Things to do in Marfa

Texas

9 Top Things To Do In Marfa Texas (2020 Guide)

October 27, 2020

This blog post is sponsored by Mazda. All experiences and opinions are my own.

Weekend Guide To Marfa

Photography by The Dani Creative

Marfa – this has been on my bucket list for the past ten years and I finally got to go this month! The 8-hour drive from Austin to Marfa has always been daunting but thanks to Mazda we took the new Mazda CX-30 across West Texas on a road trip. 

SEE ALSO: 45 Top Things To Do In Austin, Texas, Updated 2020

Mazda CX-30

Drone shot of Mazda CX-30

Mazda’s all-new CX-30 compact crossover is a car for everyone, with openness of the cabin that encourages conversation and a focus on the interior comfort.

Taking the Mazda CX-30 on an 8-hour road trip was the ultimate test for this car and the trip was so smooth to and from Marfa and Terlingua. Mazda was engineered to preserve the peaceful environment by focusing on the noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH). Nearly every aspect of the CX-30, from the tires to the headliner, was engineered to minimize any road noise.

 

MyMazda App

Another cool thing about Mazda was the Mazda Connected Services that works with the MyMazda App (a standard feature on all CX-30 models). The MyMazda App allowed us to remotely lock the doors, start the engine, or check fuel and tire pressure status all from the convenience of our smartphone! 

We actually almost forgot to fuel up during our trip and the app notified that the fuel level was already 4% in addition to letting us know when we forgot to lock the doors. 


Weekend Guide To Marfa

When Is the Best Time to Visit Marfa?

We went mid-October and this year the weather was high 80s to low 90s during our trip so it was pretty hot. The first night of our trip the temperature did drop to the low 50s. Generally, the best time to visit Marfa is from March through October. During these months, you can expect warm, pleasant weather and minimal rainfall. The temperature normally hits the high 80s in August and drops down to the high 70s in October.

Marfa does get cooler at night so I wouldn’t recommend camping towards the end of Nov – January. 

 

El Cosmico safari tent in Marfa Texas

El Cosmico trailer in Marfa Texas

Where To Stay In Marfa

There are several lodging options in Marfa but El Cosmico is definitely the most popular option so I wanted to stay there for my first trip to Marfa.

El Cosmico

El Cosmico is a 21-acre hotel and campground in Marfa that’s conveniently located right in the middle of the town. You can pick from renovated vintage trailers, safari and scout tents, yurts, tent campsites, and even teepees. We stayed in a safari tent on our first night and then a trailer on the second night. 

If you want more of a camping experience that’s not pitching your own tent on the ground, I recommend the safari tent. There isn’t a heater or A/C so keep that in mind. The first night in Marfa was in the low 50s so I was pretty cold even with the heated blankets in the safari tent. The trailer is insulated and has its own set of outdoor shower and toilet. 

Other hotels in Marfa:

  • Hotel Paisano – Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean called this Spanish colonial-style hotel home in 1955 while filming their famed film Giant 
  • Hotel Saint George

Top Things To Do In Marfa Texas

Things To Do In Marfa

Marfa is a small desert city in west Texas (193.9 miles from El Paso, 21 miles from Fort Davis, and 27 miles from Alpine) with a population of barely 2,000 residents. This small town is filled with art galleries and local shops. 

 

Prada Marfa store in Marfa Texas | things to do in Marfa

Prada Marfa

Snuggled into a corner of the vast desert is Prada Marfa – this art installation is a required stop on any Marfa journey. This landmark is a replica of some of the world’s most famous Prada stores, such as the iconic shops in New York and Milan, by artists Elmgreen and Dragset. While you can’t make any purchases at Prada Marfa, simply catching a glimpse of this slice of Marfa history is an entire experience unto itself. Its shelves of untouched shoes and handbags only add to its unique atmosphere, reminding visitors that this historic Prada is its own work of art.

Tip: Come early because there will be crowds standing in line to get a photo at the Prada store. 

14880 US-90, Valentine, TX 79854

 

Marfa Lights Viewing Area

You can’t go to Marfa without going to the Marfa Lights (also known as Marfa ghost lights) and watching the mystery lights. These mysterious glowing orbs that appear in the desert near U.S. Route 67 on Mitchell Flat east of Marfa have mystified people for generations.

US-90, Marfa, TX 79843

 

See Mystery Lights | Marfa Mystery Lights sign

Marfa Mystery Lights

The actual See Mystery Lights sign is actually located at the Thunderbird Hotel, a contemporary boutique hotel. 

