Top-Rated Things to Do in Marfa, TX


By Abigail Lewis

Marfa, Texas is a hidden gem in the expansive West Texas desert. Known for its vibrant arts scene and unique cultural offerings, Marfa has become a destination for travelers seeking something off the beaten path. From its breathtaking natural beauty to its world-class art installations, there is no shortage of top-rated things to do in Marfa.

One of the main draws of Marfa is the mysterious Marfa Lights. These unexplained phenomena have been captivating visitors for decades. Situated in the desert outside of town, these lights appear and disappear in the night sky, leaving scientists and skeptics alike puzzled. Whether you choose to observe them from a distance or take a guided tour, the Marfa Lights are an unforgettable sight.

Marfa is also home to the Chinati Foundation, a contemporary art museum located on a former military base. Founded by artist Donald Judd, the museum houses large-scale installations and sculptures created by Judd and other renowned artists. The Chinati Foundation offers a unique and immersive art experience, allowing visitors to explore Judd’s vision of art in the vast desert landscape.

In addition to its art scene, Marfa is also known for its culinary delights. The town boasts a range of top-rated restaurants and food trucks, offering everything from Tex-Mex cuisine to innovative farm-to-table dishes. Whether you’re craving a classic Texas barbecue or looking to try something new, Marfa has a dining option for everyone.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Marfa offers plenty of activities to enjoy. The nearby Big Bend National Park is a hiker’s paradise, with miles of trails to explore and stunning vistas to admire. From hiking to birdwatching to stargazing, the natural beauty of the West Texas desert is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Whether you’re an art lover, a nature enthusiast, or simply in search of a unique travel experience, Marfa, TX has something for everyone. With its vibrant arts scene, natural beauty, and delicious cuisine, Marfa is a destination that should not be overlooked.

Explore the Charming Art Galleries

Marfa, Texas is known for its vibrant art scene, and exploring the charming art galleries is a must-do activity for any visitor. From contemporary exhibitions to quirky installations, the art galleries in Marfa offer a diverse range of artistic expressions.

Start your art exploration at the Chinati Foundation, a renowned contemporary art museum housed in a former military base. Here, you can admire large-scale installations by famous artists such as Donald Judd and Dan Flavin. The museum’s expansive outdoor sculpture park is also worth a visit, where you can wander among the minimalist and monumental artworks integrated into the desert landscape.

Next, make your way to the Ballroom Marfa, a contemporary arts space that showcases a mix of visual art, film, music, and performance. The gallery often hosts thought-provoking exhibitions that explore sociopolitical themes and engage with the local community. Don’t miss the chance to catch a film screening or live music performance at the Ballroom Marfa during your visit.

If you’re interested in more traditional art forms, head to the Marfa Contemporary. This gallery focuses on presenting work by emerging and established artists in various mediums, including painting, sculpture, and photography. The exhibitions here often reflect the unique culture and landscape of the West Texas region.

For a more immersive art experience, don’t miss the Prada Marfa installation. Located just outside of Marfa, this permanent sculpture resembles a luxury Prada boutique, complete with designer products on display. The installation offers a unique commentary on consumerism and the intersection of art and fashion.

Other notable art galleries to explore in Marfa include the Ronnie Greenberg Gallery, Museum of Electronic Wonders, and Marfa Book Company. Each of these galleries offers a distinct artistic perspective and contributes to the vibrant and ever-evolving art scene in Marfa.

Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or simply interested in exploring the creative offerings of Marfa, immersing yourself in the charming art galleries is sure to inspire and captivate you.

Visit the Iconic Prada Marfa

Located just outside of Marfa, the Prada Marfa art installation is a must-see when visiting the area. The installation, created by artists Elmgreen and Dragset in 2005, resembles a luxury Prada boutique, but is actually empty inside.

As a commentary on consumerism and the fashion industry, Prada Marfa has become an iconic landmark in West Texas. It is a popular spot for art enthusiasts and Instagrammers alike, who come to document its unique blend of high fashion and desert scenery.

When visiting Prada Marfa, be sure to bring your camera to capture the surreal beauty of this unexpected art piece. The installation is located along Highway 90 and is accessible from the road. While you can’t enter the building itself, you can admire it from the outside and take in the vast desert landscape that surrounds it.

