Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Moscow, ID

  • Published 2022/10/10

At a glance, Moscow is a scenic city sitting right along the Washington border within Idaho’s wondrous and unparalleled beauty.

The state’s capital received admiration as “The Heart of the Arts,” because it serves not just as the county seat and biggest city of Latah County but also as a hub of culture throughout all of its communities.

Moscow is also widely recognized for the University of Idaho, the state’s land-grant institution.

Although predominantly known for its presence as a center of agriculture, Moscow thrives because it provides educational opportunities widely available to its residents and those in surrounding areas.

The city of Moscow has had three different names throughout its past: it once went by the name Hog Heaven, then Paradise Valley, and finally Moscow.

Today, the city is home to more than 25 thousand residents and covers a total land area of 6.85 square miles.

Moscow celebrates their annual Light Up the Season holiday event, featuring a parade of decorated floats, downtown tree lighting, and more.

There’s also the Rendezvous in the Park concert series held every third weekend in July that features popular musical acts.

When you come over to Moscow, Idaho, there is always the chance to explore endless entertainment options.

If you’re traveling to Moscow and wondering what to do, below are the 20 best things to do in Moscow, Idaho.

Check Out the McConnell Mansion

Exterior of the McConnell mansion

Roger Lew, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located at 110 South Adams Street in Moscow, Idaho, the historic McConnell Mansion in the heart of Moscow’s historic neighborhood is a charming mansion full of history and stories.

Inside, you’ll experience the most important highlights of the building in various periods.

Idaho Governor William J. McConnell, also a prominent Republican and leading merchant, built the mansion in 1886.

Today, it is open to the public as a museum that you can tour.

Here, you’ll see features like the main floor’s historic rooms specifically crafted to look like they’re from different times over 100 years ago.

Exterior side view of the mcconnell mansion

Apstrinka, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It features the most pristine and exquisitely detailed master bedroom you’ve ever seen, restored to its original glory.

There are exhibits of hands-on activities for visitors that pertain to local history.

McConnell Mansion has a backyard garden where they serve refreshments with notes designed by local artists stocked in a wide array of themed cards.

They’re available at the Museum Store, which is also staffed by a team of enthusiastic volunteers.

Get Your Laps in Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center

When the weather starts to get a little warm, sometimes you simply have to cool off to keep any stress at bay.

Take a trip down to Moscow and hit up Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center, which is open almost all year round.

The Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center is home to a 25-yard, six-lane pool, which is perfect for family members looking for a fun way to bond and get fit.

Follow the signs through the alleys of N Mountain View Road and enjoy all that this cozy nook has in store for you—with fair warning, you can never visit just once!

Kids and parents are sure to love this activity center and its special toddler area, featuring tumble buckets, a small lazy river, a toddler-friendly slide, big kid slides, and interactive equipment.

This awesome facility offers free Wi-Fi, lounge chairs, picnic tables, barbecues, and a full-service concession area.

Experience a Unique Night of Music at Rendezvous in the Park

Moscow is definitely the right place to be if you’re looking for three days of music and art.

The team behind Rendezvous includes volunteers who are brought together by a love of music and art, combined with a desire to bring people together to share their ideas and creativity.

The music starts at around late afternoon, but it’s worth getting there early enough to enjoy open-air performances every night before then.

The Moscow area has many attractions for visitors to quickly fill their three-day stay before the festivities begin.

You can spend an hour heading down historic Main Street, just two blocks from East City Park, or visit one of the eateries or cafés.

Walk around Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Open field at Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Mark Wagner, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Nestled in the University of Idaho’s lush, the landscaped campus is a 63-acre arboretum bursting with perfectly pruned trees and shrubs, a stunning variety of flowers, and delicate grasses waving in the warm breeze.

Because this pristine garden is home to several diverse species of birds, you could even say it’s a bird watcher’s paradise.

Spreading across the south of the President’s home on Nez Perce Drive, this stretch of land may be a somewhat hidden treasure to those who don’t make it down to this part of campus regularly.

A pond and green trees at Arboretum & Botanical Garden

cheryl.reed, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

But it definitely stands out as one notable facet among all the countless others that make up this stunning public land-grant research university.

The Arboretum & Botanical Garden is a perfect place for those who are quite literally “green-thumbed.”

