city in and county seat of Presidio County, Texas, United States

Marfa is a town of 1,600 people (2019) in the Big Bend Country region of Texas. It's known for two things: innovative art and mysterious lights.

Marfa at dusk

Get in

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By car

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      Marfa sits at the intersection of US Hwy 67 and 90 and Texas Hwy 17:

  •   to   Highland St/S Highland Ave US Hwy 67 goes 60 mi (97 km) south to Presidio and 26 mi (42 km) east to Alpine concurrent along US Hwy 90. It then continues another 67 mi (108 km) northeast from Alpine to Ft Stockton on the I-10 corridor (via Exit 248). Going north of town, Highland Ave becomes State Highway (SH) 17 which goes up another 60 mi (97 km) to I-10 in Saragosa (Exit 209).
  •   San Antonio St Coming from the east, US Hwy 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. US Hwy 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 US Hwy 67 (Exit 248) from Fort Stockton (or from further east) or US Hwy 90 (Exit 140A) from Van Horn, if coming from the west, straight into Marfa. Likewise one can also exit off at TX-17 from Exit 209 of I-10 from either direction.

By bus

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  • 1 All Aboard America, Bus stop at Big Bend Community Agency @ 1412 Berlin St (NE of intersection of W San Antonio (US Hwy 90) and S Hartford St), toll-free: +1-800-628-1335. Buses between Presidio and Midland/Odessa via Marfa, Alpine, Ft Stockton, McCamey and Crane along US Hwy 67/385. Connections to Greyhound buses are in Odessa/Midland and Ft Stockton. Tickets for this route are booked through Greyhound.com.

By plane

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For those flying, the nearest airport is in El Paso, which is roughly 190 mi (310 km) west. Midland International Air and Space Port in Midland, Texas is roughly the same distance. Marfa is roughly six to seven hours from Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. Most travelers typically rent a car at the airport and come by car.

Get around

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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.

 
Chinati Foundation
  • 1 Chinati Foundation, 1 Cavalry Row, +1 432-729-4362. W-Su. 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, 9AM-5PM. 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. $10-25.
  • LéAna Clifton, by appointment, +1 512-695-3168, . Studio of Marfa-based artist and photographer LéAna Clifton.
  • 2 Inde/Jacobs, 208 E San Antonio, +1 432-386-0044. 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.

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.

  • Jett's Grill, +1 432-729-3838. M-Th 5:30PM to 9PM, later on F Sa. Attached to the Hotel Paisano (see below), is named for James Dean's character in "Giant". In addition to a full menu, they offer an outstanding bar selection, including famous margaritas.
  • Pizza Foundation, +1 432-729-3377. 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

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Sleep

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  • 1 Arcon Inn Bed & Breakfast, 215 N Austin St, +1 432-729-4826. Small, there's just three individually decorated rooms, B&B located in downtown Marfa.
  • 2 Hotel Paisano, 207 Highland St, +1 432-729-3669. 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.
  • 3 Riata Inn Marfa, 1500 US-90, +1 432-729-3800.
  • 4 Thunderbird Hotel, 601 W San Antonio St, +1 432-729-1984.
  • 5 El Cosmico, 802 S. Highland Ave, +1 432-729-1950. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Camping, restored and furnished vintage trailers, Dutch tubs. $20-125.

Stay safe

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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 10PM 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.

Connect

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Verizon AT&T and T-Mobile all have cell phone coverage in the whole town. Sprints coverage only covers the western part. The town is covered by a few broadband internet providers. .

Go next

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  • 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, 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
Fort StocktonAlpine  N   S  PresidioOjinaga
Ends at  Van Horn  W   E  AlpineDel Rio
PecosFort Davis  N   S  END


This city travel guide to Marfa is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.