Don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the irony of a high-end fashion store placed in the middle of nowhere. The juxtaposition of luxury and desolation is both thought-provoking and visually striking.

Whether you’re interested in art, fashion, or just want to experience something unique, a visit to Prada Marfa is a must. It’s a true testament to the creative spirit of Marfa and a reminder that art can be found in the most unexpected places.

Experience the Marfa Lights Phenomenon

One of the most fascinating and mysterious attractions in Marfa is the Marfa Lights phenomenon. These unexplained lights have been appearing in the night sky outside of Marfa for over a century, captivating visitors and locals alike.

The Marfa Lights have been described as floating orbs or bursts of light that can change color and intensity. They seem to appear randomly and move across the horizon, sometimes vanishing and reappearing in different locations. Scientists and researchers have studied these lights for years, but no one has been able to conclusively determine their origin.

There are several theories about what causes the Marfa Lights. Some believe they are the result of atmospheric conditions and the reflection of lights from nearby towns and highways. Others think they could be the result of natural phenomena like bioluminescence or geological activity.

To witness the Marfa Lights phenomenon, head to the Marfa Lights Viewing Area located along Highway 90, about 9 miles east of Marfa. This dedicated viewing spot provides a clear, unobstructed view of the horizon, making it an ideal place to observe the lights.

Visitors are advised to bring binoculars or telescopes to get a closer look at the lights. In addition, it is recommended to bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit and enjoy the experience comfortably. The best time to see the lights is after sunset, when the sky is dark enough to spot them.

Essential Information
Location: Marfa Lights Viewing Area, along Highway 90, 9 miles east of Marfa
Best time to visit: After sunset
Recommended equipment: Binoculars or telescopes

While the mystery of the Marfa Lights remains unsolved, experiencing this phenomenon is a must-do when visiting Marfa. Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, the Marfa Lights offer a captivating and otherworldly experience that will leave you in awe.

Discover the Unique Chinati Foundation

If you’re looking for a truly one-of-a-kind art experience in Marfa, look no further than the Chinati Foundation. Founded by artist Donald Judd in 1986, this art museum and sculpture park offers a truly unique and immersive experience for art lovers.

The Chinati Foundation is dedicated to preserving and exhibiting large-scale installations and minimalist art. The museum is set on a vast 340-acre former military base and features permanent installations by artists such as Dan Flavin, John Chamberlain, and of course, Donald Judd himself.

One of the highlights of the Chinati Foundation is the installation of 100 untitled works in mill aluminum by Donald Judd. The sculptures are arranged in two restored artillery sheds, allowing visitors to experience the intersection between art and architecture.

Another must-see at the Chinati Foundation is the Dan Flavin installation. The artist’s fluorescent light installations fill six former army barracks, creating an otherworldly and ethereal atmosphere that must be seen to be believed.

Visitors to the Chinati Foundation can also explore the outdoor sculpture garden, which features works by John Chamberlain, David Rabinowitch, and Claes Oldenburg. The vast expanses of the park provide a stunning backdrop for these large-scale sculptures.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Chinati Foundation during your time in Marfa. It truly is a unique and unforgettable art experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Take a Stroll Through the Marfa Historic District

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Marfa by taking a leisurely stroll through the Marfa Historic District. This charming neighborhood is home to a variety of well-preserved and restored buildings that showcase the town’s unique architectural heritage.

As you wander through the district’s streets, you’ll be transported back in time to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The district encompasses a wide range of architectural styles, including Victorian, Adobe, and Spanish Revival, each contributing to the area’s overall charm and character.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the historic courthouse, one of the district’s most iconic landmarks. Built in the 1880s, this impressive structure is a testament to Marfa’s past and serves as a gathering place for the community.

While exploring the district, make a stop at the Marfa and Presidio County Museum. Housed in a former 19th-century hotel, this museum offers an in-depth look at the area’s history through exhibits showcasing everything from Native American artifacts to the ranching and military heritage of the region.

As you continue your stroll, take note of the many art galleries and boutiques that have made their home in the district. Marfa’s art scene is renowned worldwide, and the district is one of the best places to experience the town’s creative spirit firsthand.

Don’t forget to capture some Instagram-worthy snaps of the colorful murals that adorn the district’s buildings. These vibrant works of art are a testament to Marfa’s status as a vibrant and thriving artistic community.

Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply someone looking to experience the charm of Marfa, a stroll through the Marfa Historic District is a must-do. Take your time, soak in the atmosphere, and enjoy the unique blend of history, art, and culture that this neighborhood has to offer.

Enjoy a Delicious Meal at One of Marfa’s Trendy Restaurants

If you’re visiting Marfa, Texas, be sure to check out some of the trendy restaurants in town for a delicious dining experience. Marfa has become known for its vibrant food scene, with talented chefs and unique culinary creations.

One popular spot is “The Capri”, an upscale restaurant with a modern twist. The Capri offers an innovative menu with dishes that showcase local ingredients in a creative way. Their cocktails are also noteworthy, with mixologists crafting unique and enticing drinks.

Another must-visit restaurant is “Cochineal”. Located in a charming historic building, Cochineal serves up farm-to-table dishes with a focus on high-quality ingredients. Their menu changes seasonally, ensuring that you always have a chance to try something new and exciting.

If you’re in the mood for pizza, “Pizza Foundation” is the place to go. This casual eatery offers a variety of artisanal pizzas with creative toppings and a thin, crispy crust. It’s the perfect spot for a laid-back meal with friends or family.

For a taste of Mexico, head to “The Food Shark”. This food truck specializes in delicious Mediterranean influenced Middle Eastern dishes, such as falafel and gyros. They also serve mouthwatering tacos and other Mexican-inspired fare.

If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, “Stellina” is the spot for you. This cozy restaurant offers a small, ever-changing menu with a focus on seasonal and local ingredients. The intimate setting and attentive service make it a perfect choice for a romantic dinner.

With its thriving food scene, Marfa has something to offer every palate. Whether you’re in the mood for a sophisticated meal or a casual bite, you’ll find it in this trendy Texas town.

Visit the Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Area

One of the most popular attractions in Marfa, Texas is the Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Area. Located just outside of town, this unique spot allows visitors to witness the enigmatic phenomenon known as the Marfa Mystery Lights.

The Marfa Mystery Lights have been a source of intrigue and speculation for many years. These unexplained lights appear in the night sky and have baffled scientists, researchers, and locals alike. Some believe that they are the result of headlights or campfires, while others think they are more mysterious in nature. Whatever the explanation, witnessing the Marfa Mystery Lights is an unforgettable experience.

The Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Area provides the perfect vantage point to observe the lights. The area is equipped with picnic tables, benches, and viewing platforms, allowing visitors to comfortably spend hours observing the night sky. The lights can sometimes appear close to the viewer, while other times they may be seen in the distance. It is advised to bring a tripod or binoculars to get the best view.

The Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Area is open year-round and is free for all to visit. Many visitors come in the evening to watch the sunset and then stay to witness the lights as darkness falls. There is also an informative exhibit at the viewing area that provides background information on the lights and their history.

Address Opening Hours Contact
Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Area Open 24/7 555-1234

Whether you are a skeptic or a believer, a visit to the Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Area is a must-do when in Marfa. Witnessing these unexplained lights is a truly unique experience that will leave you with a sense of wonder and curiosity.

Take a Day Trip to the Beautiful Big Bend National Park

If you’re looking to explore the great outdoors while visiting Marfa, TX, a day trip to the stunning Big Bend National Park is a must. Located just a few hours away from Marfa, this vast and diverse park offers a wide range of activities and sights to enjoy.

Big Bend National Park is famous for its breathtaking landscapes, with its towering mountains, deep canyons, and winding rivers. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a birdwatcher, or simply enjoy taking in the beauty of nature, there’s something for everyone at this national park.

One of the most popular activities in Big Bend National Park is hiking. With over 150 miles of trails to explore, hikers can embark on adventures that range from easy strolls to challenging treks. Some of the must-see hikes include the Santa Elena Canyon Trail, which takes you along the Rio Grande and offers stunning views of the towering canyon walls, and the Lost Mine Trail, which rewards hikers with panoramic views of the Chisos Mountains.

If you’re interested in wildlife viewing, Big Bend National Park is home to a wide variety of animals and birds. You may spot mule deer, javelinas, or even mountain lions as you explore the park. Bird enthusiasts will also be delighted by the abundance of bird species, including roadrunners, painted buntings, and golden eagles.

