Moscow is a city in North Central Idaho with a population of around 22,000 people, an agricultural center and the home of the University of Idaho. The surrounding area is generally referred to as the Moscow-Pullman area -- Pullman is a city in Washington, that is fairly symbiotic with Moscow. They are 8 miles apart.
Unlike the larger Idaho cities of Boise and Pocatello, which also have public universities but also characters distinct from their respective schools, you won't confuse Moscow for being anything other than a hard-core college town. Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the single dominant institution in the city in just about every respect. The presence of Washington State University in similarly college culture-intensive Pullman less than 10 miles (16 km) away only adds to that feel.
Moscow is in the heart of a region known as the Palouse, noted for its rolling hills. Once outside the city and the university's sphere of influence, agriculture becomes the driving force in daily life.
The closest airport is the Moscow/Pullman Regional Airport (PUW), 5 miles away. 33 miles away is the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport (LWS). 90 miles away is the Spokane International Airport (GEG). Cheapest in/out flights are often through the Spokane airport, which is served by more airlines and larger planes than Lewiston or Moscow/Pullman Regional Airports. Horizon/Alaska Air serve all three airports and sometimes you can find comparable rates to fly into the smaller airports and avoid the one and a half hour drive from Spokane.
US-95 and Highway 8 both cross through Moscow.
Bus travel used to be limited, but with a growing population of students and eco-friendly residents, it has grown to be a lot better. Bus services are run by the Wheatland Express with many stops on and off campus, which also features a shuttle between Moscow and Pullman. Cars are not required to get around Moscow, the town is fairly small and if you're willing to bike or walk, you can get almost anything done here. If you do need a car, there are car rental services available at the Airport, Budget (509)332-3511 and Hertz (509)332-4485, and in town (Ambassador Auto, 1-800-422-0297). Enterprise Car Rental (208-746-2878) is available if you fly into Lewiston.
There is a bike trail between Moscow and Pullman. Bicycles are a common mode of travel in summer, but not in winter, due to the colder, wet weather. In the summer, it is very common for residents to bike-commute back and forth to work between Moscow and Pullman. There is also a bike trail between Moscow and Troy, to the East.
There are, at any given time, two to three taxi services in Moscow. There is significant turnover as they go out of business.
Moscow is a pleasant town where a great deal of the population is made up of full-time or half-time students rather than full-time or half-time workers. Thusly most of the businesses in the area are adapted to cater to the students, or other visitors. It has a few points of interest.
- University of Idaho. The most notable landmark, the University of Idaho has a large campus that takes up a considerable portion of the town.
- Appaloosa Horse Museum, 2720 W. Pullman Rd, ☎ +1 882-5578 x279, fax: 882-8150, e-mail: email@example.com. Monday-Friday 10AM-5PM and Saturday 10AM-4PM. A museum dedicated to the spotted Appaloosa horses. Free but suggested donation is $2 per person or $4 per family.
- NRS. A premier river rafting clothing and equipment company.
- McConnell Mansion Museum. A mansion built in 1886, which is now a museum run by the Latah County Historical Society.
Moscow is fairly well located for outdoor activities.
- Hiking - There are various national forests within easy driving distance; including places like the Hoodoo mountains and Saint Joe national(?) forest. Hikers would be advised to be wary of the roads, as not all of them are easy to navigate for all vehicles (or even any vehicles). Forestry Service roads are often easier hikes than actual hiking trails. Be well prepared whenever hiking in Idaho.
- Skiing - Also available.
- Farmer's Market. During the summer months, a few parking lots near the town square are blocked off and reserved for use by locals who sign up to have a tent or stand there. Usually available are many kinds of produce, jams and honey, small crafts (including pottery, textiles, and jewelry), and chalk (for children to draw on the sidewalk with). There is also usually live music performed in the square. The exact selection varies.
- Lionel Hampton Jazz Fest. A local music festival.
- Mountain Biking - Moscow Mountain has a wide variety of mountain biking/hiking trails for a wide range of skill levels.
