Most people agree that Marfa is really 2 different places. As such, it is a challenging place for which to give recommendations. For an art connoisseur, and someone who can appreciate the more esoteric pieces and understand what artist Donald Judd was trying to do here, it is a uniquely impressive place. For those that spent time in Marfa before the art and tourist explosion of the last 15-20 years, it may seem a bit over-hyped and pretentious. Through whichever lens you see Marfa, it is definitely a very interesting place full of dramatic contrasts.

What To Do

Marfa is, without a doubt, the most interesting town in all of Far West Texas. What to do in Marfa really depends on why you are here. If you come to Marfa for the art scene or for one of its many festivals, there is no shortage of galleries and installations to explore. If you come to Marfa as part of a journey to explore Far West Texas, you will be more drawn to the walking tour, the courthouse, and the architecture.


Presidio County Courthouse


The impressive courthouse in the middle of town (it’s hard to miss) allows visitors to climb the 5-story staircase up to the viewing area. The fantatic 360-degree views of the surrounding area are worth the climb.


Walking around town


Marfa is the most walkable of all the towns in the region, with several main (but not busy) streets surrounding the courthouse. There is a very eclectic array of old buildings and storefronts, in various states of repair. Some of the large older houses in the northwest corner (behind the courthouse) are quite impressive.


Art scene


Art is definitely subjective, and there is a sizable array of indoor and outdoor installations in and just outside of Marfa. There is also quite a range of prices for the art in the area. There are a few free galleries (including the popular Prada Marfa installation) but a guided tour of the extended collection at the Chinati is not cheap (prices vary).




Having once focused more on local authors and books about the area around Marfa, it has moved more towards international art, art theory, and poetry journals. As you will likely be told multiple times while in Marfa, “it’s the ONLY place in town to buy the New York Times” (if that's a selling point).




Marfa has a good collection of small boutique shops. Among others, we recommend Marfa Brand Soap and the gift shop at the Hotel Paisano.


Marfa Gliders


If you are so inclined, you can see Marfa from the air. Since 2001, visitors to Marfa have had the option of viewing the area in a glider. Marfa Gliders offers flights over the area (1 person + pilot), as well as pilot and glider instruction.

Where to Stay

Like the recommended activities in Marfa, lodging recommendations depend on your preferences. The top 2 hotels are quite different from one another. If you're into modern/minimalist archtecture, the St. George is your place. If you are into older/classical architecture, you'll definitely want the Paisano. And of course, if you want to sleep in a tent for $150 a night, feel free to check out El Cosmico.


Hotel Paisano


The Paisano is one of our favorite hotels in all of Far West Texas. It was built in the 20’s, but purchased in the early 90’s by a husband and wife from Fort Davis and completely redone. The quality of the restoration is impressive, with the original light and plumbing fixtures in most of the hotel. The common areas are an impressive mix of Spanish and Western styles. The prices are comparable to several other hotels in town that are not anywhere near as nice.


The Saint George


If you are looking for a more modern experience and don’t mind paying a bit more, the Saint George is a great option. It is the other “large” hotel in town and is across the street from the Paisano. There is a restaurant and bookstore on the first floor.


Where to Eat

Navigating the restaurant scene in Marfa can be a bit of a challenge, and it is important to set your expectations properly. Many of the higher-end restaurants have good, but somewhat underwhelming food. For the most part the best value in Marfa restaurants are those on the cheaper side.


Given the small size of Marfa's full-time population and the spikes in population during certain events, the number of people in Marfa at any one time can vary wildly. As such, the hours of many restaurants are very inconsistent, with many places closed during the week. It is recommended that you plan in advance and make sure your restaurant of choice will be open during your visit.


Food Shark


One of the more consistent (in a good way) meals in Marfa is at Food Shark. A small trailer just outside of the town center, they have several signature dishes. The most popular being the “Marfalafel”. Any of their lamb dishes are excellent.


Marfa Burrito


One of the other fixtures in Marfa is Marfa Burrito. Several options, all fresh ingredients, and homemade tortillas make this one of the best meals you will have in town..




One of the few higher-end restaurants that people agree on is Cochineal. The menu changes almost daily and there is a good variety of dishes. The beef is usually the way to go. Only open Friday and Saturday for dinner.