Welcome to Marfa
We’d heard a lot about Marfa before arriving — love it or hate it, everyone seems to have an opinion about the art mecca in West Texas. The best way we can describe it is that it’s a town that gives no f*cks. And we dig that. In a world of more, better, instant, now, it was refreshing to visit a place where the people and businesses seem intent on doing things their own way.
Put on the art scene map in the 1970s by Donald Judd, the old ranching town continues to be a destination for contemporary art that's a refreshing departure to the moneyed patina of urban galleries and museums where art lives out a climate-controlled, commodified life.
Much of Marfa's art lives rough in the dust, in the sun and in the winter morning chill and frosts that threaten to crack delicate concrete casts forming spires to the sky. And you have to imagine that the pieces prefer it that way: sleeping under the stars, waking to the sun and getting the occasional sigh of appreciation from passerby.
The most recognizable landmarks are dueling road-side art curiosities Prada Marfa (which is actually in Valentine) and a guerilla Target installation (which is actually in Marathon). And while they are oh so iconic, they're also so over-photographed that the surprise factor is sadly gone.
In our opinion, Marfa is best on foot or on bike. Or better yet, on bar stool, sipping a cold drink and listening in on slivers of conversation from locals and visitors.
Stay and Play: Our Top 5 Marfa Spots
This vintage trailer and teepee hotel has the coolest (and most expensive — shop with your eyes, not your wallet) hotel lobby shop we’ve ever seen, and they also have space for tent camping and dry camping for RVs on the property. Your nightly stay includes access to their outdoor showers, hammock grove, communal kitchen and killer free coffee from Big Bend Roasting every morning.
Open Wednesday to Sunday from noon to four, or nine to five, or dusk to dawn, or… well, it depends what you want to see at the contemporary art museum founded by Donald Judd. Don't miss 15 works in concrete and other outdoor sculptures in the area, but make sure to plan ahead and check their website for hours before you go.
Tumbleweed coffee & laundry
We couldn't get enough Big Bend coffee, so after fueling up in the morning at El Cosmico we hit this spot for another dose while catching up on work and laundry.
Planet Marfa & Bad Hombres
This pair of businesses on Marfa's main drag feature an awesome bar & beer garden open between Spring Break and Thanksgiving and a taco truck/social experiment turned brick & mortar across the street. We chilled (on the patio, on the deck, on the school bus, and inside the teepee) at Planet Marfa, enjoyed some people watching and got recommendations for our next Texas stops from some friendly folks. We didn’t sample the food (or the social experiment) at Bad Hombres but we got a kick out of reading their Yelp page, which really does seem to be the point.
We did try to eat a burrito at Marfa Burrito. They were sold out, but they made us some tacos that were simple, but tasty.