Marfa Myths: Getting to Marfa
6 Dec 2016
Ballroom Marfa and Mexican Summer are presenting the fourth Marfa Myths over March 9-12, 2017 (buy tickets ). If you’re considering the journey, here are tips on how to get here.
MAKING THE VOYAGE
You can get to Marfa via plane; car; and train.
The closest airports are El Paso and Midland, both about three hours away (directions from each here). Air travel to Marfa can be an all-day affair (unfortunately, there are no direct flights from the East Coast), so just steel yourself. Other notes:
• If you fly into El Paso, rent a car, pick up a snack at Taco Cabana or Pho Tre Bien, and blast the radio (El Paso’s Fox Jukebox is awesome; as you get closer to Marfa, tune in to Marfa Public Radio/KRTS 93.5). Driving after dark can be a bit grueling: if you can schedule it, roll into Marfa around sunset.
• If you are traveling to Marfa from El Paso, please be aware that the time zone changes from Mountain Time Zone to Central Standard Time, and you lose one hour.
• There is a municipal airport in Marfa (three miles from Marfa) and one in Alpine (26 miles from Marfa), which can service most private jets (for a list of charter companies, please see this list). The Marfa Visitor Center offers free pickups to anyone staying in a Marfa hotel or a city-taxed VRBO; and there’s a rental car service at both the Marfa and Alpine municipal airports.
Marfa Municipal Airport: (432) 729-4452
Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport: (432) 837-5929
If you’re driving from Austin, it takes seven hours; from San Antonio, six hours. Houston and Dallas are about 9-10 hours away. Los Angeles is 17 hours, which is a lovely road trip, with plenty of nice spots to stop (Tucson! Sedona! Roswell!). Directions:
From the East: Take Interstate 10 West to Ft. Stockton. Exit onto Highway 67 South. Travel 47 miles to where Highway 67 South intersects with Highway 90 West (right around Alpine). Continue on Highway 67/90 for 34 miles until you reach Marfa.
From the west: Take Interstate 10 East to Van Horn. Exit onto Highway 90 East. Travel 74 miles to Marfa. (You’ll also pass Prada Marfa on Highway 90, about 35 miles from Marfa. It will be on your right, just before you enter the town of Valentine, Texas.) Driving time: approximately three hours from El Paso; 17 hours from Los Angeles. Please note El Paso and Marfa are in different time zones.
From the north: From Midland/Odessa, take Interstate 20 West to Pecos. In Pecos, turn left onto Highway 17 South (in Pecos, consider stopping by Pody’s BBQ for a glass of sweet tea, baked potato, and a chop beef sandwich). Travel Highway 17 South through Balmorrhea, Ft. Davis, and into Marfa.
From the south: Take Highway 67 North from Presidio to Marfa.
Sunset on the drive into Marfa
You can take Amtrak to Alpine, which is 26 miles away from Marfa. From there, you can rent a car from Alpine Auto Rental or find a pickup on marfalist.org.
• Marfa is a small town of 2000 people, and doesn’t have the conveniences of a large city. Adjust your expectations and see these quirks as part of the adventure. You might consider stocking up on snacks and water prior to arrival: there are only two groceries in town, plus a Dollar General. (You might also get cash, too — we have only three ATMs, and none are chain banks.)
• Most Marfa galleries, shops, and restaurants are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Plan out-of-town excursions or your departure on these days.
• Book your lodging as soon as you have your travel plans in place. Hotels in Marfa and VRBOs/airbnbs will fill up, as it’s also Spring Break that week.
• If you are flying into El Paso, or driving from the West, be aware that you will pass through a Border Patrol Checkpoint on your way to Marfa.
• Looking to carpool or need a pickup at the El Paso or Midland airport? Try posting on Marfalist.
• We’re in the high desert, about a mile above sea level, and the altitude and dryness can be hard on newcomers. Stay hydrated!
• Bring layers. Marfa can have unexpected cold spells in March.
• Be aware of law enforcement and obey all laws. Don’t speed, and wear your seatbelt.
• West Texas often has a burn ban in place. Please exercise extreme caution with anything that produces a spark, including ashes or cigarettes.
• Cell phone reception can be spotty out here, especially if you have AT&T.
• For any questions, please email us at [email protected].
For general info about Marfa, you can download our visitor guide — which has more details about eating, tours, and shopping — or visit visitmarfa.com and marfalist.org, where you can find event postings, ride shares, and more.