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Marfa

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Texas : Big Bend Country : Trans-Pecos : Marfa
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Marfa at dusk

Marfa is a town in the Big Bend Country region of Texas. It's known for two things: innovative art and mysterious lights.

Get in

Coming from the east, Highway 90 makes for an interesting, scenic drive to Marfa. Plan your fuel stops wisely, as it's possible to go almost 200 miles between cities. Highway 90 takes in a couple of all-but-ghost towns along the way, as well as the Trans-Pecos crossing and some breathtaking scenery. Travelers in more of a hurry may prefer to take Interstate 10 to Highway 67 (from the east) or Highway 90 (from the west) straight into Marfa.

The nearest airport is in El Paso, 190 miles west.

Get around

Visitors will need their own transportation to reach most of the sights in Marfa, although many of the art galleries and restaurants are within walking distance of each other on the main drag in town, between the Presidio County Courthouse and the Marfa post office.

See

Chinati Foundation
  • The Chinati Foundation, 1 Cavalry Row, +1-432-729-4362, [1]. Wed - Sun. The Chinati Foundation is a museum founded by the artist Donald Judd, presenting large-scale, permanent installations by twelve artists: Carl Andre, Ingolfur Arnarrson, John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Roni Horn, Donald Judd, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, Claus Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, David Rabinowitch, and John Wesley. The museum also presents one or two special, temporary exhibitions each year. Fifteen outdoor concrete sculptures by Donald Judd are accessible Monday through Friday, 9 AM - 5 PM. The rest of the collection is seen by guided tour; several options are offered throughout the day Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations are recommended and can be purchased on-line at www.chinati.org. $10 - $25.
  • Gallery 111 West, 5126953168, [2]. Studio and Gallery of Marfa-Based Artist and Photographer Leana Clifton.
  • Inde/Jacobs, 208 E San Antonio, 432.386.0044, [3]. Th-Sa noon-5PM. Exhibits works on paper and limited editions by Donald Judd and Dan Flavin. This provides additional insight into the artwork of these two great artists. In addition, the inde/jacobs represents Nelleke Beltjens, David Hirschi, Hadi Tabatabai and Erik Tillinghast. Exceptional artwork in the minimalist aesthetic-reductive style.

Do

Visitors should consider planning their trip when the town is most active - between Wednesday and Saturday, when many local shops, restaurants and attractions are open.

For many visitors, the mysterious Marfa Lights are the main attraction. There is a viewing platform several miles east of the city on Route 67. After dark, the famed lights may appear...or they may not. Theories have been put forward as to their origin, but none have been conclusive; there is no way to predict whether they will appear on any given night. Visitors determined to catch a glimpse of the eerie, dancing orbs may have to set aside a couple of nights and wish for luck.

Buy

  • LeAna Clifton Photography, 512415561.


Eat

  • Jett's Grill, +1-432-729-3838, [4]. M-Th 5:30PM to 9:00PM, later on Fr-Sa.. Attached to the Hotel Paisano (see below), is named for James Dean's character in "Giant".
  • Pizza Foundation, +1-432-729-3377, [5]. is located at the intersection of Route 67 and Route 90, across from city hall. They serve big slices of thin-crust pizza ($1.75 a slice or $12 for the whole pie) with a wide range of toppings. The menu also includes limeades and salads.

Drink

  • Padre's Marfa, [6]. Bar and live music venue.
  • Alice's Cafe, 906 W San Antonio St, Marfa, TX, (432) 729-4188. sandwiches, cafe, american


Sleep

  • Arcon Inn Bed & Breakfast, +1-432-729-4826.
  • Colomo's, +1-432-729-4023, [7].
  • Grande Dame Marfa, 5126953168, [8]. Majestic Marfa adobe for vacation rental.
  • Hotel Paisano, +1-432-729-3669, [9]. A grand dame of a hotel, beautifully kept. It shows the James Dean film Giant in a screening room off its lobby all day, seven days a week; the cast of the movie, which also included Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor, stayed at the hotel during the filming in 1955.
  • Riata Inn, +1-432-729-3800.
  • Thunderbird Hotel, +1-432-729-1984, [10].
  • El Cosmico, 802 S. Highland Ave; Marfa, TX 79843, (432) 729-1950, [11]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: Noon. Camping, restored and furnished vintage trailers, dutch tubs. $20-125. (30.317525,104.023414)
  • STAY marfa (Nightly Apartment Rentals), 200 E San Antonio, 888 Marfa Go, [12]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 10AM. Provides a hotel alternative. Kitchens, patios, Wi-Fi, satellite TV in most units. Studio $79, 2 bdrm/2bth $139.

Stay Safe

The crime rate in Marfa is incredibly low compared to other nearby cities and towns. However, visitors are advised to check into their motels before 10 p.m. as the street lights in Marfa turn off at this time, or carry a flashlight or firearm. Once it gets dark, coyotes and pumas come down out of the Davis mountains looking for prey.

Law enforcement is provided by the Presidio County Sheriff's Department and the Texas Highway Patrol, after the disbanding of the Marfa Police Department in 2010.

Get out

  • Alpine is the next city to the east of Marfa.
  • Big Bend National Park, with 801,000 acres of land, is a short drive away.
  • Fort Davis, about 30 minutes north of Marfa on Route 67, is home to the McDonald Observatory [13], which hosts terrific Star Parties after dark.
  • Marathon, east on Highway 90, has a few small art galleries, dusty cafes and a grand hotel, the Gage, giving it the feel of a miniature Marfa.
  • Presidio, an hour south, shares a border with Ojinaga, Mexico.


Routes through Marfa
OjinagaPresidio  SW noframe NE  AlpineFort Stockton
Ends at I-10.pngVan Horn  W noframe E  AlpineDel Rio


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