Marfa resides in the middle of the Texan desert an hour north of the Mexican border. We drove into the tiny city on a straight, two lane road that we had been on for miles and miles. It was flat as far as the eye could see, with the brilliant blue sky spotted with white clouds that engulfed us on all sides as we drove further and further away from Austin. The very small, artsy city is known as a mysterious place that has attracted creatives and artists throughout past decades. Now a well known center for the arts and hip destination, it still seems as if Marfa never intended to put itself on the map and doesn't care if it stays there. Shops close when they want, you won't see too many people walking in the few streets, and there is really no center of town. I have been attracted to weird and wacky Marfa ever since reading about it in a magazine and couldn't betray the gravitational pull the intrigue had on me, so we took a pit stop in between our drive from Austin to Santa Fe to explore the small desert town.
We stayed at the funky El Cosmico, run by the Bunkhouse Group which also has accommodations in Austin and San Antonio. Staying at El Cosmico isn't just a place to crash for a night but an experience. You have the choice of trailers, camper vans, teepees, yurts, safari tents and regular camping. There's an outdoor eating area, a hammock grove and hot tubs for rent. We stayed in an epic teepee, fully equipped with our own fire put, a very comfy bed and two adorable couches.
Since I'm an art lover, I dragged my boyfriend to the Chinati Foundation to see Donald Judd's, 15 Untitled Works in Concrete. It was great going in the morning as we got to see how the concrete structures interacted with the morning light and how the surrounding environment went on growing within and around the permanent installation since it's completion in 1984. We were the only ones out in the field with the sculptures which provided a serene experience as we explored the masses of concrete.
Although Marfa is small and there isn't more than a handle of shops and a dozen places to eat, there are so many activities in and around the city. Check out a great little shop called Freda if you're looking to splurge, (they also has a location in the Ace Hotel in New Orleans). They carry clothing, accessories, apothecary, jewelry, art and additional objects. We found a great bar and restaurant called Capri, which is a part of the newly renovated Thunderbird Hotel. With it's Texan meets indie design we felt right at home and enjoyed their outdoor fire pits scattered throughout their property. We also enjoyed a vegetarian dinner at Stellina. The menu changes daily and the food is focused on Tuscan cuisine. Although our choices were all vegetarian (which we usually don't order), they were extremely tasty! If you're a beer lover definitely try the Momma's Little Yella Pils!
Later that night we took a dip in our personal hot tub outside our teepee, drank some wine we bought at The Get Go market earlier that day, threw on some comfy clothes and headed out of town to try and spot the mysterious Marfa lights (which you can read about here, pretty intriguing!). We are 90% positive we ended up spotting some! Make sure to park outside the visitor center and join the group of people that gather there nightly, it's the best place to see them. The next morning we stopped at Marfa Burrito before heading on to our next destination. I personally loved this place because it is located in a cute Mexican grandmother's home and let me tell you she makes a mean breakfast burrito. Take note that there is only a small sign that distinguishes which is abuela's home, and the sign is normally blocked by cars visiting, so it can be a bit tricky to find. The last on our list was to see the Prada Marfa installation (great article by vogue) outside of town and on our way to the Carlsbad Caverns. It's a great installation to take a photo op with and the building truly is in the middle of the desert, there is no town for a few miles on each side, which adds a sense of eeriness, as if a town had been there previously and disappeared.
Some other recommendations (that we didn't have the time to explore but are on the list for next time!):
- Marfa Contemporary (art gallery)
- Planet Marfa (bar)
- Lost Horse Saloon (bar)
- Bar Saint George (bar)
- Frama (coffee bar)
- Squeeze Marfa (breakfast/lunch restaurant)
- Salsa Puedes (food truck)
- Mando's (restaurant)
- Who's been to Marfa and how was your experience?! Let us know in the comments below, we'd love to hear your take.