This collection of outdoors museums serves as the best location if you desire to plant a garden, grow flowers, and study other sorts of plants native to the Inland Pacific Northwest.

As an outdoor botanical institution, it will provide students and other individuals involved in this field with educational resources to learn more about plants, their differences, and most importantly, their origins.

The Arboretum is open every day, complete with free admission, ample parking, and a perfect place to work on homework with lovely nature scenes flooding in through your windows.

Witness the “Winter Wonderland Tree” Light Up in the Light Up the Season Festival

Moscow is a winter wonderland at the annual Light Up The Season.

Starting in mid-December, this colorful holiday celebration lights up the downtown area of Moscow in the evening.

Visitors and locals come to this event to tour through the city on lighted floats that celebrate the season and surround themselves with the festive atmosphere in Friendship Square and Main Street.

The “Winter Wonderland Tree” in the Friendship Square is lit after the countdown begins, and it stays glowing for a week.

The Christmas night parade features more than 30 floats resembling carolers following a tall, twinkling tree decorated in the icy cold style of winter.

Learn about Appaloosas at Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center

A small rural museum in Moscow, Idaho, Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center is dedicated to preserving Appaloosa heritage through education and exhibits.

The Appaloosa horse is iconic in more ways than one because it’s not just well-known for its spotted coat, but it also hails from the region known as the Palouse.

What better way to emphasize that than having a museum dedicated to preserving and promoting the area’s legacy?

This institution stands proudly right on the Washington/Idaho state line.

The museum highlights all things related to Appaloosas, from their spotty history to their many distinctive coat patterns and even the crucial role they once played among the Nez Perce people.

Display cases show off interesting objects, like saddles, Native American artifacts, and black and white photography and showcase a hands-on exhibit to keep children engaging while they learn alongside theater performances and an expansive library.

The museum also offers many great features, including a Gift Shop, a Picnic Area, and Davis-Gillman Activity Center.

Stroll along Latah Trail

There exists a gorgeous, bike-friendly trail in the state of Idaho that provides a restful and recreational route for cyclists to travel.

Although this trail is officially marked and constructed by the city, it is not restricted to locals only: anyone can enjoy the Latah Trail!

Cyclists, runners, and skaters, among other trailblazers, utilize this 22-mile stretch of paved path, which lies in wait for you at the west end to start your journey starting from between Moscow, Idaho and Troy.

Along Highway 8 to the east lies the Palouse River and its valleys, which offer a less hostile view of the surrounding landscape.

The trail parallels an abandoned railroad grade, accompanying it while crossing numerous tributaries.

Farmlands and forests give way to waterfalls and bluffs, providing a stunning panorama along the way.

This is why so many people seek this trail out for hiking every year!

Stop by Colter’s Creek Winery for an Afternoon Wine Tasting

Colter Creek winery is a local attraction at 215 S Main St #2807, Moscow, Idaho, offering some of the finest wines.

As they say, they’re here to exceed visitors’ expectations by combining fine wine and service, which is one of the reasons why people keep coming back to them over and over again.

And the wine-loving knowledgeable owners also provide great recommendations, a fun atmosphere, and good conversation all night.

They also offer private backroom bookings for classes, meetings, etc., to residents who desire to work in a relaxing environment.

In addition, next door is Intrigue, an urban lounge that features eclectic artistry and locally crafted ambiance.

If you ever find yourself in Moscow, stop by Colter’s Creek for an afternoon tasting and some excellent snacks.

Shop till You Drop at Moscow Farmers’ Market

Dresses and flowers at moscow's farmers' market

Jeremy Segrott from Cardiff, Wales, UK, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

People have been gathering at the Moscow Farmers Market for over forty years – and with good reason!

The market offers fresh, healthy, locally grown produce and live local music every Saturday from May to October.

The Moscow Farmers Market has been an essential part of the local community and endearing addition to Moscow’s personality.

As a farmer’s market that derives its popularity not only from high-quality products but also warm and friendly interactions between vendors and customers, this Saturday event features over 60 vendors offering everything, from freshly harvested produce to hand-picked herbs.

People walking around the farmers' maket

Jeremy Segrott from Cardiff, Wales, UK, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

And all that while providing opportunities for local farmers and artisans to interact directly with visitors in such a way that cultivates relationships continually evolving over time.

