20 things to see and do in Murray 2020Jan 06, 2020 10:40AM ● By Shaun Delliskave
The Summer Family Concert Series is held monthly at the Murray Senior Recreation Center plaza. (Photo courtesy Murray Cultural Arts)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
For eyesight, 20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual clarity or sharpness of vision. As this is the year 2020, the Murray Journal identified 20 often-overlooked things to see and do in Murray. Check your Murrayite vision, and you can see that you might have missed these gems.
The Murray City Park Arboretum
To be precise, it is the Joan M. Hardle Memorial Arboretum, and if you have walked the paths around Murray City Park, you likely have discovered it in the northwest end of the park. The arboretum contains a cacti garden, hybrid iris bed, water ponds, shrubbery beds, seasonal flower plantings and many varieties of trees. There is even a Little Library that sits at its border.
The arboretum came into existence in 1961 but flourished when Hardle championed it in 1963. As president of the Artistic Designers Club, she initiated a successful fundraising campaign to build a donors’ plaque monument in the arboretum. The memorial, including a drinking fountain, endures, complementing the arboretum today. Hardle personally worked at improving the arboretum until her death in 1981.
Tea Rose Diner - Hot Scale Level 10
Perhaps the hottest, spiciest café in Utah, the Tea Rose Diner (65 E. 5th Ave.) offers a challenge to the heartiest of foodies to eat its Thai cuisine, ranging from a mild level 1 to killer spicy Level 10. The yellow curry at level 3 can generally start to make one perspire.
Still, Anny Sooksri, who transformed the former home and burger shack into a Thai-food lover’s dream, has offerings to accommodate even the mildest of appetites. If you eat curry with a spicy level 10, your photograph makes it onto the Wall of Flame, a very elite but small class.
Historic Murray LDS Second Ward Meetinghouse
While the historic Murray LDS First Ward meetinghouse has been in the news often, its little sister, the Second Ward (5056 S. 300 West), has been preserved nicely on the city’s westside. Built and designed in 1906 by Murray’s large Swedish population to house The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Swedish congregation, the building now is home to the Alano Club.
You can still admire the structure’s Victorian Gothic architecture, with a Norman-style entrance tower. Murray’s sizeable Scandinavian population, who attended the church or worked at the smelter, is what helped labor leader/convicted murderer Joe Hill decide to stay in Murray during his fateful visit to Utah.
Murray Community Art Pass
It is no secret that Murray has talented performing artists living within its boundaries, but what might be lesser known is that you can purchase a community art pass to get in to see them all. The pass not only allows you to bypass the ticket line for events at the Murray Amphitheater, but you can use it at Cottonwood High School and Murray High School productions. Plus, the pass is available to use with local groups such as the Murray Symphony, the Murray Band and the Ballet Centre.
The pass is offered through Murray City Cultural Arts, with rates for children, seniors and families. A full calendar of events can be found at the Murray Cultural Arts website at www.murray.utah.gov.
Catch a game at Murray Park Rugby Field
Behind the Salt Lake County Ice Center is the Murray Rugby Field, home to some of the most premier rugby talent in the nation. The Murray Park Rugby Field has hosted USA Rugby’s national high school championships and is home to the Highland Rugby Club, one of the most nationally successful high school rugby programs. Utah Rugby Football Union, an affiliate of the Pacific Coast Rugby Football Union, sanctions most semi-professional, adult, collegiate and high school clubs that use the field.
A calendar for future rugby scrums at Murray Rugby Field can be found online at rugbyutah.com.
The Other Side Thrift Boutique
While Murray’s Deseret Industries has always been prominent as a thrift store that also provides opportunities for the unemployed, refugees or those with special needs, what may be lesser known is the Other Side Thrift Boutique (4290 State St.).
Other Side works with former convicts to provide them employment while they rebuild their lives. This thrift store is run through the Other Side Academy, a nonprofit organization that assists ex-cons by requiring them to make a two-year commitment to behavior modification and learning life skills. The thrift store is part of the process to help the convicts reform their lives and learn to hold down a job.
The bed tombstone in Murray Cemetery
It’s not really a bed but merely looks like one. Located across the road from the cemetery office building is the vault of the Greene family. The Greenes, who were early settlers of Murray, hailed from Mississippi where underground family vaults were not uncommon. As space became limited, the vault eventually filled and was capped when there was no room for more burials. The two tombstones at the end look like pillows waiting for someone to slip under the concrete covers.
