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Pullman, Washington and Moscow, Idaho

The Twin College Towns of Moscow and Pullman Offer Something for Everyone.

Nestled in the beautiful Palouse farmland is a cultural oasis with a thriving food scene (much of it sourced from local farms and ranches), indie shops, music and theater — to say nothing of the sporting events. Whether you’re headed this way to visit Washington State University or the University of Idaho, seeking seasonal fun or looking for a flavorful and scenic gateway between Washington state and northern Idaho, Moscow/Pullman is a Northwest gem.

Memorial Gymnasium and the University of Idaho water tower are landmarks of the Moscow, Idaho college campus.
Memorial Gymnasium and the University of Idaho water tower are campus landmarks in Moscow, Idaho. The photo is by Knowlesgallery / iStock.com.

Recreation

Don’t miss the University of Idaho Arboretum & Botanical Garden, which is organized into regions of the world and is filled with benches and water features built for contemplation. The sweet scent of lilac fills the air in May when the arboretum’s more than 100 varieties begin to bloom. The approximately 750 hosta plants in the display garden — recognized by the American Hosta Society — are best from May through September, setting the stage for fall foliage. And did you know you can call a few days ahead to inquire about a personal tour?

Idler’s Rest Nature Preserve is the perfect place for a hike with the kids in an idyllic woods setting. Head up Moscow Mountain for the best views and trails for a variety of experience levels. Still not tired? Hit the Palouse Recreation Trails, more than 38 miles of pavement to skate, walk, run, stroll or bike to your heart’s content in a beautiful setting.

Or catch a show at the U of I, WSU, Pullman Civic Theatre or Regional Theatre of the Palouse. Stop in to the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre for live theater, films, concerts, lectures and even Saturday morning cartoons from June through September. Wander through the 1886 McConnell Mansion (home to the historic society) and step into the past with help from exhibits and docents, but be sure to check the tour schedule in advance.

Farmers market vendors line Main Street in Moscow, Idaho
Farmers market vendors line Main Street in Moscow, Idaho. The photo is courtesy of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce.

Rambling

A walk down Moscow’s Main Street could keep you busy for hours browsing in its shops. Pullman and Moscow both have thriving farmers markets filled with the bounty of the region, including huckleberries during picking season. If you’re not there on market day, don’t miss the Moscow Food Co-Op for a snack and some local produce.

On your way in and out of Moscow, take in stunning landscapes along the Palouse Scenic Byway in all months. Depending on the route and time of year, you might see colorful crops, old barns, snowy scenes and dramatic weather. But stick to paved highways instead of dirt roads when conditions are wet and wintery, and be prepared for poor cell phone coverage between towns.

Plan a detour to Steptoe Butte State Park Heritage Site, drive the spiraling road up to the 3,612-foot summit overlooking the Palouse and explore the 168-acre day-use park, home to some of the oldest rock in the Pacific Northwest.

–Written by Cara Strickland, last updated in September 2022.

Interested in planning your next road trip with AAA Washington? Call your travel agent directly or your nearest AAA store to get pro tips, TripTik maps, and more. Find more Pacific Northwest scenic drives and road trips.

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