- Rails-to-Trails. The 9-mile paved Chipman Trail connects Moscow and Pullman, and is a favorite with bikers, joggers and roller bladers. The 13-mile (11+ paved, 1.6 gravel) Latah Trail connects Moscow and Troy, and snakes through wheat fields and pine groves.
There are various Vandal (University of Idaho local sports team) souvenirs available, as well as a good number of other goods. Some local stores sell gems at reasonable prices, for a more unique souvenir.
There are stores with hiking, biking, and other gear for outdoor activities; if you shop around.
There are a variety of restaurants, but many are chain stores. Restaurants serving food other than American, Mexican, Italian, or Chinese are harder to come by. National pizza and fast food chains are also present.
- Nectar Wine Bar and Restaurant, 6th & Main St, ☎ +1 208-882-5914. Dinner: M-Sa. Features fresh local ingredients, a rotating and updated wine list, artisan pizzas, baked mac n' cheese featuring cougar gold cheddar from WSU, and a very popular bacon-wrapped meatloaf. F-Sa are busy nights, reservations are suggested on those nights.
- Sangria Grille, Moscow-Pullman Highway, ☎ +1 208-882-2693. Located in a free standing building at the Palouse Mall. Sit-down restaurant. Chef owned and operated, Sangria Grille features a lengthy and diverse menu featuring items of South American, Asian, Spanish and American origin, as well as wine and beer. Average meal price is around 15 dollars a person including drink.
- LOCO GRINDZ, Main St (across from CJ's). Traditional Hawaiian plate lunch. Walk up counter almost never any wait. Closed Sunday/Monday
- Mikey's Gyros, Main St (downtown). Mikey's serves mainly Greek Gyros with many options. You can get other things like soups,salads, nachos and baklava, but don't expect a hamburger. A local staple with lines often stretching out the door at noon and six.
- Super China Buffet (Palouse Empire Mall). Mostly-Chinese and American food, all you can eat. They also have affordable take-out by the pound.
- Gambinos, 6th St. Has crisp crust pizza, deep dish pizza and pizza pot pie. They also offer pastas, soups, sandwiches and desserts.
- Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill. Pizza and pasta with lunch and dinner buffet and delivery.
- Pizza Perfection. Offers 2 for 1 pizza deal on carry-out orders.
- The Breakfast Club, Main St (Downtown). 6AM-2PM. Excellent quality, generous portions, and affordable breakfast and lunch. Staff is very friendly and service-oriented. Atmosphere congenial and relaxed.
- Patty's Mexican Kitchen, 6th St (by the U of I). Order-at-the-counter Mexican food. Famed for unbelievably spicy Barbed Wire Burrito, Fish Tacos and vegetarian tamales. They also cater with a special gimmick a 6' long party burrito served in a pine box.
- Wingers, HWY 8 (in front of Winco). Wingers serves the best wings in Moscow/Pullman as well as having a full menu and a bar.
- The Angry Bear. Heading east through Moscow towards Troy, The Angry Bear is next to HWY 8 in front of the East Side Mall. It is a Steak, Hamburger, beer and wine restaurant that gets a majority of business at happy hour. Average meal price about 20 dollars per person for a hamburger fries and a beer.
- La Casa Lopez, Main St (downtown heading south from HWY 8). Mexican food and full bar in a colorful atmosphere meant to mimic a plaza in quaint yet vibrant Mexican town. Lunch deals of around 6 dollars. Popular for their chicken en mole, bean dip served complimentary, and claim of the best margarita in town.
- San Miguel's Family Mexican Restaurant, North Main St (next to the Moscow Clinic). Delicious, attractively prepared, plentiful, reasonably priced (around ten dollars per person for fajitas), authentic (not Tex-Mex) Mexican food prepared any way you like. Noted for their 5 or 6 different homemade salsas. The tomatilla salsa, the cabbage salsa, ranchero salsa, made from several kinds of chillis they grow themselves, is the strongest. They have a full bar as well as being known for their Horchata, a sweet, non-alcoholic traditional beverage, made of ground almonds, sesame seeds, rice milk, barley or tigernuts.
