A Guide to the 15 Coolest Things to Do in Marfa, Texas, in a Weekend

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Article written by: Rebecca
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Looking for a guide to the best things to do in Marfa TX in a weekend? You’ve come to the right place! Read on to discover why this little Texas town is worth a visit.

I don’t remember where or when I first heard about Marfa, but I do remember thinking, “This can’t be Texas.”

An arty hub with a mystical – almost mythical – appeal, it was first made famous when the Elizabeth Taylor film Giant was filmed there. Later, the minimalist artist Donald Judd arrived in the town and set about acquiring buildings and land, which he filled with artwork.

Since then, the dusty desert town of barely 2,000 people has attracted artists, celebrities (like, Beyoncé-level celebrities), new residents looking for the simple life – and, of course, camera-toting tourists curious to discover this hip little town.

We decided it was the perfect starting point for a West Texas road trip.

Over a weekend in Marfa Texas, we ate, wandered and relaxed, and took hundreds of photos. We took it slowly, as the people of Marfa do. This is a town with no schedule, where restaurants and shops don’t particularly care for abiding by their stated hours of operation, or for answering emails or phone calls. Roll with it!

Here are the best things to add to your Marfa itinerary!

A towering white water tank labeled 'MARFA' stands prominently against a clear blue sky above a quiet street lined with power lines and a large beige building.

This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

Marfa quick reference guide

Get there: The nearest airport is in El Paso, 3 hours away. From Dallas, it’s an 8-hour drive (520 miles), Austin to Marfa is about 6.5 hours (429 miles), 8.5 hours from Houston to Marfa (597 miles) and 6 hours from San Antonio (404 miles)

Where to stay in Marfa: El Cosmico for funky glamping; the minimalist-chic Thunderbird Hotel; Hotel Paisano where you can sleep in the rooms in which Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean slept

Rent a car: You’ll need a car to get to Marfa and to get around. I like to compare options on DiscoverCars before booking

Must-eat: A burrito from Marfa Burrito

Pack: Sunscreen; a reusable water bottle; moisturiser to stay hydrated; a cool backpack; sunglasses

Things to do in Marfa

You’ll need to plan ahead for your visit to Marfa, so you don’t miss something because it’s closed. Most places are closed earlier in the week, so plan to be there later in the week or ideally on a weekend.

And while there’s a tonne of things to do in Marfa, there’s also a lot to do in the surrounding area, so make your visit part of a wider West Texas road trip.

Important! A lot of things have changed in Marfa, and this article has been edited heavily to remove a number of attractions, cafes, bars and restaurants that have sadly closed. I’ve noticed many other bloggers haven’t updated their articles, but you can be assured that this article is up-to-date (as of April 2024).

1. Prada Marfa

Google “what to do in Marfa” and this is the spot that will pop up first.

No, it’s not a real Prada store dropped into the desert, rather, it’s an art installation and now popular selfie-snapping site. About 40 minutes from Marfa, it’s actually located in the small town of Valentine and is probably the top must-do item for most visitors to Marfa.

There are always a tonne of cars pulling up here for photo opportunities, but be patient and it won’t take long to get your own I-was-the-only-one-here-in-this-awesome-deserted-spot photos.

The famous Prada Marfa art installation appears as a small, solitary building with large windows displaying luxury bags and shoes, set against the vast Texas desert landscape. The Prada Marfa building is one of the best things to do in Marfa.

2. Chinati Foundation

No Marfa guide is complete without some art. Donald Judd’s collection of works at the Chinati Foundation is the most famous.

Donald Judd is the man responsible for first putting Marfa on the map, so to speak, and his influence is everywhere in the town.

Book a tour to see the main collections (3 hours, $25). If you’re only there to see the large concrete works scattered across the desert (15 untitled works in concrete), you won’t need a reservation. Wear comfy shoes because there’s a lot of walking over this huge installation.

3. Judd Foundation Studios

Want to dive even deeper into Judd’s works? Visit his downtown studios (his other workspace is in New York City).

Here, you’ll find furniture by Judd as well as some of his early paintings from the 1950s and 1960s.

Visits are by guided tour only, which last around 1.5 hours and cost $30.

A close-up view of a corner of a white building with a door ajar, displaying the red text 'JUDD ART STUDIO' on a white wall with black and white tiles at the bottom.

4. Ballroom Marfa

A converted dancehall, Ballroom Marfa is an essential place for any art lover. This contemporary art and performance space is one of the best free things to do in Marfa.

Exhibitions change regularly and can feature everything from visual art, film, sculpture and music.

Even if you’re not into art, take a stroll by. It’s a gorgeous building and the staff are really welcoming.

A white building with a stone facade around the entrance, featuring a teal-colored sign saying 'BALLROOM MARFA', indicative of a contemporary arts space in Marfa. Ballroom Marfa is a must-visit in Marfa Texas.

