Marfa: West Texas' not-so-hidden gem

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) - The sleepy town of Marfa has long been a hotspot getaway for hipsters, music fans and artists. The appeal of the town seems to only be growing with time, and this weekend, the town will host one of the largest events of the year.

The Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love kicks off Thursday with performances by Lee Ann Womack,  Robert Ellis, Erika Wennerstrom (from the Heartless Bastards) and more. The three-day festival, held on the grounds of El Cosmico, will feature headliners Wilco on Friday and Fiona Apple on Saturday night.

Ticket sales close at 3 p.m. MST Monday, so if you haven't purchased your ticket yet -- time is quickly running out.

If you're planning on heading out to Marfa, the festival isn't the only thing to do in the region. When planning your trip, here are a few tips to fill the rest of your time in the area:

Bar Nadar

  • The Bar Nadar Pool + Grill is located at 113 East El Paso St. in Marfa. The cozy pool area is located behind Hotel St. George. The area is a great place to relax by the pool, enjoy delicious food and frozen drinks (including Frosé!). Open daily 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. for Hotel St. George guests. Open to the public age 21+ from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Planet Marfa

  • Planet Marfa is located at 200 S. Abbot St. in Marfa. The spacious beer garden is a favorite among locals and tourists. A great place to relax or grab a bite (Friday - Sunday).

Pizza Foundation

  • The Pizza Foundation serves up thin crust pizza in Marfa. Stop by the restaurant located at 305 S. Spring St. Open Friday - Sunday 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Capri at the Thunderbird Hotel

  • Located at 601 W. San Antonio Ave. in Marfa the Capri Lounge is attached to the boutique 24-room Thunderbird Hotel. The Capri offers hand crafted cocktails and an exquisite menu.

Prada Marfa

  • We know this isn't technically in Marfa. However, it's a must-see for anyone planning on traveling to the area (especially if this is your first time.) The small art installation is located 1.4 miles west of the town of Valentine, Texas off of US-90.

    All of the shoes in the installation are right-footed. If you go, walk around back where you'll see a "love-lock" fence with plenty of lovebirds scribing their names on padlocks before attaching them to a fence in the rear of the installation.

    Did we mention Beyoncé is a fan?

Big Bend Brewing Co.

  • Located in Alpine, Texas on US-90, Big Bend Brewing Co. headquarters are kid-friendly.  The Tap Room is open Thursday-Monday 4 p.m. to 8p.m. They open a bit early at 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Order your favorite, or pick a flight to try them all.

Come & Take It BBQ

  • Located at 2612 W. Hwy 90 in Alpine, Come & Take It is worth the drive. They serve up authentic Texas BBQ and sides including brisket, ribs, sausage and potato salad. (We're big fans of the Cheesy Baked Hominy.)

    They'll be hosting their second annual First Shot Festival on Saturday, September 30 and Sunday October 1. Doors at 4 p.m., BBQ served from 5 p.m. until it's gone. They're asking for a $15 cover on Saturday - $5 of which will go to the Charlie Robison Costal Relief Fund to benefit communities devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

    Sunday, they'll open at 11:30 a.m. and serve until it's gone. A curated presentation of the History of the Battle of Gonzales will be given by Matt Waler, curator at the Museum of the Big Bend and History Professor and Sul Ross State University.

Chinati Foundation

  • Located at 1 Calvary Row in Marfa, the former military installation is now home to the Chinati Foundation. The compound was founded by minimalist artist Donald Judd who is also credited with putting Marfa on the artistic map.
  • If you can't make it to Trans-Pecos Festival, the Chinati Weekend is October 6-8. Plan your trip early!

Marfa Mystery Lights

  • We can't explain them and we don't know that we'd want to if we could. This unexplained mystery in the desert is a phenomenon first documented in the late 1800's.

    A viewing station is located 9 miles east of Marfa on US-90 heading towards Alpine.

Hotel Paisano

  • The historic hotel located at 207 N. Highland Ave. was designed by Henry Trost in 1929. It features a beautiful Spanish-style courtyard and incredible details inside the hotel.

    The hotel was the headquarters for the filming of the movie GIANT starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean.

    Stop in to the many shops located near the hotel lobby or make a reservation at Jett's Grill, located near the interior courtyard.

Let's not forget about the festival itself. With music beginning at 6 p.m. daily, El Cosmico is also hosting a sandlot baseball game on Saturday, yoga, and craft workshops throughout the festival.

If you can't visit for this weekend's festival, there's plenty to do when you're visiting Marfa any other time of the year.

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