Travel

Printfresh Travel Guide: Marfa

Printfresh founder Amy and her husband Leo took on the long journey to Marfa, Texas in search of relaxation and inspiration. An artistic destination with minimal distractions, Marfa was the perfect spot for Amy to focus on reading, writing, and expanding her personal photography work. Read her guide to Marfa for inspiration on where to stay and what creative shops you must see!
August 2021
Printfresh Travel Guide: Marfa
Printfresh Travel Guide: Marfa

How to Get There & Where to Stay

One of the best parts of Marfa is its remote location, but that does mean extra travel time. You’ll need to fly into either Midland or El Paso, get a rental car, and then drive for about 2.5 hours. I made a fun playlist which helped us stay awake for the drive. Also beware of mirages - the whole drive it looked like the road was wet. It is a trek, but you’ll probably only come here once in a lifetime - It is the ideal destination for those looking to unplug!

Once you’ve made it to Marfa, there are many different options for where to stay - vacation rentals, boutique hotels, and camping for those who love an adventure. We decided to start our stay at Thunderbird, a locally run hotel since 1959 that was renovated into a contemporary boutique motel with a pool. The rooms are nicely designed and fairly contactless - which was a great fit for our timing of travel during the pandemic.

Photo credit: <u><a href="https://www.kathylinaacosta.com/abouttarget="_blank">Kathylina Acosta</a></u>
Photo credit: Kathylina Acosta


For our last night in Marfa we decided to try out El Cosmico - a property that includes vintage trailers, safari tents, tepees, and more. I’d seen a lot of interesting photos and was always curious about staying in a tiny house (hint, not for me and Leo!). Although I believe their intention is to celebrate global travel and nomadic cultures, it did feel a bit appropriative. This article offers a critical perspective that is important food for thought. If I were to go back again with friends, I’d want to try staying at Corte Del Norte

As much as I loved our trip, I will say that the internet definitely over-hypes Marfa and there’s not a ton there - it’s best suited toward low-maintenance travelers looking to relax. Because of its remote location and reliance on deliveries and water towers, I imagine it could be a frustrating experience for people with specific dietary needs, as it can be a challenge for restaurants to stay stocked. All in all, I’d probably say that it’s a great vacation for a low-key-design-loving-wanderer who likes to travel with their dog. 

Leo wearing Bagheera Men's Short Sleeve Button Down Shirt in Indigo ; Amy wearing Bagheera Long Sleeve Sleep Set in Hot Pink

Things to Do/See in Marfa

Many businesses are closed Monday-Wednesday so it’s best to plan to hike, relax, and do some photography on those days. You’ll really want to be there through the weekend to get to experience the art galleries and shops to the fullest extent.

Presidio County Courthouse: While it’s a climb up into the top, carve out some time to head to the top of the courthouse to see a full view of the town. It’s beautiful! 

Marfa Lights: Seeing the Marfa Lights is a top reason to visit. 

The Chinati: From Thursday - Saturday’s, the Chinati - a contemporary art museum that features large-scale architecture projects, offers self-guided walking tours. Bring comfortable closed-toe walking shoes, as the tour covers roughly 2 miles of outdoor exhibits. 

Hike: We really decided to challenge ourselves with the Fort Davis state park Indian Lodge trail. It was incredibly beautiful but complex with slippery rocks that required high quality footwear. There is limited cell reception on this trail so be sure to let someone know before you take on the challenge.

Big Bend National Park: Take one of the most scenic rides to Big Bend National Park. It takes roughly 3.5 hours. I’d recommend staying out there for a day or two to really make the most of the journey and do a couple different hikes. There are a few interesting options on AirBnB to try - I would love to stay in this little house next time. Be sure to drive the long way one of the days! Taking Highway 170 and stopping at Terlingua is an incredibly beautiful drive. 

Prada Marfa: Take some unique photographs in front of this permanent land art project modeled after a Prada boutique. It even features Prada’s 2005 Fall Collection of bags and shoes. However, it isn’t actually in Marfa. It is about 40 miles outside - but worth the drive.

Where to Eat/Drink

Jett’s Grill: If you eat here, you’ll want to make a reservation to sit in the courtyard - it is located in Hotel Paisano. They are known for their Pistachio Fried Steak, but I got enchiladas and loved them as well! 

The Sentinel: The Sentinel incorporates coffee, cocktails, and newspaper reading into one relaxing ambiance. We loved The Sentinel for drinks so much we went back the next day for breakfast and snacks. 

The Water Stop: This is a great lunch spot. While famous for their organic rotisserie chicken, they have a wide variety of lunch options on their menu and really great drinks!

Laventure: Located at Hotel St. George, Laventure serves upscale American eats. We were able to sit at the bar without a reservation, but you will want to call ahead if you want a table. The service here was great and they even had an awesome gift shop called “Hey I Like it Here” with unique souvenirs. They also have a pool which you can pay a fee to use - which is great if your accommodations don’t have a pool. 

Marfa Burrito: Everything at Marfa Burrito is handmade, from salsas to tortillas. They are only open for breakfast and lunch so make sure you fit in some time to check this place out. 

Para Llevar:- A great spot for lunch, with rotating chefs. When we were there we had some of the best pizza I’ve had in a VERY long time!

Where to Shop

Cactus Liquors: They carry a huge variety of crafted spirits, beer, and wine. We were amazed at their large selection of Mezcal and unique plants, herbs, and cati.

The Wrong Store: This store is the best, and the owner is inspiring! It is artist-driven and carries items by artist friends they know and love. They even have an exhibition space that features 7-9 artists a year.

Pure Joy: I didn’t make it here but wanted to! Housed in an old fuel-storage facility, Pure Joy serves as an exhibition space and shop that has everything from key chains to artist’s personal sketchbooks. 

Communitee: Based out of NYC, Communitee East is their sister store. After owner and designer, John Patrick, moved to Marfa he decided to create classic accessories meant to last a lifetime - focusing on hats. Not only are they focused on sustainability but they are made by skilled artisans in Mexico. The store is honestly a little confusing to me as it almost only had Farm Rio and Freedom Mosses products - but they are open every day, so certainly check it out! 

I’d also recommend: Raba, Marfa Store, Marfa Brand Soap, Moonlight Gemstones, and Garza Marfa.

Our trip to Marfa was filled with creativity, relaxation, and delicious food. Let us know if you have traveled to Marfa or have any summer vacations planned. Don’t forget to shop our PJs for your next adventure! 

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