5. Marfa Mystery Lights

Car headlights? Campfires? Or UFOs? You decide. The Marfa Mystery Lights have been attracting visitors for decades.

You may not be able to see the lights every night, but it’s worth a try. Take a sweater or blanket (and some wine) to the Marfa Viewing Lights Area as it can get chilly there at night.

6. Star Party

About 40 minutes from Marfa is the McDonald Observatory, which hosts “Star Parties” every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evening. This is one of the darkest places in the United States, making it the perfect place to spot constellations. It’s an activity that’s suitable for the whole family.

Of course, you can’t always guarantee a clear view of the sky (as we found out when we visited on a cloudy night), but the team does a great job of finding alternative activities if it’s overcast.

7. Marfa Burrito

While a lot of places have closed in Marfa over recent years, one has been a mainstay: Marfa Burrito.

Literally served out of Ramona’s kitchen, brush up on your Spanish for ordering these huge burritos. Marfa Burrito (515 S Highland Ave) is a must-visit.

8. Food Shark truck

Famous from Beyoncé’s photos, Food Shark used to serve up delicious Mediterranean bites and daily specials like jalapeño pulled pork burritos (god, they were goooood). Patrons were fed at tables in the sunshine outside or in the converted dining bus.

Unfortunately, the food is no longer. BUT you can still take a selfie in front of the cool truck.

A food truck labeled 'FOOD SHARK' with a retro aesthetic is parked under trees, serving customers, with vintage cars parked nearby, suggesting a popular local eatery.

9. La Venture

This upscale Marfa dining venue is inside the Hotel Saint George. La Venture has plenty of seating in the large dining room, but it’s best to make a reservation.

The food is delicious – and despite the fact that it’s inside one of the nicest hotels in Marfa, it’s decently priced. The staff are really down-to-earth and know their wine.

Address: 105 S Highland Ave

A night shot of the exterior brick wall of 'LAVENTURE RESTAURANT' with the restaurant's name in metal letters casting a shadow, hinting at a dining option in Marfa. La Venture is one of the best places to eat in Marfa Texas.

10. The Get Go

Probably the hippest supermarket I’ve ever set foot in. If you’re self-catering, stop by The Get Go. It’s pricey (given the remote location of Marfa), but it has most items you’ll need.

It’s also great for a quick, grab-and-go lunch.

If you’re on a budget during your trip to Marfa, it’s worth bringing supplies with you to save money.

Address: 208 S Dean St

The storefront of 'THE GET GO' grocery store with large windows, an orange sign, reflecting Marfa's local businesses.

11. Marfa Brands

I’m not usually a shopper, but my husband had to drag me out of Marfa Brands. I picked up a few of their gorgeous-smelling handmade soaps and loved their candle holders made from old Topo Chico bottles.

Everything is made at their workshop in Marfa.

Address: 213 S Dean St

A minimalist interior of a shop with natural light, featuring a red chandelier, simple wooden furniture, and neatly organised shelves with products. Marfa Brands is one of the gorgeous places to shop in West Texas.

12. Wander the streets

You could easily spend a few hours just walking up and down the wide, dusty streets of Marfa.

A lot of the architecture here is art deco, and our favourite buildings were the Palace Theater and the old baby-pink fire station.

13. Visit Big Bend

You might be pressed for time to squeeze a trip to Big Bend National Park into your weekend in Marfa, but if you can, you won’t be disappointed.

The thing I love about this part of Texas is the wide open spaces, and Big Bend has these in spades. A quick hike for those short on time is the Santa Elena Canyon hike. The short trail leads to spectacular views of the canyon, with the Rio Grande River running through.

14. Cobra Rock

The perfect wearable souvenir from Marfa is anything from Cobra Rock. This shop has been featured in Vogue and The New York Times, and sells handmade, leather boots and shoes.

The store is beautiful and the shoes, coats and jackets are something you’ll get compliments on.

Address: 211 S Dean St

15. Marfa Book Company

I can never resist a bookstore when I’m travelling, and Marfa Book Company has a well-curated selection of literature, poetry and photo books.

Address: 300 S Kelly S

Where to stay in Marfa

We checked into El Cosmico, a chic Marfa glamping spot. Take your pick of teepees, safari tents, yurts or – as we did – a restored trailer.

We stayed in the Royal Mansion trailer (now called simply a Large Trailer) and it had everything we needed for a comfortable stay: comfy bed, stove, fridge, a heater and a great deck to hang out on. Showers are outdoors, and only for the brave in winter (I used up all the hot water and my husband wasn’t happy!).

El Cosmico has a provisions shop with snacks and souvenirs and friendly staff who’ll even heat up the outdoor wood-fired hot tubs.

Bonus: it’s dog-friendly.

Even if you’re not staying here, one of the fun things to do in Marfa is to stop by El Cosmico for a visit.

