15 Best Things to Do in Murray, KY

15 Best Things to Do in Murray, KY
iStock.com / sshepard

Come to Murray, KY, and experience a different kind of adventure—one that is beyond your imagination.

This town is not your average tourist destination because what you can find here can’t be bottled up and taken home.

This southern town boasts warm and smiling people, impressing upon visitors hospitality and a welcoming vibe.

Several publications like USA Today and Rand McNally have named Murray, the seat of Calloway County, the Friendliest Small Town in America.

Its gastronomic offerings are among the best in the country, featuring a range of classic American comfort food to signature international dishes.

If you’re into beers and other brews, you will love the Hop Hound Brew Pub, one of the brewery hop stops in West Kentucky.

Not only that, but Murray is also the place for shopping, just as it is for outdoor adventures—a golf course, nursery, disc golf, and traditional golf are all here.

It’s also an excellent place for the arts, especially with the Murray Art Guild and the Playhouse in the Park.

Murray always has something for everyone in the family.

Take note of the 15 best things to do in Murray, KY.

Visit the Wrather West Kentucky Museum

Exterior of the Wrather West Kentucky Museum
Simon Placr, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Administration Building is the first permanent building on the Murray State University campus.

It fulfilled various purposes, including classes, pep rallies, chapel, debates, and plays.

On June 18, 1975, this said structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, then renovated and dedicated to the Wrather West Kentucky Museum.

Its primary aim is to promote and highlight the understanding of the cultural, social, and economic development of West Kentucky and the Jackson Purchase.

Visit the museum to find excellent permanent and changing exhibits for free.

Situated in the Doyle Fine Arts Bldg. of the Murray State University Campus is the famous Clara M. Eagle Gallery, a multi-level exhibition space dedicated to visitors and students to help them understand the history of art.

It presents the powerful implications of contemporary new media through its more than 1,200 works of art.

See its exquisite permanent collection on the 8,200 square feet of exhibition space.

It’s interesting to note that the Eagle Gallery has two national, juried exhibitions—the Kentucky National and the Magic Silver.

The Kentucky National is an annual call for new and traditional media that focuses on interdisciplinary practice.

The Magic Silver, on the other hand, is a biennial photography competition.

Learn about the Confederate Monument in Murray

See the Confederate Monument in Murray, situated on the northeast corner of the Calloway County Courthouse.

The historic statue honors 800 Kentucky soldiers who fought in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.

You’ll be amazed to see this 16.5-feet statue composed of three parts.

The bottom part is a porcelain drinking fountain.

Then, you’ll see 6-foot-tall Doric columns that support a granite canopy.

And within the canopy is a light fixture holding incandescent bulbs that light up the fountain.

At the top, there are four marble balls and a 5.5-foot marble statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Shop Like a Local at the Downtown Farmers Market

Do you want to see how and where the locals shop for their fresh produce?

Visit the Downtown Farmers Market on S. 4th St. and shop just like the locals do.

It started in 1998 with just a handful of vendors selling their products, but it grew to almost a dozen within a year.

Farmers, fruit vendors, crafters, and sellers of chicken and other animals were among the first vendors in the market.

Today, you will see many vendors selling products and locals going about their day shopping for their needs.

Each Saturday, more than 35 vendors sell products at the market.

Meanwhile, more than 50 join the market during the peak season from mid-June to July.

Get excited to see vegetables grown from nearby fields and bread baked from local kitchens.

Indeed, it’s an excellent place to see authentic Kentucky life.

Shop for Great Books at the New Life Christian Bookstore

What’s so special about this bookstore?

It’s a Christian bookstore opened in 1987 and provides products to nurture your spiritual growth.

It sells not just books but everything Christian, including gifts for all occasions.

Though the store has changed a lot since it first opened its doors, its passion and dedication to serving the community and providing life-changing products have remained unchanged.

The New Life Christian Bookstore is a designated Willow Tree retailer and Hallmark Gold Crown store.

Visit the store and get a free cup of coffee from 5th & Main Coffee & Tea, situated in the historic building’s basement.

Enjoy Delicious Chicago-style Favorites at Mugsy’s Hideout

Craving for Chicago-style dishes?

Mugsy’s Hideout, located on Main Street, has got you covered.

Devour their delicious and meaty deep dish pizza and pair it off with a glass of excellent wine, spirits, beer, or any drink you love.

Are you wondering if they serve authentic Chicago dishes?

The owners are true-blue Chicagoans who have a passion for food and cooking.

After vacationing in Kentucky and falling in love with the place, they decided to move their family here and start their own business.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Come and enjoy the food at Mugsy’s.

Italian beef, anyone?

Discover the Meaning of the Murray State University Shoe Tree

Daytime view of the Murray State University Shoe Tree
Simon Placr, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When you visit Murray State University, you will find a unique tree.