601 W San Antonio St, Marfa, TX

 

Milky Way in Marfa Texas

Stargaze the Milky Way

You can see the entire Milky Way in Marfa Texas – this was the view from El Cosmico! ​

 

Ballroom Marfa

Ballroom Marfa

(Temporarily closed) If you’d like to continue exploring the artistic side of Marfa, make Ballroom Marfa the next stop on your trip. This non-profit cultural space is solely dedicated to representing the most cutting-edge artists in the area. From visual arts to music, there are various aspects of this ballroom that play a significant role in illustrating the Marfa art scene.

108 E San Antonio St, Marfa, TX

 

Judd Foundation

Judd Foundation is a non-profit organization that facilitates public access to artist Donald Judd’s permanently installed living and working spaces in downtown Marfa. The Judd Foundation spaces include studios installed with early works by Judd, libraries, and living quarters that reflect the diversity of his life’s work.

104 S Highland Ave, Marfa, TX, juddfoundation.org

 

The Chinati Foundation

The Chinati Foundation expands upon the artistic scene in Marfa. Founded in 1987, this independent, non-profit contemporary art museum fuses the worlds of art and architecture to truly embody what Marfa stands for. As part of its cultural experience, the Chinati Foundation offers public tours and viewings, education programs, lectures, exhibitions, performances and more.

1 Cavalry Row, Marfa, TX, chinati.org

 

Raba Marfa store in Marfa Texas

Local shops in Marfa

Raba Marfa

Loved Raba Marfa and this is a must if you’re visiting Marfa! I bought a couple of items for my home here. 

212 E San Antonio St,

 

Cobra Rock

Cobra Rock is a small leather goods store that hand makes boots in-store with American leather.

cobrarock.com

 

Marfa Brands

Located around the corner from Do Your Thing Coffee is this cute little store that makes homemade soaps and a curated home goods collection. I stocked up on palo santo here!

 

Marfa Store

Located across the street from Do Your Thing Cofee is the Marfa Store that features items from local artists.

 

Marfa Book Company

Local bookstore that is temporarily closed.

 

Cactus Liquors in Marfa Texas

Cactus Liquors

Liquor and plant shop with a carefully curated selection of liquor. I picked up a plant here to take home as a sourvenir! 

 

Road Trip to Big Bend National Park

If you still need more things to do in Marfa, you won’t be disappointed by the breathtaking Big Bend. One of Marfa’s most scenic landmarks, the Big Bend region is situated right where the Chihuahuan desert and Texas mountains meet. There are endless ways to let yourself unwind and enjoy everything nature has to offer in the Big Bend, whether you decide to go river rafting, hiking, or stargazing.


Where To Eat In Marfa

Do Your Thing Coffee shop in Marfa Texas

For coffee

Do Your Thing

If you need to satisfy your coffee craving pronto, look no further than Do Your Thing. This trendy coffee shop offers a mouthwatering variety of beverages, sweet & savory toasts, scones, and other items to tide you over before your next adventure.

Frama

We went to Frama on our last day in Marfa for a quick coffee and ice cream (yes for breakfast!). This café is connected to a laundromat for extra convenience, and it offers no shortage of delicious foods and beverages. From oat milk lattes to over 10 flavors of ice cream, there’s something at Frama to satisfy every kind of taste.

The Sentinel

The Sentinel is a beautiful coffee shop with a cute curated selection of home goods. Order the lavender latte or Spanish latte!

 

Para Llevar restaurant in Marfa Texas

For lunch

Para Llevar

There were a few lunch options in Marfa when we were there. Luckily Para Llevar was open – we had the truffle mushroom pizza and it was delicious! 

 

The Get Go grocery store in Marfa TX

The Get Go

The Get Go is the local grocery store in Marfa with fresh produce, pantry staples, and freezer items. 

 

Marfa Burrito

Unfortunately, Marfa Burrito was closed the day we tried to go so I’ll have to try this next time!

 

For dinner:

Al Campo restaurant in Marfa Texas

Al Campo

Our first meal in Marfa was at this rustic bistro. Al Campo has a wide array of Tex-Mexican items for the ultimate Marfa experience. From the simple and timeless taste of queso and chips to the explosion of flavor in Barbacoa tacos, you’ll be sure to satisfy any craving at Al Campo.

 

Other restaurants in Marfa:

  • Stellina
  • Capri
  • Food Shark – Mediterranean food truck famous for its “Marfalafel” salads and wraps
  • Bar Saint George – late-night dinner
  • Pizza Foundation
  • The Water Stop
1
Take a picture in front of the Welcome To Marfa billboard
2
Glamping in a safari tent
3
Take photos at Prada Marfa
4
Stargaze the Milky Way
5
Coffee at Do Your Thing Coffee
6
Grocery shop at The Get Go
7
Visit the Ballroom Marfa
8
Eat at Para Llevar
9
Coffee + ice cream at Frama
10
Glamming in a vintage trailer at El Cosmico
11
See the Marfa Mystery Lights
Check out my other content @atasteofkoko on Jumprope.

WRITTEN BY:

Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.

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