Pullman Washington, the home of Washington State University, embodies everything that’s great about Washington State. The abundant scenery, locally made wine, endless fairways, and good food are easy to find and and easy to love in this town in southeastern Washington. Pullman is an integral part of the Palouse, a region that crosses into Idaho and Oregon, known for its agricultural bounty. Washington State University is one of two land grant universities in the region and has been a part of the community for more than a century. The other, the University of Idaho, is just across the border in Moscow.
When the Oregon Trail carried pioneers west, the verdant land along the Palouse River was appealing to some of the settlers. By 1881, this area had a post office and a name—Three Forks. Five years later, the town was officially incorporated as Pullman, named for George Pullman of Pullman Car fame. In 1890, the state legislature agreed to create the land grant college, but did not decide on place. City leaders of Pullman Washington immediately sprung into action, letting the legislature know about their growing little town. By January 1892, the first students arrived and started their studies. From there, the university became a leader in both agricultural and scientific education. Pullman grew up, too, offering myriad cultural and tourism opportunities.
Washington State University
Washington State University Image: tombofthetominator (flickr)
The state’s first public university may best be known by its nickname—Wazzu. More than 20,000 students attend classes at the Pullman campus, and thousands more come to experience its culture, cheer on the Cougars, and embark on tours. Even if your college days are long behind you, its easy to enjoy the energetic atmosphere of a college town.
On campus, you’ll have the chance to visit several museums. WSU’s Museum of Art has a diverse collection, including pieces created by students and faculty, glass made in the Pacific Northwest, and amazing paintings. Art spreads beyond the walls of the museum with a large collection of bronze sculptures spread throughout the campus, also home to Charles R. Conner Museum of Natural History, Museum of Anthropology, a mineral display, herbarium, and a textile collection. The calendar of events is packed full with lectures, concerts, and exciting sporting events. If you haven’t had enough of the college atmosphere, you could always cross over the border and check out what’s happening at the University of Idaho.
While the Wazzu is the center of life in Pullman Washington, it’s just the beginning of the fun things to do. In August, the community gathers to celebrate the local bounty with the National Lentil Festival featuring plenty of tasty vegetarian food accompanied by live music and fun events. The town is also home to several places to connect with nature, including the delightful Iris Test Garden and Palouse Falls State Park. Golf is also a favorite pastime for Pullman’s residents and visitors who want to have some fun in the great outdoors. Five courses are located within 15 miles of the city center, counting a course across the border in Moscow. If you’re interested in good wine, you’ll be glad to know that several of Pullman’s wineries are open for tastings and tours. With a short drive to Wall Walla along the Palouse Scenic Byway, you’ll have even more wineries open to enjoy.
Pullman Washington Hotels & Lodging
Another benefit of a college town is a good lodging scene. Parents, visiting scholars, and other visitors need a place to stay for the night, and all have plenty of choices. Pullman itself is home to a Holiday Inn Express, along with some locally owned properties within five miles of campus. When you broaden the search out to Moscow, you have even more options for overnight accommodations, whether you’re looking for budget hotels or a nice hotel.
Top image: jshontz (flickr)