- West of Paris, 403 S. Main St, ☎ +1 208-882-4279. This restaurant on Friendship Square offers French cuisine. The atmosphere is quiet, and does its best to create a comfortable atmosphere despite close quarters in the dining room. The chef, Francis Foucachon, is sure to greet you at your table during the evening. They offer entrees, cheeses, wines and desserts. Prices range from around 10 a person for lunch to around 20 a person at dinner.
Moscow has quite a variety of bars that cater primarily to the college students. Most of the bars are located downtown.
- The Corner Club. Featured in the February 2005 edition of Sports Illustrated as one of the best sports bars in the country. The Corner Club is one of Moscow's unofficial historic landmarks. They feature free peanut night on Wednesday and have excellent popcorn throughout the week. Beers are purchased in 32oz 'tubs' and are incredibly cheap. The Club, as it is referred to by most, has a shuffleboard table and outdoor seating for warm weather. It is most frequented by the Greek student population from the University of Idaho.
- Mingles. This is a billiard bar with lots of tables by the hour and two pay by the game ($.50). It also has a large screen tv and a couple smaller ones with seating areas. This bar was in the top 100 college bars in a special college issue of Playboy magazine. On Sundays they have penny pool (one cent per minute.$.60/hour), and Thursdays ladies get free pool (can be a group of guys and girls, as long as a girl pays). This bar is frequented more by the off-campus students, and serves a lunch/dinner menu until midnight 6 days a week and until eleven on Sunday as well as Sunday brunch.
- John's Alley, 114 E 6th St. Often referred to as "The Alley". It features live music, a dart board, a pool table and a shuffle board table.
- The Garden Lounge (corner of 3rd and Main). Open until 2 every night. The garden is a place used by local businessmen and professors as well as college students as a conversation den. Most popular for it's blue Monday deals where many mixed drinks and cocktails are priced at two dollars. and martini Thursday where a list of standard as well as unusual martinis are 3.00 each.
- Champions Grill and Bar (Across the street from the Garden). Open until 2 every night. A sports bar boasting a round bar entirely encircled with big screen televisions. Food should be made available by the end of April 2010. At the time of this the bar has been opened but the kitchen is still being installed and the bathrooms redone. Atmosphere seems to be in a mildly nevada casino theme though they don't permit gambling.
- CJ's Night Club, 112 North Main. D.Jed music and karaoke along with drink deals seem to be the draw to this location.
- Coeur d'Alene Ale House, 6th St (less than a quarter of a mile from the University of Idaho campus). Great place for a burger, sandwich, soup or one great beer. Food ranging from Southwest (grilled quesadillas) to Northeast (hearty clam chowder). The beer is hand crafted right in Couer d'Alene, Idaho. The Ale House hosts different specials every night of the week on their drinks, with most catering to their fine selection of beer. Tap-A-Keg-Tuesday is a must starting at 6PM with two different random kegs until they are empty and costs about .50 per pint and $5.00 for a pitcher (4 pints). Other specials include a Faculty Night for employees of the University of Idaho to Student Night for those students old enough to drink. Typically pints cost less than $2.50 during happy hour and at max $3.25 during non-specials.
- Best Western University Inn, 1516 Pullman Rd, ☎ +1 208-882-0550, toll-free: +1 800-325-8765. Higher prices for great location right by the mall. Prices go up during special events. Excellent accommodations. Has a pool.
- La Quinta Inn, 185 Warbonnet Dr, ☎ +1 208-882-5365. Lower prices but more out of the way. By Wal-mart and Applebees.
- Royal Motor Inn, 120 W. 6th St, ☎ +1 208-882-2581. 2 blocks form the university in the middle of downtown.
|Routes through Moscow|
|Cranbrook ← Coeur d'Alene ←||N S||→ Lewiston → Payette-Fruitland|
|Pullman ← becomes ←||W E||→ Ends in Elk River|