May 5, 2017
With celebrities like Beyonce visiting, and the hit show “I Love Dick” filming in Marfa, it is no surprise that this tiny West Texas town is being talked about in a big way. Marfa, located about 3 hours from any major airport in the middle of the desert, is a quirky art town with a population of only about 2,000 people. Marfa has a charm that really is hard to put in words but it’s a place that after we visited we felt like we were changed for the better and able to see the world in a new way. While this town is off the beaten path it is definitely worth visiting for a weekend. To get to Marfa fly into El Paso or Midland airport, rent a car, and drive three hours to reach the city limits. The drive is beautiful! Today’s post is going to cover everything you need to know to spend the perfect weekend in Marfa. We can’t wait to go back!
What to Do in Marfa…
Get Artsy & visit The Chinati Foundation
If you are going to Marfa and don’t know who Donald Judd is read this article right now. (http://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/the-minimalist/) The cliffs notes version is Donald Judd was a Missouri-born artist who moved from NYC to Marfa in the 1970’s and bought up 40,000 acres of land and buildings, including the Fort D.A. Russell. Today, this is the site of the Chinati Foundation. The Chinati Foundation features Judd’s famous concrete blocks as well as works from other artists. The center is open from Wednesday-Sunday from 9:30am-4:30pm. Marfa is an art town and this center is the perfect place to see Judd’s work before you explore the other art Marfa has to offer.
Other great galleries are listed below.
Ballroom Marfa—open Wed–Sun; 108 E. San Antonio, 432-729-3600
Marfa Contemporary—open Wed–Sun; 100 E. San Antonio, 432-729-3500
Arber & Son Editions—call for times; 128 E. El Paso, 432-729-3981
Inde/Jacobs—208 E. San Antonio, 432-386-0044
Rule Gallery—open Wed–Sat; 303-800-6776
Check Out Prada Marfa
Let’s face it, if you’re going to Marfa it’s probably because you saw a photo of Prada Marfa, which isn’t the work of Miuccia Prada, but of the Scandinavian artists Elmgreen and Dragset. Prada Marfa isn’t a store at all, but a piece of art that is so out of place it’s beautiful and confusing. Some believe the art symbolizes gentrification, while other say it’s a criticism of consumerism. No matter how you view this piece of art one thing is clear- there is nothing else quite like it. So, how do you find Prada Marfa? Well, Prada Marfa actually isn’t even in Marfa but in the town Valentine. I know, confusing isn’t it? If you fly into El Paso to get to Marfa, Prada Marfa is about 35 miles before you hit the town. Don’t worry though, type it in Google maps and it will definitely come up. Come prepared for photos because you will want to document this experience. I personally think sunset and sunrise are the best time to take a picture, but that can also be the most crowded time. Make sure you have a full tank of gas before you start your journey because there is literally nothing around this art exhibit!
Location: US-90, Valentine, TX 79854
See the Marfa Lights
The Marfa Lights have mystified people for years so if you make the trek all the way to Marfa you have to try to see them. The best place to see the lights is from the Marfa Lights Viewing Center. To locate the lights, find the red blinking tower, which is off towards the right side of the platform, and look slightly above them and to the right. The Marfa Lights are only said to appear about a dozen nights a year but we were lucky enough to see them. They looked like glowing white orbs last weekend but its been reported that they’ve also appeared in blue, red, and yellow and at times darted across the sky.
So what are the Marfa Lights? No one really knows. The first person to ever see the lights was Richard Reed Ellison in 1883. He noticed them while hearding cattle and assumed they were Apache campfires. Today, some people say they’re aliens, or the ghosts of Spanish conquistadors, while others say they are simply car headlights on the US 67. I think they’re aliens…
Where to Stay…
You can’t go to Marfa without glamping at El Cosmico for at least one night. El Cosmico is the epitome of chic camping and has teepees, tents and trailers for rent.
This is an Instagram lovers dream!
Word of warning, if you stay here be prepared to use communal bathrooms, showers, and a kitchen. It can get cold at night so if you aren’t into showering outdoors and shivering, consider staying here the first night, and then in a hotel on your second evening. I mean everyone can make it through one night without a bath right?