A vintage green and white travel trailer with a small wooden porch and a friendly dog - the author's French Bulldog -sitting in front, epitomising quirky lodging options in Marfa.
Our dog Diego enjoyed his stay at El Cosmico!
An open area with multiple retro trailers and teepees under a clear blue sky, indicating a unique outdoor accommodation experience in Marfa Texas.

Other Marfa hotels

If you’re not into outdoor showers, other Marfa hotels include the minimalist-chic Thunderbird Hotel, which has a cool vibe, or the Hotel Saint George, which has several modern rooms.

Also try the Hotel Paisano where you can sleep in the rooms in which Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean slept. Or simply just stop by here for drinks in the sunny courtyard.

The historic Hotel Paisano with a prominent sign atop, flanked by tall cypress trees against a dusky sky, highlighting a landmark stay in Marfa. Texas.

Marfa vacation rentals

There are also several vacation rentals in the area. My picks would be:

Visit Marfa: FAQs

Where is Marfa?

Marfa is located in far, far, far west Texas. It’s only 100 kilometres (62 miles) to the Mexican border from here.

How to get to Marfa

Be warned: any plans to travel to Marfa, Texas will involve a lot of time on the road.

We chose to drive to Marfa and (with a pit stop for dinner) it was a long nine-hour drive from Dallas along the I-20.

From Austin to Marfa, it’s about 6.5 hours (429 miles), 8.5 hours from Houston to Marfa (597 miles) and 6 hours from San Antonio (404 miles).

You can fly into El Paso or Midland and rent a car, but you’ve still got a three-hour drive ahead of you.

Marfa is far, far away from everywhere. But totally worth the drive.

A wide street view of Marfa during twilight with soft clouds, a leafless tree silhouette, and buildings in the distance, conveying a tranquil small-town feel.

Best time to visit Marfa

If you’re wondering when to visit Marfa, no matter the time of year, it’s the weekend. The weekend is the only time to fully experience the town. Restaurants, galleries and bars close Monday and Tuesday, and it’s quiet during the rest of the week. While opening hours can still be sporadic on the weekend, you’re guaranteed to find more places open than during the week.

The months of April to June and August to October are the best times to visit Marfa to avoid either the extreme heat or extreme cold. We visited in December (over Christmas) and were lucky to have beautiful sunny days, but the nights were bitterly cold. Just after we left, it snowed.

A woman - the author of this article - poses with her small French Bulldog in front of a pastel-colored trailer with the word 'DIRT' in bold pink letters, suggesting a playful side to Marfa's local scene.

Things to know before you visit Marfa

  • In the busy months (summer), book ahead for accommodation. There are limited hotel options.
  • Bring cash – there are only a couple of ATMs in town.
  • It’s the desert out here, so keep that in mind. You’ll probably find your skin and hair a little drier, and feel a little thirstier than usual, so stay hydrated.
  • Mobile phone coverage can be spotty, to say the least. But you’re here to get off the grid and enjoy the local vibe, right?

So, there you have it, my Marfa travel guide with what to do, where to eat and where to stay. Enjoy your visit!

Did you find this article helpful? Consider buying me a coffee as a way to say thanks!

Have you made the trip to one of the coolest Texas destinations? What are your favourite things to do in Marfa? Let me know in the comments below.

Related posts

Before you go… Looking for more Texas travel inspiration? You might like these articles…


  • Book flights to and around the USA online with Skyscanner. I like this site because it shows me which dates are cheaper.
  • Find a great hotel in the USA. Check prices on Booking.com and Expedia online.
  • Check out the huge range of day tours throughout the USA on GetYourGuide or Viator. There’s something for everyone.
  • A copy of the Lonely Planet guide to the USA will be handy.
  • One thing I always purchase is travel insurance! Travel Insurance Master allows you to compare across multiple policy providers, while SafetyWing is great for long-term travellers and digital nomads.


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I'm a travel junkie who started dreaming about seeing the world from a very young age. I've visited more than 40 countries and have a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management. A former expat, I've lived in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Argentina and the United States. I share travel resources, tips and stories based on my personal experiences, and my goal is to make travel planning just that bit easier.

18 thoughts on “A Guide to the 15 Coolest Things to Do in Marfa, Texas, in a Weekend”

  1. Thanks for all this information! It looks like a lot of the food places you mentioned – Pizza Foundation, Stellina, and even Capri are closed (not sure if permanently or only temporarily). We are going in a couple of weeks so hoping there are some food options open.

  2. That homemade sourdough toast looks out of this world delicious. I’ve never heard of this town — but I’ve always wanted to do a road trip across Texas, so I’ll have to keep this in mind as a potential stop!

    • There are plenty of road trip opportunities in Texas, but I have to say this one was so surprising to me. Worth the 9 hour drive from Dallas!


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