Moscow Farmers’ Market welcomes the public to an open-air market where attendees can expect to find farmed and/or created (e.g., wine, crops, cheese, meat) foods, artisans pieces, and traditional recipe cuisine.

This venue is meant to support sustainable practices as participants are encouraged to share their skills with others.

Fresh produce at Moscow Farmers’ Market

rusty426 /

Go on an Epic Bike Ride with Fondo on the Palouse

Fondo on the Palouse is a group of biking enthusiasts who like to offer cyclists of all abilities fun and exciting routes through the Palouse hills.

Four different trail paths offer something for anyone, and they begin at Moscow, Idaho, before passing through local communities like Deary, Troy, Princeton, Palouse, Colfax, and Potlatch.

If you choose to partake in any of Fondo’s four biking events using any type of bike, whether it be mountain or road, you can enjoy up to 100 miles in distance.

The Family Fondo is a great ride for the whole family with a 15-mile course that runs through Moscow and Troy, Idaho counties while the Latah / Chipman Fondo offers an option for 50-mile bike rides that are free of traffic but offers views of some of the breathtaking sceneries through Idaho’s rich agricultural landscape.

The Moscow Fondo is a 100-mile track, starting from Moscow, Idaho, and then passing through Troy, then through Deary, then Princeton, and then through Potlatch, taking the final leg to Colfax Washington near Pullman where you return back to Moscow.

Hit the Ice at Palouse Ice Rink

Ice time is almost every hour at this friendly outdoor rink.

If you’re in Moscow and want a fun place where you can do ice skating, then Palouse Ice Rink is the place to go!

The view right now is a little aircraft-hangar esque but don’t let that put you off—the interesting shape it gives to anyone who’s watching the game has proved popular with children and adults alike.

They hold special sessions for different age groups throughout the week and also make sure everyone can get a turn on the ice through their flexible scheduling policy.

Just remember—whether it’s a practice or a public session, dress warmly!

Hockey games tend to get pretty rowdy, so keep your head up and stick with your team no matter what.

Take Part in the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival

A band posing for a photo at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival

Dr. Andrea Bruce, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For more than 60 years, Lionel Hampton has been a driving force in shaping jazz today.

Now the prestigious University of Idaho is keeping his spirit alive with the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, where students and professionals alike come together to celebrate this great music and honor one of its most influential legends.

Cooperating with a special team from “I Love Jazz Radio,” you’ll get to enjoy more than 400 student performances over the course of four days.

The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival also features competitions for high school bands, university ensembles, and nearly 100 workshops.

There are also clinics and special events like a parade through Moscow featuring an all-star cast made up of some of the world’s most talented young players paired with renowned instructors for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

This annual festival of music takes place on the campus of the University of Idaho in February, making it the largest winter jazz festival west of the Mississippi.

So whether you’re into swing, bebop, or fusion, there’s something special for everyone to enjoy in this historic festival!

Attend Moscow Artwalk to Celebrate Moscow’s Creative Community

With its community of artists, musicians, and other creative types, the city of Moscow is a true hotbed of creativity.

The local community hosts an extravagant cultural event every third Thursday of each month that excites people from all over the country and world.

Moscow Artwalk is a great initiative and has been raising much-needed attention to the arts around the region.

It encourages art creation, appreciation among the public, and collaboration for artists.

There are different themed walks every month, along with other arts-related activities such as music, performance art, and food.

Since their inaugural celebration in 2004, regional artists have availed themselves of the varied distractions that the celebrations offer.

Play Outdoor Games at Ghormley Park

Ghormley Park is a fantastic 10.54-acre recreation area set on the corner of Moscow Idaho’s 3rd Street and Home Street.

This lovely recreation space makes it easy for those who have children or dogs to enjoy the family side of the park and for teens and young adults to play basketball, pickleball, tennis, or softball.

The playgrounds are available for use on a first-come, first-served basis, and mature trees make the area look extra beautiful.

Neighbors gather at this park to cook out on the barbecue grills for anyone who enjoys grilling up some food at their picnic spot.

If you’re new to the area or just want to relax with family and friends over some leisurely friendly games, this gem will not disappoint!

See Phenomenal Shows at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre

As Moscow’s premier historic performing arts venue, downtown cinema, and cultural community hub, Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre hosts and produces high-quality dramatic and comedic live theatre pieces for the Palouse people and those who visit the region.

