Stop two on our Van Life road trip was in Marfa, Texas. Marfa is a charming town located a little over an hour and a half from Big Bend. We have heard great things and seen beautiful photos, so we decided to see what all the hype was about.
Marfa is a town perfect for creatives. In fact, it is rumored Marfa is named after a character from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.
Between the art deco style of the buildings, minimalistic art, and mysterious dancing lights, Marfa is a wonder to be seen by all. Many people find art and design inspiration in Marfa, and others enjoy it as a quiet place to work.
A few tips…
Many things are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Apparently, we came on the off days because a lot of the places we wanted to check out were closed. Marfa is much more lively on the weekends.
Locals go on summer break too. Many shops/restaurants were closed for summer break since shop owners were out of town. Sometimes this is without warning, so be sure to call ahead if you have your heart set on something.
Where to stay
There are several popular places to stay in Marfa, but we love Hotel Paisano. Between the rich history and amenities, it really cannot be beat.
Hotel Paisana opened in 1930, and is currently a running historical hotel. In 1955, James Dean filmed his last movie, Giant, alongside Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor, in Marfa. Warner Brothers made Hotel Paisano its headquarters for the duration of filming the movie. Now, you can relive those days through photos and captions located throughout the hotel.
Today, there are 41 guest rooms, a pool, fitness center, restaurant, lounge, courtyard, and more.
They created the outdoor pool to be an oasis and a perfect way to escape the heat. We enjoyed meeting people and cooling off after happy hour at Jett’s Grill.
There are a few different rooms to chose from. The mezzanine patio room has a large private patio with a fireplace. June is much too hot for a fire, but it would be perfect for the other seasons. I loved having a place to step out for fresh air in the mornings.
Highlights from the room: comfortable bed, Keurig coffee maker, and complimentary bottled waters (that were even replaced the next day).
Where to eat
In the mornings, Jett’s Grill inside Hotel Paisano, serves giant homemade breakfast burritos and other quick breakfast bites. Grab a cup of complimentary coffee, tea, or hot chocolate to go with your meal. You can enjoy your meal inside or outside in the beautiful courtyard. Usually I am hungry 3-4 hours after eating, but this burrito filled me up for much longer.
Jett’s Grill also has a great happy hour menu. Order the artichoke dip and prickly pear margarita.
You can also grab dinner and eat out on the beautiful patio. The food is delicious and they are open 7 days a week.
Bar Saint George
If you are looking for a delicious meal, but you don’t want to pay $30 a person, check out Bar Saint George at the St. George Hotel. Happy Hour is 4-6 and includes $5 drinks, $2 off draft beers and several bites.
Order the HSG burger. They top the wagyu beef patty with cheddar cheese and bacon jam. The bacon jam gives the burger a very slight sweet flavor, but also adds to the smoky, juiciness of the burger.
The chicken tinga tacos are also an excellent choice and were recommended as our server’s favorite menu item. Honestly, if I never took a bite of the burger, I would have loved these even more. That burger stole the show.
Squeeze Marfa has developed their menu over the last 13 years. Currently, they offer breakfast and lunch favorites including delicious breakfast sandwiches, Big Bend Coffee, cappuccinos, smoothies, juices, salads, hummus, waffles, and more. Check out their menu to see more of their healthy and fresh options.
Tumbleweed Laundry is a coffee shop connected to a laundry mat. Colton and I spent a couple hours working in the coffee shop while he sipped on cold brew. Best part of this place, they carry Henry’s Homemade Ice-cream straight from Plano, TX. Great taste of home!
What to do
Visit various art galleries scattered around Marfa. The most popular gallery is Chianti Foundation, a contemporary art gallery founded by Donald Judd. Judd is big in Marfa, and many artists are inspired by his works.
One of the strangest things to experience are the Marfa lights. There is much mystery around these random lights since no one knows what causes them. Head over to the viewing station and watch them for yourself.
Prada Marfa is an art installation located about 26 miles northwest of Marfa. Stop by and snap a photo off the highway at this famous site.
Visit the shops
Shop local and visit one of the many shops in Marfa. There are a variety of different shops to walk around in, whether you are a candy fantastic, looking for the perfect gift, or want something new to wear.
Watch the sunset
Marfa has a great view of the famous Texas skies and sunsets. Step out in the desert for some golden hour photos, or set up a chair and watch the sun disappear into the horizon.
When you are around a variety of artists, beautiful buildings, cool architecture, and people, creativity runs through. Marfa is about the experience, so take a minute to take it all in.
Check out stop one of our Van Life trip, Big Bend National Park. Read more about Maeve, our 1978 Volkswagen Westfalia.
Have you been to Marfa? Would you check it out? Leave me a comment below!