We loved our stay in our teepee and will never forget this night! Tip: Hit up the lobby for wine and snacks when you check-in.
Location: 802 S. Highland Ave,
Phone Number: 432-729-1950
This hotel, which was built in the 1930’s, is famous because during the filming of the movie “Giant,” James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson stayed here. While the rooms have been renovated since then, when you set foot in this hotel you definitely feel like you’re stepping back in time.Stay in Elizabeth Taylor’s suite if you want the VIP experience and make sure to checkout the “Giant” memorabilia in the lobby. Some say this hotel is haunted but we slept well through the night without any ghostly encounters. Although, if James Dean wants to come haunt my room I am totally OK with that!!!
Hotel Paisano is a must visit if you’re a film buff like me.
Location: 207 Highland St, Marfa, TX 79843
Phone Number: 432-729-3669
Hotel St. George
The Hotel St. George opened in March 2016 and is already on many travel publications “Best Hotels List.” If you want to stay in a trendy hotel that feels like it could be in LA or NYC this is the spot for you.
Location: 105 S. Highland Ave.
Phone Number: 432-729-3700
We didn’t stay at the Thunderbird Hotel but it looks like a trendy, minimalistic hotel that has 24 rooms. If the Thunderbird Hotel is anything like it’s bar, Capri, it must be a great place to stay! And it has a pool…
Location: 601 W. San Antonio
Phone Number: 432-729-1984
Where to go for Coffee…
Frama serves Big Bend Cofee and makes a great cappuccino. They also have pastries, ice cream and smoothies. I love juice in the morning so Frama was a great find. If you have trouble finding Frama just look for Tumbleweed Laundry…it is right next-door.
Location: 120 N Austin Street
Phone Number: 432-729-3335
Do Your Thing
Do Your Thing is a funky little coffee shop located in the lumberyard. It has a really rad vibe and serves great coffee and pastries. Look for the sign outside of the lumberyard and follow the arrows. The Barista is pretty cool too 🙂
Location: 201 E. Dallas Street
Hours: Fri-Saturday 8:30am-4:00pm, Sunday 9:30am-2pm
Where to Eat…
Before you read this section keep one thing in mind. There are no rules in Marfa and sometimes things are closed for no reason at all. During our visit one bar closed because they thought it was too windy to work. The mystery of what will be open just adds to the experience though! Also, before visiting remember many places in Marfa are closed during the week so if you want the full experience I’d suggest going on a weekend.
Jett’s Grill is located in the famous Hotel Paisano and has a lovely patio where you can relax. The breakfast burritos, served 7:30am-10:30am are delicious! They also have happy hour from 2-6pm. The menu is diverse so there is something for everyone. If you’re in a drinking mood try the Scorpion Mezcal. It’s to die for. Jett’s Grill is open daily, which is rare in Marfa!
Location: 207 North Highland Avenue
Phone Number: 432-729-3838 (Reservations Recommended)
Open for Breakfast, Happy Hour and Dinner
If you are in the mood for Pizza, then Pizza Foundation is THE place for you. Pizza Foundation is owned by a couple from the East Coast and this pizza is as good as what you would taste in New York City. Another fun fact- Pizza Foundation was built and reopened via Kickstarter. Just think about that…it’s so good the locals helped get it reopened!
Location: 305 South Spring Street
Phone Number: 432-729-3377
Hours: Open for lunch and dinner, Friday- Sunday 1pm-9pm
Food Shark Truck
(Open for lunch only, except for on Friday’s when dinner is also served)
This Mediterranean food truck is one of the best food trucks I have ever been too! The menu changes weekly so checkout the chalk board out front. I loved the lamb kebab! On Friday the truck stays open for dinner and serves beer and wine. Sit in the school bus if you want a unique dining experience! ***Cash Only***
Location: 909 West San Antonio Street
Phone Number: 432-207-2090
Hours: Open Wed-Sat noon-3pm, Friday 7pm-11pm
(Breakfast & lunch)
I read Matthew McConaughey was a fan of Marfa Burrito so I had to check out this spot. (I mean how cute is Matthew McConaughey?!) At Marfa Burrito you walk right into the owner, Ramona’s, kitchen and she’ll make you a very tasty burrito for less than $7. Brush up on your Spanish though, because Ramona doesn’t speak English. ***Cash Only***
Location: 515 S Highland Street.
