Moscow, Idaho: A Hip College Town Worth a Visit

Welcome to Moscow Idaho.
Welcome to Moscow Idaho.

Moscow, Idaho, a Liberal hole in the Donut

By Lindsay Redifer

Where? Located about an hour away from Spokane, Washington in the heart of Idaho’s mountains.

Moscow is nestled in the heart of some of Idaho’s most scenic mountains. It overlooks rolling hills and enjoys some of the most beautiful sunsets in the northwest. Moscow is a very liberal community, often honored by visiting authors, festivals, and plenty of local talent.

Every year new musical groups form and more local writers are published. Moscow is home to the University of Idaho, the host of the annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Lionel Hampton himself used to come before he passed away in 2002. Enjoy hundreds of jazz musicians young and old who perform for the students of the UI and their guests. There are also workshops, jam sessions, and opportunities to meet all of the musicians while they’re off the stage.


Perhaps the best reason to visit Moscow, ID is the people. Moscow’s main focus is the community, making the locals some of the friendliest people in the West.


Moscow is in bloom in the spring. This is a great time of year to visit the campus, see student artwork, and traverse the streets of downtown. February is our annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. This is an exciting time to be a part of the Moscow community. Our summers are balmy and breezy. Stay a weekend or a month, either way, you’ll hate to leave.


By Plane
Planes fly into both Lewiston, Idaho, (fifteen minutes away), and Spokane, Washington, (one hour away). From there you can rent a car or take a bus!

By Car
You can drive to Moscow, Idaho if you live in one of the neighboring states.

Getting Around

Moscow is a great town to walk or ride your bike in. Feel free to drive, but keep in mind that everything is close together so hardly any time is lost during a leisurely walk. If you want to go beyond Moscow you can ride the commuter bus to Pullman, (an eight-mile drive), and back again. If you have a student with you, you ride for free.


Downtown Moscow is filled with great food and lots of curio shops. Also, every Saturday morning in downtown’s Friendship Square is an authentic Farmer’s Market. There one can find fresh vegetables, ethnic jewelry, fresh bread, and live entertainment. A visit to the Jazz Festival ensures hundreds of attractions every day. Just pick up a program and choose from concerts, speeches, intimate performances, and workshops.


All of Moscow is a little off-beat, but there are still extremes worth trying out. There are also centers of worship for Buddhists, Baha’i, Mormons, Christian Scientists, and Hindus. Just outside of Moscow in a town called Genesee is a Tao hermitage that is open during the Spring and Summer (call ahead).


Stop by the Moscow Information Center on Main Street for any information about the town. Also, don’t hesitate to ask one of the natives for any advice or directions.


The Moscow Yoga Center holds lessons for dance, yoga, NIA, and Ecstatic Dance. Meditation is also taught and the local practitioners of the Sufi faith hold their Dances of Universal Peace there. The more adventurous travelers might want to try camping on Moscow Mountain. There are many great sites and it’s a short drive from town.

Moscow, Idaho
Moscow, Idaho


There are lodgings at the University Inn and several other small hotels. Trailers and motorhomes are welcome as well.


There’s plenty to choose from as far as food in Moscow. Basilio’s offers traditional Italian, seafood, and steak at reasonable prices. The Pita Pit is a favorite among students for fast, healthy food and late hours. Here are reviews of the restaurants in Moscow from TripAdvisor.

Mikey’s Gyros offers exceptional Greek food and live performances are guaranteed on Thursday or Friday nights. The Moscow Food Co-Op recently opened a small cafe for those wanting natural, vegetarian food.


The entertainment in Moscow is often given by visiting artists. However, there is almost always a visiting artist in town. Operas, African dance troops, international symphonies, and Broadway acting troops are never far away.

Also, don’t miss some of the local actors. The UI campus has several theaters and lots of performances year-round of locally written and Broadway plays. Check out the annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in February!


Book People, a unique bookstore in Moscow, Idaho.
Book People, a unique bookstore in Moscow, Idaho.

One of the most popular places in town is the small bookstore named Book People. Here one can relax with a magazine and a cup of coffee, search for rare books or enjoy a poetry reading.

Downtown offers some of the most diverse shopping. With the Farmer’s Market, antique shops, bookstores, coffee shops, and music stores, it has plenty to offer any visitor.

Moscow also has the Palouse Mall, which is connected to a Michael’s, Jo-Ann’s Fabric, a Rite-Aid, and a Hastings.

Money is not anything worth stressing over in Moscow. The most expensive meal in town is about $20.00 and the cheapest is around $4.00. Remember that Moscow is a college town so prices tend to be more than reasonable.

Moscow’s gems often seem hidden, but don’t be afraid to go digging for them. Keep your eyes open for flyers announcing events, ads in the paper, and posters all around town. City of Moscow Moscow Chamber of Commerce

University of Idaho

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3 thoughts on “Moscow, Idaho: A Hip College Town Worth a Visit

  1. who writes these articles 🤣🤣 this guy has never been here and don’t bother coming, we don’t want you here anyways 🤣

  2. What the hell, it seems like you haven’t been to Moscow before. We don’t have any of those restaurants and Mingles is not a recommendation for food. It’s a wonderful town but this looks to be written by someone who has no idea about this place.

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