Left with just the trunk and without leaves, the shoe tree has dozens of pairs of shoes.

University tradition says that married couples who met at school should come back and nail a pair of their shoes to the tree.

Tradition also says that the couple should also nail their baby's shoes to the tree when they have one.

Interesting, isn’t it?

Go on a Scenic Countryside Drive along the Calloway County Quilt Trail

The Calloway County Quilt Trail is a long way, but the Northwest Trail offers sights of quilts along State Route 121.

You will enjoy sights of quilt patterns painted on large squares hung on the walls of homes, businesses, and barns.

Many of these patterns tell the story of a family or land, some happy and others sad.

With more than 60 quilts along with Murray and Calloway County, it’s a great way to know the story of the town's locals.

Relax in Central Park

No excursion to Murray is complete without a visit to Central Park, the largest park in Murray.

You can expect crowds there.

Find the Owen Spray Park and the swimming pool—two of the locals' favorites, especially during summer.

And if you love playing disc golf, there’s a 27-hole disc golf course with a par of 84 and is 7,925 feet long.

As if these are not cool enough, Central Park is also home to a skate park, dog park, the Playhouse, walking trails, playgrounds, and the Rotary Amphitheater.

Explore the Chestnut Park and Bee Creek

Here is another unmissable community park in Murray.

Chestnut Park is where you can find a Veteran’s Memorial and several walking trails.

The place also offers tons of opportunities for family bonding and outdoor activities, such as basketball courts, baseball and softball fields, and a playground.

Meanwhile, the Bee Creek Soccer Complex also features a playground and walking trails surrounding the fields.

Best of all, there is not just one soccer field but 12 soccer fields in this complex!

There’s also a foot golf course, the James C. Gallimore 3 Par Foot Golf Course, featuring par 27 and 9 holes.

Measuring 2,034 feet long, the course offers an exciting experience for players of all skill levels.

Appreciate Art More Deeply at the Murray Art Guild

Located on N. 4th St, the Murray Art Guild will awaken or re-ignite your passion for art.

A group of like-minded individuals established this non-profit organization.

They love to create exhibits to sell their work, enriching the arts.

After moving to several locations for 50 years, the guild retains the same goal.

They want to provide arts programming for the town’s adults and youth in various mediums.

It also sponsors house community studios, year-round exhibitions, and an art market.

The place is suitable for people of all ages, helping reignite your passion for the arts and awakening the kids’ love for the arts.

Build Your Burrito at the Burrito Shack

Who doesn’t love a good burrito?

The Burrito Shack fills everyone's unique ‘demands’ for their burrito.

Using only the freshest ingredients, the restaurant cooks everything every day in the kitchen.

There are always many gastronomic options at the Burrito Shack, from pork, beef, and chicken to fish and shrimp.

What makes this restaurant unique is you can build your burrito.

You go from one end of the line and work your way to the other through platters of everything you want to put into your burrito.

Taco salad, nachos, quesadilla, salsa, vegetables, and sauces—take whatever you want!

And the salsa bar?

They have the signature Pineapple Salsa too.

Pair your burrito with a drink and chips, and you’re off to enjoy your delicious meal!

Try Paddle Boarding with Pure Bliss

Why not think of paddleboarding in Murray if you want to take your adventure to the next level?

Let Pure Bliss, a paddleboard rental company, care for your paddleboard needs.

The boards are well-maintained and meet quality standards to ensure your safety.

Instead of just swimming, why not do something more exciting, which you can do with everyone in the family?

Best of all, it’s a fun and exciting way to burn your calories after visiting all the excellent restaurants around Murray.

Visit the Wagon Flea Market in Murray

You may already understand that visiting markets is a way to watch the locals in their homes.

The Wagon Flea Market on KY-94 E is one of the places you should visit in Murray.

It’s the premier flea market that services Paducah, Benton, Hopkinsville, Mayfield, and Cadiz.

Here, you can find the best deals for your souvenir and take-home needs.

Take a Break from it All at the Land Between the Lakes

Spend the last day or two of your excursion in Murray at the Land Between the Lakes.

A National Recreation Area controlled by the US Forest Service, this place spans 170,000 acres and is uninhabited, making it a great respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

However, it’s not all about solitude as there are also numerous activities that you can do here.

Check out the Nature Station, Turkey Bay OHV Area, Homeplace 1850s, Golden Pond Planetarium, and Elk and Bison Prairie.

You can also get closer to nature by taking the many hiking and biking trails, camping, horseback riding, and other adventures.

It will be a fun way to end your stay in Murray.

Final Thoughts

Murray is an excellent place for the entire family to explore.

There’s just so much to choose from recreational parks to food options.

The Burrito Shack is a game-changer that you will love for sure.

Even the kids will want more deep-dish pizza at Mugsy’s Hideout.