In addition to hiking and wildlife viewing, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in Big Bend National Park. You can go on a scenic drive along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, which offers breathtaking views of the park’s diverse landscapes. You can also take a float trip along the Rio Grande, where you’ll have the opportunity to experience the park from a different perspective and enjoy the tranquility of the river.

After a day of adventures in Big Bend National Park, be sure to take some time to relax and soak in the beauty of the park. Find a quiet spot to enjoy a picnic or simply sit back and take in the breathtaking views.

Plan Your Visit to Big Bend National Park
Location Big Bend National Park, TX
Hours Open 24 hours
Admission $30 per vehicle (valid for 7 days)

Before you head out to Big Bend National Park, make sure to check the park’s website for any updated information on closures or regulations. And don’t forget to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes for your day of exploring!

Stay in a Quirky Marfa Airbnb

When visiting Marfa, Texas, why settle for a typical hotel when you can stay in a quirky Marfa Airbnb? Marfa is known for its unique art installations, hipster vibes, and offbeat charm, and staying in an Airbnb can be the perfect way to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Marfa has no shortage of unique Airbnb options to choose from. Whether you’re looking to stay in an artist’s studio, a converted airstream, or a modern minimalist house, there’s something for everyone. Many of these rentals have been thoughtfully designed and decorated, reflecting the town’s artistic spirit.

One popular option is to stay in a vintage trailer. These retro-chic accommodations offer a cozy and nostalgic experience, with all the modern amenities you need for a comfortable stay. Imagine sipping your morning coffee on a vintage patio chair and watching the sunrise over the desert landscape.

If you prefer a more contemporary setting, Marfa has plenty of modern Airbnb options as well. From sleek and minimalist studios to stylish mid-century houses, you’ll feel like you’re staying in a design magazine. These rentals often feature unique architectural details and curated furniture, providing a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

In addition to their charming interiors, many Marfa Airbnbs are located in the heart of town, allowing you to easily explore the local art galleries, restaurants, and shops. You’ll be just steps away from experiencing Marfa’s vibrant cultural scene, making it easy to fully immerse yourself in the town’s atmosphere.

So, when planning your trip to Marfa, consider skipping the traditional hotel and book a stay in a quirky Marfa Airbnb. It’s the perfect way to enhance your visit and make memories that will last long after your trip is over.

Attend an Art Opening or Event in Marfa

Marfa is known for its vibrant arts scene and is home to a variety of galleries, art spaces, and cultural events. One of the top-rated things to do in Marfa is to attend an art opening or event.

Throughout the year, Marfa hosts a range of art exhibitions, installations, and performances that showcase the work of local and international artists. These events provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the creative atmosphere of the town and discover new and exciting works of art.

One of the most famous art events in Marfa is the Chinati Foundation Open House Weekend, which takes place every year in October. During this event, visitors have the chance to explore the iconic Chinati Foundation and view its extensive collection of contemporary art. The Open House Weekend also includes artist talks, live performances, and special exhibitions.

Another must-visit event in Marfa is the Marfa Myths festival, which is a collaboration between the Ballroom Marfa art space and the Brooklyn-based record label Mexican Summer. This annual festival brings together musicians, visual artists, and filmmakers for a weekend of concerts, exhibitions, and film screenings.

In addition to these major events, Marfa also hosts regular art openings and gallery exhibitions throughout the year. These openings give visitors the chance to see new artwork and meet the artists themselves. Visitors can also explore the numerous galleries scattered throughout the town, such as the Marfa Contemporary and the Wrong Store, to discover even more exciting art.

Attending an art opening or event in Marfa is a unique and enriching experience that allows you to engage with the town’s vibrant arts community and discover cutting-edge contemporary art. Whether you are an art enthusiast or simply curious about the creative scene, attending these events should be at the top of your list of things to do in Marfa.

Explore the El Cosmico Campground and Bazaar

If you’re looking for a unique experience in Marfa, Texas, look no further than the El Cosmico Campground and Bazaar. This eclectic and charming destination is a must-visit for those seeking a one-of-a-kind adventure.

The El Cosmico Campground offers a range of accommodations, from vintage trailers to tepees and yurts. Each option is tastefully decorated and provides a comfortable and cozy space to rest and relax after a day of exploring the area. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, there is an accommodation option to suit your needs.