The Kenworthy theatre stands in Moscow’s city center, dominating the view between the buildings’ ornate façades.

Opening as both a movie theatre and a music hall in 1908, it later became a playhouse in 1926.

The original Kenworthy Theatre was a port of call in the late 19th century. Filled with vaudeville and dramatic performances, plays, operas, and silent films, the stage beckoned the attention of many.

In 1928, the theatre was renovated to include more space, taking twenty-four feet south.

Twenty years later in 1949 came renovations to include a larger marquee and an extended terracotta tile facade.

Admire the Artworks at Third Street Gallery

The Third Street Gallery is an art gallery located in the center of Moscow.

The gallery presents a curatorial perspective accessible to all cultures and creative works while showcasing artworks in various media, areas of study, and materials.

They highlight the creations of renowned and up-and-coming manufacturers from the Palouse and the greater Inland Northwest, promoting the region’s artistic quality in a well-liked public venue.

The Third Street Gallery primarily features artworks inside Moscow City Hall’s third and second stories.

The Moscow Federal Building was the previous name of the structure, which architect James Knox Taylor created in 1911.

Since it brings works of art to the core of public life within the City of Moscow, the Third Street Gallery is a crucial component of this structure.

Drink a Refreshing Beer at Moscow Brewing Company

A modest brewery named Moscow Brewing Company is situated in the lovely city of Moscow, Idaho.

Moscow is a picturesque hamlet with origins reaching back to the mid-1800s, set among the gently undulating hills and lush fields of wheat and barley.

You will discover the refreshing beer and the warm ambiance as soon as you enter Moscow Brewing Company.

Visit them for live entertainment on the terrace throughout the summer, or unwind into your weekend with one of their numerous beer events.

You can meet friends while you enjoy a day at their cozy taproom in North Moscow.

See the Weekly Arrivals at Essential Art Gallery & Fine Gifts

Since its founding in 1992, Essential Glass Works has participated in wholesale and art fairs to market its products.

They took the opportunity to grow and transform into a studio and gallery as their studio gained prominence.

By 2013, Essential Glass Works had significantly increased the number of high-caliber artists whose work was included in their collection, some of which they had met through art exhibitions over the seasons.

Since changing their name to Essential Art Gallery & Fine Gifts, you can expect to see often rotating window displays and weekly arrivals of new artwork from across the nation.

In all the pieces they chose for their exhibition, they stayed true to their fun yet exquisite aesthetic.

Enjoy a Game with Friends at the University of Idaho Golf Course

The renowned University of Idaho Golf Course is set among the Palouse’s undulating hills.

Their golf course, built in 1936 and first designed by Francis L. James, has a colorful past and breathtaking surroundings.

A range of shots is available on the course’s difficult holes, from difficult lays to steep and deep greens.

Their expansive views and the university’s greenhouse combine to provide a setting that transforms from green to gold with the passing weather.

Residents collectively referred to as “Heartbreak Ridge” the final three difficult holes of the round.

Three par-5 holes on the front nine, situated on an open grassland course, offer scoring possibilities.

Order an Italian Meal at Maialina Pizzeria Napoletana

The opening of Maialina Pizzeria Napoletana at the beginning of 2013 resulted from a passion for wood-fired pizza produced in the tradition of Naples and the elegance and skill of handcrafted pasta.

Italian cuisine and wine are firmly rooted in tradition, heritage, and a fondness for land.

Their oven, which was shipped from Italy and is built of refractory Cotto brick and makes pizzas at 900 degrees, is the focal point of their kitchen.

Their lovely patio is shaped like a piazza overflowing with basil, herbs, tomatoes, corkscrew willow trees positioned in wine barrels, and guests’ joy during the summertime.

Their eggs, beef, and several weekly hand truckloads of vegetables come directly from farmlands in the Moscow region because they trust in the history and heritage of local agriculture and the value of eating healthfully and locally produced.

Final Thoughts

Traveling to Moscow should be a worthwhile experience.

Full of exciting things to do and places to visit, you’ll find out that Moscow is one of your favorite places (or at least it will be after some time visiting this beautiful city).

Remember this post if you’re going here because all the resources that you need are right here to help you make the most of this amazing city!

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