Murray, the centrally located county seat of Calloway County, Kentucky, was voted “Friendliest Small Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today, and it doesn’t take long to see why. Steeped in rich history through its festivals, familiar faces, and friendly neighborhoods, the people are really the heartbeat of this community. Year after year, they warmly welcome thousands of hard-working students to the beautiful campus of Murray State University, home of the Racers. The university keeps this small town fresh and lively, and since it’s a great place to live, several students choose to stick around after graduation.
Beautiful neighborhoods hug Murray’s outer edges and are just a few minutes from the walkable downtown near parks and shopping. Lined with historic homes, Main Street, the flagship thoroughfare, regularly hosts parades of marching bands, floats, and beauty queens. Main Street is also home to one of the locals’ favorite tradition, the original Dairy Queen, one of the only walk-up DQ’s left in the country and unchanged such it’s opening in 1949. Locals and students alike anticipate the seasonal opening each March 1st, as evidenced by the long lines of customers waiting for their beloved ice cream!
Job opportunities are abundant in Murray, and numerous manufacturing industries call Murray home, while others are being expected to come in the near future with the addition of a new industrial park. Two of the largest employers are Murray State University and Murray/Calloway County Hospital, which serves as a regional medical center. Agriculture, another thriving industry, surrounds the outskirts of Murray with many successful farms of every size.
While this community is a great place to work and live, it is even better place for fun and leisure! Take a stroll at the Murray State Arboretum and have a picnic in it’s serene garden. Start your summer Saturdays at the Murray Farmers Market on the court square where you’ll find many local vendors offering everything from arts and crafts to the freshest local produce straight out of the garden. Murray always has a festival round the corner, and that’s what really brings the community together. Every 4th of July, the Freedom Fest hosts a patriotic parade and massive fireworks display that evening. The annual Ice Cream Festival helps to close summer with a two day celebration with the theme of ice cream and fun activities in Murray’s downtown . During the winter, visitors and locals alike enjoy the old-fashioned Dicken’s Downtown on the court square and the night-time lighted Christmas Parade. Outdoor-loving and adventurous souls can take advantage of the short drive to gorgeous Kentucky Lake, Barkley Lake, and Land Between the Lakes (LBL) where one will find excellent fishing, hiking, campgrounds, and more. Or if you’d rather get there another way, Gear Up, a popular bicycle shop, hosts group rides at the lakes or around the town and countryside.
No one goes hungry in Murray for long! Even a serious foodie appreciates Murray’s diverse restaurant scene. Local restaurants really shine, from the authentic Chicago-style, deep dish pizza at Mugsy’s Hideout, or fresh Asian food at Jasmine Thai Cuisine and Sushi Bar. You can cozy up with a perfectly poured chai latte and homemade dessert in the quaint Willow Bistro restaurant, or get a perfect steak at the upscale steakhouse, The Alley, which is located above the town’s bowling alley. Whatever your taste is after, delicious food and great atmosphere go hand in hand in Murray.
Murray is a fast growing, thriving southern town. Old and new faces keep the charm of the traditions alive and welcome the new with great enthusiasm. Murray has something for everyone!