Once you’ve settled into your accommodations, take some time to explore the El Cosmico Bazaar. This onsite shop offers a curated selection of unique items, including artisan crafts, vintage clothing, and books. You’ll find something special to take home as a memento of your time in Marfa.

For those looking to connect with nature, the El Cosmico Campground is the perfect basecamp for exploring the surrounding landscape. There are hiking and biking trails nearby, as well as opportunities for stargazing and birdwatching. The campground also offers communal outdoor kitchen spaces and hammock groves, where you can relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, the El Cosmico Campground and Bazaar has something for everyone. Make sure to add this unique destination to your list of must-visit places in Marfa, Texas.

Discover the Pristine Marfa Grasslands

The Marfa Grasslands is a breathtaking natural landscape located just outside the town of Marfa, Texas. This expansive grassland is known for its untouched beauty and diverse wildlife.

Visitors to the Marfa Grasslands can explore the vast expanse of rolling hills, tallgrass prairies, and scattered clumps of trees. The untouched nature of this grassland creates a serene environment that is perfect for hiking, birdwatching, and photography.

One of the highlights of the Marfa Grasslands is the chance to spot some of the unique wildlife that calls this area home. Visitors may catch a glimpse of pronghorn antelope, roadrunners, and golden eagles, among other species. Birdwatchers are particularly drawn to the area for its abundance of avian species.

For those interested in hiking, there are several trails that wind through the Marfa Grasslands, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, there is a trail for every ability level.

In addition to its natural beauty, the Marfa Grasslands also hold cultural significance. The area is rich in history and has been a part of the region’s ranching heritage for centuries. Visitors can learn about the history and culture of the area through interpretive signs and exhibits.

Overall, the Marfa Grasslands offer a tranquil and scenic escape from city life. Whether you’re a nature lover, hiker, photographer, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, the Marfa Grasslands are not to be missed during your visit to Marfa, Texas.


What are the top-rated things to do in Marfa, TX?

Some of the top-rated things to do in Marfa, TX include visiting the Chinati Foundation, exploring the Marfa Lights, checking out the Judd Foundation, taking a trip to the Marfa Prada art installation, and enjoying the local food and music scene.

Where is the Chinati Foundation located in Marfa, TX?

The Chinati Foundation is located at 1 Cavalry Row in Marfa, TX. It is a contemporary art museum that features the work of Donald Judd and other artists.

What are the Marfa Lights?

The Marfa Lights are unexplained phenomena that appear as glowing orbs or lights in the desert outside of Marfa, TX. Some people believe the lights are supernatural, while others think they have a scientific explanation. Many visitors come to Marfa to see if they can witness the mysterious lights themselves.

What can you see at the Judd Foundation in Marfa, TX?

The Judd Foundation in Marfa, TX allows visitors to experience the artwork and living spaces of minimalist artist Donald Judd. You can explore Judd’s former homes and studios, as well as view his sculptures and installations. The foundation also offers guided tours and educational programs.

Is the Marfa Prada art installation a real Prada store?

No, the Marfa Prada art installation is not a real Prada store. It is a permanent art installation that resembles a Prada boutique and showcases luxury goods from the 2005 collection. The installation is located off Highway 90 and is a popular tourist attraction in Marfa.

What are the top-rated things to do in Marfa, TX?

Marfa, TX offers a range of top-rated attractions and activities for visitors. Some of the most highly recommended things to do include visiting the Chinati Foundation, which is a contemporary art museum showcasing large-scale installations, exploring the Marfa Lights viewing area to witness mysterious light phenomena, visiting the historic Presidio County Courthouse, exploring the unique shops and galleries in Marfa’s downtown area, and taking a scenic drive through the breathtaking West Texas landscape.


An Overnight Stay in MARFA, TEXAS | Hotel Paisano, Downtown, Mystery Marfa Lights, & Prada Marfa

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Abigail Lewis

Abigail Lewis, a valued Cancun resident since 2008, skillfully combines her extensive knowledge of the region with her travels across Mexico in her engaging TravelAsker pieces. An experienced traveler and dedicated mother, she brings the lively spirit of Mexico to her articles, featuring top family-friendly destinations, dining, resorts, and activities. Fluent in two languages, Abigail unveils Mexico's hidden gems, becoming your trustworthy travel companion in exploring the country.

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