Marfa, Texas has been on my list of places to go but being in far out West Texas, it’s not a spot that one just “swings by”. The artist Donal Judd put this tiny town on the map when he bought two large hangars in the 70s and and began to permanently install his minimalist art. In recent years, there has been a new migration of artists and free-spirits that are bringing a revitalization to downtown. I was lucky enough to come out for a long visit with Google’s #TeamPixel for Yeah Field Trip (a hands-on creative retreat hosted in various locales.) If you make Marfa a destination, here are few spots to hit in town. (But honestly, it’s so tiny you can’t miss anything!)
Two main foundations, the Chinati Foundation and the Judd Foundation, preserve Judd’s legacy and the artwork that was created here along with new galleries that are bringing a fresh perspective.
Chinati Foundation: (1 Cavalry Row)
Chinati is one of two Foundations that is preserving the vision of Judd. There are a handful of buildings and exhibits spanning the property and all are opened at different times so be prepared to spend the day trekking back and forth to see it all. (Note: if you buy your ticket in the afternoon after the morning exhibits close, you are able to come back the next day to see the other exhibits that you missed!) Self guided tours are $10 and guided tours are $25. (No photography allowed=self guided for sure)
Judd Foundation: (104 South Highland Ave.)
The Judd Foundation maintains 11 buildings in downtown Marfa that include his residence and studio (The Block), and various art studios: print building, architecture studio, Cobb House and Whyte Building. Again, these are all open at very specific times during the day. I would suggest stopping by the Foundation Office to get the deets and book a tour. (. 9am - 5pm daily. Tours $25)
Ballroom Marfa: (108 E. San Antonio St.)
The people behind Ballroom brought you Prada Marfa, a site specific, permanent land art project by artists Elmgreen & Dragset that is modeled after a Prada store set in the middle of nowhere. (40ish miles outside of Marfa and about 1 mile west of Valentine, TX)
Pure Joy (303 E El Paso St.)
Founded by artist Meghan Gerety, Pure Joy is a multipurpose space made up of a gallery and a store specializing in books and objects.
EAT + DRINK
Because Marfa is such a small town most places have limited or weekend only hours. Definitely check if places are open before you head out!
Do Your Thing Coffee: Interesting drinks (like a black charcoal espresso drink!) + toast! (201 E Dallas St.)
Al Campo: Great food with great outdoor seating. When it’s outside, you can really justify having a cold glass of rose! If you’re feeling brave, Slowpoke tattoo is on-site in a cutie little airstream offering hand-poked tats! (Also, I ate the veggie salad an embarrassing amount of times but the pull pork is soooo good too.)
Stellina: Looks cuuuuuute but I never was able to go when they were open! (103 Highland St.)
Cochineal: Had such a lovely meal here! The Winter Vegetable Flan and Miso Sable Fish were amazing. (107 West San Antonio St.)
LaVenture at Hotel St. George: Open all day everyday. (105 South Highland St.)
Pizza Foundation: Supposedly this pizza is amazing. They were sold out the night we tried to go so maybe it’s true! (305 S. Spring St.)
El Cosmico: Ugh. Just the cutest little vintage trailers and safari tents west of the Mississippi! El Cosmico is somewhere between glamping and boutique hotel. The trailers have individual kitchens, bathrooms (with a outdoor showers—but not in a glamorous way) and beds, while the safari tents offer platform beds with electric blankets, and electrical outlets. There are a few outdoor communal bathrooms and showers spread across the grounds and an adorable main lobby with artisanal products and snacks.
Hotel St. George: Built on the site of the original Hotel St. George established in 1886, the hotel maintains some of the past and fused with local artistry.
The Thunderbird: Though vague in what you can find out about this place online, there is def a bit of an intrigue here with sayings like “We’re open when we’re open” and “Book now or don’t”. Here you will find a no-frills revamped retro vibe and the treat of a wonderful restaurant, The Capri.
Airbnb: There are sooooo many cool looking houses in Marfa that I would actually prefer to stay at one (or many!) of these than a hotel!