A couple of years ago, we spent the weekend in Dallas, Oregon and loved it. The town had a warm, small-town feel and the people we talked to were genuine and friendly. One of the things that impressed me about this town is that as small as it is, it offers big town amenities for their kids. These include a first-class swim center and a stellar skate park. Several months after we visited Dallas, I took my 4-H girls to the Dallas Aquatic Center for a team building outing and we all had a ball. This swim center has five pools a waterslide and a spray fountain. One of the pools has bathtub-warm water where older people, but not limited to just them, can hang out, soak, and relax. This is where I, as well as some of my girls, spent a majority of our time. Just writing about this makes me want to pack them up and go there again. We live about 60 miles from Dallas, but we had so much fun during our last visit, that the trip will be worth it.
I have lived in several small towns in Oregon, where the kids are pretty much over-looked. I’m impressed that a town that has not quite 17,000 people, has invested serious money for the benefit of their kids. The swim center and skate park rival those in much larger towns. For example, the Clackamas Swim Center in Milwaukie and the skate parks in Portland and Beaverton. This says much about Dallas and shows that they care about the future of their town.
The people in Dallas are proud of their history and the efforts they’ve made to make this a great town to live in. According to the Salem Travel Website, almost every building in the core of downtown Dallas was built between 1880 and 1910. Their courthouse is one of the oldest still used in Oregon. You won’t find big-name stores in Dallas, but you will find locally owned restaurants and shops surrounding the courthouse.
While enjoying Dallas, you will want to visit the cinema which offers affordable movies throughout the week. Don’t forget to include your kids. This movie house has only one screen and was first opened in 1949.
If you have time, visit some of the parks, the biggest being Dallas City Park which covers 35 acres and includes a Japanese garden, five basketball courts, BBQ pits, horseshoe pits, two playground areas, a suspension bridge, an 18-hole disc golf course and a creek with a swimming hole.
Dallas is located in the Willamette Valley with an easy 15-mile commute to Salem and is only 60 miles from Portland. Just minutes away from the downtown area are several vineyards, which include Van Duzer, Namaste, Illahe and Chateau Bianca Wineries.
Like all towns in the Willamette Valley, Dallas has fairly dry summers, and typically rains from November to February. Snow is rare but when we get some, it is wet. I thought people in the valley were silly when I read that things can shut down with an inch of snow. I came from Central Oregon, where they can get a couple of feet of snow and things go on as normal. The difference is, Central Oregon snow is dry, whereas valley snow is wet and slick. It seldom snows here, but just know that it rains heavily in the winter. Keep in mind that an inch of rain in 24-hours is considered heavy.
If I were ever to move, this would be at the top of my list of places to consider.
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