Burger Tour of Murray
Yes, everyone is told to try the pizza bender at Italian Village or the Philly cheesesteak at East Coast Subs, but have you tried locally designed burgers? While Murray has all the national burger chains, it also has some independent hamburger stands with even more unique sides. For highlights, start at Woody’s Drive-In (6172 S. 1300 East) for a Woody burger with a side of fried pickles, then head west on Vine Street to Olympus Burger (6100 S. 900 East) to try the Olympus pastrami burger and a souvlaki stick.
Head north on 900 East to Flame Burger (5430 S. 900 East) and try the signature Flame burger. Classic car enthusiasts will sometimes rally out front. Get your earplugs, because the next stop is the TNT Indoor Gun Range and 357 Burgers (5669 S. Commerce Dr.). Hungry? Try the triple barrel burger, but they have a double and a single barrel burger as well to go with an order of chili fries.
Save a life
After you have done the burger tour, CPR training might be in order. Fortunately for you, the Murray Fire Department holds a free monthly CPR training at its 4800 South fire station.
If you want to up your skill level, the fire department also offers first aid classes. Furthermore, if you want to help the fire department out, you can be certified to become part of Murray’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). For more information about these courses, contact the Murray FD at 801-856-2616.
Desert Star Youth Theater
While parody is the name of the game on Desert Star Playhouse’s (4861 State St.) main stage, what might not be known is that they offer serious youth theater on their second stage. Youth performers have provided everything from hefty musical dramas like “Les Misérables” to recent Broadway shows like “Heathers.”
Sons of Utah Pioneers South Cottonwood Monument
Tucked behind the LDS Church on Vine Street and 5600 South is the Sons of Utah Pioneers South Cottonwood Monument, dedicated to the first pioneers that settled Murray. You can view a historic stone granary with a monument describing the settlers and history in the area.
Murray’s Single-Track Mountain Bike Course
Want to up your mountain biking game? Pedal along the Jordan River Parkway to Germania Park (5243 Murray Pkwy. Ave.), where, to the west of the soccer fields, you can find the trailhead for the Murray Single-Track Mountain Bike Course. Catch it early in the spring before grasses overrun the trail.
Murray Book Club
Why can’t adults have as much fun as the kids do in Murray City Library’s kids’ book clubs? The truth is, they can. The library offers an Adult Evening Book Club that monthly discusses books. For you Francophiles out there, there’s also the Marcel Proust Book Club.
Summer Family Concert Series
By day, the Murray Senior Recreation Center (10 E. 6150 South) offers many activities for adults over age 55, but on summer evenings, its shady plaza is open to all for its summer family concerts. As part of the Murray Arts in the Park program, the venue has hosted everything from Celtic to bluegrass to Dixieland jazz.
Miss body-checking someone? The Salt Lake County Ice Center (5201 Murray Park Ln.) offers daily adult drop-in hockey. Whether you are a former pro or just want to learn a new sport, up to 33 skaters and goalies are invited to scrimmage for a 2-hour block, open just for hockey.
Murray Downtown Historical Tour
Want to make your daily stroll a little more meaningful? Pick up a copy of the “The History Spotter’s Guide: A Walking Tour of Murray Historic Business District” at the Murray Museum, and follow the trail outlining Murray’s historical past. The tour meanders State Street between 4800 South and City Hall, showing now-and-then photos of Murray’s different incarnations of downtown.
Hold a recital
Some family rooms are just too small for a concert. Murray is home to several large recital halls, complete with pianos. Day Murray Music (4914 State St.) recital hall includes a large Rodgers pipe organ, while Summerhays Music (5420 S. Green St.) hosts piano and harp concerts.
Join the club
Want to contribute to the community or just hang out with like-minded folks, then Murray may have a club for you. The Murray Exchange Club is a service-oriented club. It’s always looking for people to help the community by putting on the annual Haunted Woods or raise awareness about child abuse or passing out flags on Independence Day. The Exchange Club of Murray meets the first and third Wednesday of each month, 7:30 a.m. at Murray City Hall.
Remember, in elementary school, playing kickball, the hybrid soccer and softball game played on a baseball diamond? There is now an adult league for the sport, and Murray Recreation is taking applications for teams. All teams must include at least four women.
Food Truck Tuesdays
Every week in the summer, Murray Park hosts the Food Truck League. If your family is full of picky eaters or adventurous palates, the weekly offering can save the daily question of “what are we going to eat tonight?” Different vendors show up weekly and can range from something as safe as hamburgers to daring Jamaican.