A Traveler's Guide to Marfa

A Traveler's Guide to Marfa

December 29, 2010
Photo by: Landon Nordeman

Thunderbird hotel

This is a companion to piece to our Way Out West: Gardens of Marfa, Texas article.


El Cosmico 802 South Highland Avenue (877/822-1950; elcosmico.com). $90–$125 trailer; $60 yurt; $75 tepee. You read it right: your lodging options are a refurbished trailer, a tepee, or a yurt, all clean and comfortable.

Thunderbird 601 West San Antonio Street (877/729-1984; thunderbirdmarfa.com). $120–$200. A ’50s motel transformed into a model of modernity.


Oweners of Austin Street Cafe

The owners of Austin Street Cafe

Austin Street Café 405 North Austin Street (432/729-4653; austinstreetcafe.com). Housed in the restored Walker House (the first house Donald Judd bought in Marfa), Lisa and Jack Copeland’s café serves delicious home-cooked meals and snacks on the first Sunday of each month—the only day it’s open.

107 West San Antonio Street (432/729-3300). Tom Rapp and Toshi Sakihara left their New York City restaurant, Etats-Unis, for the desert, but their fans wore them down: they’re now doing some of the region’s best cooking.

Food Shark
Under the pavilion, Highland Avenue at the train tracks (432/386-6540; foodsharkmarfa.com). Great sandwiches and salads from Marfa’s only food truck.

Maiya’s 103 North Highland Avenue (432/729-4410; maiyasrestaurant.com). Dependably delicious food and large portions are standard at Maiya’s, and it’s the best place in town to get a cocktail.

Pizza Foundation 100 East San Antonio Street (432/729-3377; pizzafoundation.com). Stunningly good thin-crust pies and excellent salads.

Chiles on Highland Avenue

Chiles on Highland Avenue

Ballroom Marfa 108 East San Antonio Street (432/729-3600; ballroommarfa.org). On any given day at this art deco–era ballroom, you might see a photography exhibit, the work of young Mexican artists, or Lyle Lovett.

The Chinati Foundation
1 Cavalry Row (432/729-4362; chinati.org). Tours (by appointment) of Donald Judd’s installations, including his 100 works in mill aluminum and his 15 untitled works in concrete, as well as work by other artists. 

Judd table and Chairs

a Judd table and chairs

Judd Foundation 104 South Highland Avenue (432/729-4406, ext. 103; juddfoundation.org). Tour Judd’s Marfa residence, known as The Block, including his incredible library. Separate studio tours are also available.

Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center
State Highway 118, Fort Davis (432/364-2499; cdri.org). This 500-plus-acre preserve in the foothills of the Davis Mountains has a desert botanical garden, a cactus and succulent greenhouse, and several miles of hiking trails.