoy live music and trivia in the evenings.

If you’re looking for fine dining with farm-to-table food, look no further than Latitude One. Owned by a longtime Dallas resident, the seasonal menu features locally-harvested ingredients in dishes such as steamed clams, mushroom fettuccine and prime rib sliders.

With 65 different taps, West Valley Taphouse is sure to have something to quench your thirst. Most of the taps are dedicated beers, ciders, and Kombucha from the Pacific Northwest, but there are also beers available from around the world.

  1. Plan a day in the parks.

Dallas has an extensive system of parks. At 35 acres, Dallas City Park is the largest park in town. Among its amenities are an 18-hole disc golf course, a suspension bridge, Japanese garden and swimming hole.

On the other side of town, you’ll find Central Bark, an off-leash dog park, and Roger Jordan Community Park, which has a skate park and the only pickleball courts in the area.

Several of the town’s 11 parks are connected through the Rickreall Creek Trail, a multi-use trail for pedestrians, bicyclists and bird-watchers that runs along the creek it’s named after. Once completed, the 4.2-mile trail will connect the west end of Dallas to the east end.

  1. Explore the Delbert Hunter Arboretum.

The Delbert Hunter Arboretum and Botanic Garden is one of Dallas’ hidden gems. Nestled against Rickreall Creek, the arboretum serves as a living museum of native plants. It showcases many species of plants and trees, including high-desert plants, rare shrubs, and flowers. With several walking paths and benches throughout, the arboretum is a perfect place to connect with nature.

  1. Visit Oregon Wine Country.

Polk County is known for expansive vineyards and delicious wines, and Dallas is no exception. There are a handful of wineries located just minutes outside of the downtown area. Take in sweeping valley views at Van Duzer Vineyards, visit one of Namaste Vineyards’ tow tasting rooms or taste wine (and grapeseed oil) at Chateau Bianca Winery.

For a truly unique wine experience, schedule a visit at Illahe Vineyards. The winery strives to make wine as naturally as possible and uses many historical winemaking techniques. Some of the wines are made entirely by hand, without electricity or modern machines!

  1. Bring the kids.

If you’re traveling with children, you’ll want to see what is playing at the Dallas Cinema. Although its undergone a series of name changes, the theater first opened in 1949. It only has one screen, but it shows affordable movies throughout the week.

The entire family can also enjoy the Dallas Aquatic Center. Open for lap and recreational swimming, it features five pools, a waterslide and a spray fountain. The center also offers dedicated times for individuals with special needs, toddlers and adults-only swims.

  1. Learn about nature at the wildlife refuge.

Just shy of 2,500 acres, Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge is home to a wide variety of wildlife and plants. The refuge features extensive croplands, wetlands and woodlands, making it an ideal habitat for wintering Canada geese, black-tailed deer and the rare, endangered butterfly known as Fender’s blue.

There are also miles of dirt trails for visitors to hike, viewing platforms and information kiosks.

CASA “Fore” The Kids Golf Tournament

In 1977, Judge David Soukup of Seattle realized that there was no one in the courtroom whose only job was to provide a voice for the child. He was consumed by the fact that very little information was provided about the child and didn’t know if he was doing the best job he could. He believed that volunteers, properly trained, could speak for the children and give judges better insight into the facts pertaining to the child. Through his efforts the first volunteer guardian “ad litem” program was established, which later became known as CASA.

The core components of Judge Soukup’s pilot program are essentially the same today: judges appoint selected, well-trained volunteers to represent the best interests of children in court. CASA volunteers typically handle just one or two cases at a time so they can provide in-depth, first-hand documented information to judges, attorneys, and social workers to assist in sound decision making.

In 1987, the Oregon Legislature mandated that all abused and neglected children in Oregon should have a CASA and two pilot programs were started. This mandate requires the CASA to investigate, advocate, facilitate and negotiate, and monitor.

Through volunteers, CASA of Polk County advocates for abused and neglected children who need safe and permanent homes. CASA volunteers are a caring and consistent adult presence for abused and neglected children facing multiple challenges, a CASA volunteer may be the one constant adult presence in their lives. Advocates stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home.

CASA programs use effective evidence-based practices to help support these children. Independent studies have established that a child with a CASA volunteer is more likely to find a safe and permanent home; more likely to be adopted; half as likely to re-enter foster care; and substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care than children without a CASA volunteer.

CASA is preparing for their 3rd Annual CASA of Polk County Golf Tournament “Fore” Kids. All proceeds for the event will go to the children that CASA works with. It will take place at Cross Creek Golf Course on Saturday, June 30th. Putting contests will start at 7 am, and tee time will kick off at 8 am. We hope that even if you don’t play you will come down to support the event, the players, and the kids.

National Golf Day

Dallas is home to an exquisite golf course, Cross Creek Golf Course. Located right outside of town on the Oregon 22 we would like to take a moment to fully appreciate them.

Cross Creek Golf Course is a beautiful and challenging 18 hole course and driving range that combines traditional as well as links-style golf. At 6900 yards the course is designed to be a relaxing and pleasurable experience; whether you are a beginner or a professional. NW Golf Guys named Cross Creek Golf Course number one in the Willamette Valley in both 2012 and in 2013. They have kept that reputation growing by also becoming one of the most popular courses in the valley; known for as a premier for daily fee golf experiences.

They pride themselves on being known as a friendly family oriented golf course and invite their customers to host special events and golf tournaments. They are open year-round to the public though they encourage calling ahead in order to keep wait times minimal.

In an effort to stay up to date with current tournament rules Cross Creek is under revision. This will be the most major revision of the rules for more than 20 years. As the process is still underway and exact changes have not been decided yet they are not yet ready to announce all of them. If you are interested in seeing what revisions they are looking at they have put together a video on their website taking a look at the five most important rule changes.

Cross Creek is also preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary on May 12th and will be hosting a tournament if you are interested in attending. We encourage you to go and support a local landmark!

“Greens are in great shape and have interesting contours. Good course for a trip to the coast, or a day trip from the valley or Salem. Very helpful and friendly staff.”

“The 18 hole course is situated in a rural country setting, very quiet and very open. The course is set up for all levels of ability with 4 different tee boxes. The women’s tees are very generous which helped with the pace of play. Take a nice drive out of the city and locate Cross Creek and give it a try, well worth the drive!”