Hours: Mon- Saturday 6am-2pm (although like many other places in Marfa sometimes these hours vary.)
Boyz 2 Men/ Bad Hombres
If you want to eat a bad a** burger or taco with a side of sass this is the spot for you! Just be prepared this isn’t friendly service, but sure is funny.
Location: 300 W San Antonio
Hours: Saturday/ Sunday 8am-3pm
The best meal I had in Marfa was definitely at Stellina. This restaurant features rustic Mediterranean dishes and has a seasonal menu. We loved the grilled Halloumi cheese and filet. Be prepared to make friends with your neighbors because Stellina has communal seating.
Location: 103 N Highland Street
Phone Number: 432-729-2030
Hours: Tues-Saturday 5pm- 9:30pm
Buns & Roses
(Breakfast & Lunch)
Buns & Roses is known for its delicious donuts and pastries. We were so excited to try it but unfortunately, in true Marfa fashion, they were closed the weekend we were in town. We hear great things though so give them a chance!
Location: 1613 W San Antonio Street
Phone Number: 432-729-4282
Hours: Open Thurs- Sunday 7am-2:30pm
And here are three I didn’t get to try! Next time! 🙂
La Venture is an upscale Italian Restaurant at the hotel Saint George. We stopped by and it looks like a trendy restaurant you would find in LA. The menu looks delicious so we’ll have to try it next time we’re in town.
Location: 105 S. Highland Ave.
Phone Number: 432-729-3700
Hours: Thurs- Saturday 6pm-10pm
(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
If you want Tex Mex this is the place to go in Marfa. It’s known for the hottest salsa in town so be prepared!
Location: 1506 W San Antonio Street
Phone Number: 432-729-3291
Hours: Mon-Fri 6am-2pm, 5pm-10pm, Saturdays 6am-10pm
(Breakfast & Lunch)
Squeeze is supposed to be a great breakfast spot in town. I was told to try the waffles. They also have a nice selection of sandwiches for lunch.
Location: 215 N Highland St.
Phone Number: 432-729-4500
Hours: Tues- Sunday 8am-3pm
Where to Drink…
Lost Horse Saloon
I absolutely love the Lost Horse Saloon. If you want to hang out at a true Cowboy Saloon this is THE place to go in town.There are pool tables, cute boys, live music and a Texas Flag on the wall! The owner, Ty Mitchell is very welcoming and you’ll probably see his dog running around. Don’t worry, he’s friendly! The coolest thing about the Lost Horse Saloon is this is the place the locals in town hang out. We literally ran into every waiter and bartender we met at this spot and shared one too many shots of tequila with them. It was one of those nights we’ll never forget and had me thinking I could move to Marfa! What a fun way to end our trip!
Location: 306 East San Antonio
Phone Number: 432-729-4499
Hours: Daily 4pm- 12am, Saturdays noon-1am
Capri is a trendy bar with really great drinks. You have to try a Hibiscus Margarita! My mouth is still watering just thinking about it. Capri also serves lunch and dinner if you want a snack with your cocktail.
Location: 603 W San Antonio St.
Phone Number: 432-729-1984
Hotel St. George
If you want a trendy option for drinks check out the Hotel St. George. The hotel has a nice collection of cocktails and upscale bar food. There is also happy hour from 4-6pm. The bar is open daily until midnight so if you’re in town during the week this is a good option. Make sure to stop by Book Marfa in the hotel during your visit!
Location: 105 S Highland Highland Ave
I LOVE THIS BAR!!! Planet Marfa literally has it all, a teepee with a fireplace, darts, Ping-Pong, bullring, a school bus to hang out in and AMAZING nachos!
The owners Jon & Aase are very sweet and it feels like you’re hanging out at a friend’s house at this bar. There’s also great music with a fun crowd.
Planet Marfa is open seasonally from Spring Break-Thanksgiving since it is all outdoors. You can’t miss this place while you are in town!
Location: 200 S. Abbot Street
Phone Number: 432-386-5099
Hours: Friday 2pm-12am, Sat 2pm-1am, and Sunday 2pm-10pm
Have fun in Marfa!!!
The old Stardust Motel sign