Three and a half hours east of El Paso, Texas sits a quiet artist community called Marfa. And one weekend in late February, we set out to explore its small-town wonders.
Well known as that-spot-all-your-friends-Instagrammed-with-the-Prada-store-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, the town is home to several marvels of modern art. That Prada store is actually a permanent installation built in 2005 by artists Elmgreen and Dragset – and to be fully accurate, is 26 miles northwest of Marfa. There’s also The Chinati Foundation, founded by artist Donald Judd, which was founded on a goal to “bring art, architecture, and nature together in order to form a coherent whole.”
There’s a charm to how slow things move in Marfa, how the guy who serves you your coffee might not even own a cell phone. An enclave full of urban American ex-pats too tired of the bustle of city life.
You could easily walk the town in several hours. Small businesses line the main streets, a pizza spot here, a small gallery there, the public radio station at the center of it all.
Highlights: Downing beers at Lost Horse Saloon, Marfa’s one and only dive bar. The 10 mile drive up north to find the Marfa Lights, a stunning lookout point where you can see every star in the sky, and some mysteriously-lit orbs in the distance which have no scientific explanation. Starting off the morning walking from the retro-chic Thunderbird Hotel to Do Your Thing coffee shop, for a Sqirl-esque porridge and espresso.
Lowlights: Not too many places are open late, so you might want to get comfortable Dairy Queen.
Recommends: Bring a coat (it gets chilly) and a camera. For a place with a population of under 2000, there’s a lot to see.