Moscow, Idaho, is right on the border of Washington and is a great place to get set up for your road trip or to wind it down in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve been to Moscow a couple of times now. Both times, we stayed there as a way to break up the trip so that we didn’t have ten hours in the car.
This last time, we ended up in Moscow after our ski trip in North Idaho. Moscow is like a big city, compared to where we were. But really, it’s just a small college town with a killer Main Street with lots of fun restaurants and shopping for outdoor adventures (kayaking, biking, climbing).
Where to Stay in Moscow, Idaho
The University of Idaho is in Moscow and just a short, ten minute drive away is Washington State University in Pullman. We stayed at the Best Western Plus University Inn right across the street from the U of I. For our family, it was perfect: centrally located, clean (!), big rooms and with breakfast included and a pool and Jacuzzi, we were pretty happy that we decided to take our children there. For my kids, any hotel with a pool and Jacuzzi is like staying at the Four Seasons. And this Jacuzzi was not only clean, it was super hot. (Nothing worse than an almost-hot-enough Jacuzzi.)
The hotel is undergoing renovations that will add two elevators, more meeting rooms and each room is getting updated, including furniture, fixtures and equipment. The renovation should be complete by July 2014.
What to Do in Moscow, Idaho
A highlight of staying near a university is that there is so much going on. We drove over to WSU (Wazoo) and went to the university’s art museum with the kids. They were mildly happy. They wanted to stay in the student union building and play video games.
Back in Moscow, just a two minute drive from the hotel was the UI Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Sure, we were a few weeks early from the big bang of Spring in the garden, but it was still stunning and a great family activity. (A less great family activity, but interesting for my husband and me was a lecture about climate change at the U of I. Yeah, we dragged the kids there and they were pretty unhappy, but getting some intellectual stimulation was almost worth it — had my kids not laid down at the back of the lecture hall.)
What to Eat in Moscow, Idaho
If you are snobby about your food (tough gig in Idaho), while in Moscow, make sure to stop at the Moscow Food Coop. I think we were there four times in two days: for coffee and snacks, to stock up on some groceries for our room, for dinner one night and then for more snacks for the road. The food is fresh, local, much of it baked in the store and the coffee was divine. The night we had dinner there was easily the best of our trip: kids had BLTs and we ate from the abundant salad bar. Simple pleasures that people in bigger cities take for granted.
If you’re skiing, kayaking, biking or climbing in the Pacific Northwest, put Moscow (pronounced “mahs-go”) on your travel map. The drive back to Boise is stunning…
Elizabeth Rodgers is an avid traveler, award-winning filmmaker and Los Angeles native who lives in Boise, Idaho. She is also someone who never thought in a million years that she would live in a place like Boise… and she loves it.