Marfa : Texas


What It Is Like to Retire in Marfa

The title of the most artistic little town in west Texas would probably be awarded to Marfa. Marfa was actually named after Marfa Strogoff, a character in Jules Verne's novel Michael Strogoff. This little town of about 2,000 near the Big Bend is home to a vast array of artistic treasures, thanks to the efforts of Donald Judd. This minimalist artist moved here from New York in 1971 and began buying large buildings and installing both his art and the work of fellow artists. Since his death foundations have moved in to support the continuation of what he started. Another attraction of Marfa is the Marfa Lights, mysterious lights on the horizon which show up every clear night. ABC named Marfa to its "Best Cities to Retire in You Never Heard of" List in 2010. Marfa has a number of guest ranches where visitors can experience the high desert of the southwest.
Here is what the Chamber of Commerce director said about Marfa in the ABC piece: "It's a great place to live," says Joni Marginot, director of the Marfa Chamber of Commerce    He noted that in addition to the Chinati Museum the  city  art galleries, theater and an annual film festival. "We have a low crime rate, we don't have a lot of traffic, you can walk just about anywhere and the weather is beautiful."

Where to Retire in Marfa and Home Prices

We are not aware of any 55+communities. There are some nice neighborhoods where people are beginning to retire or purchase second homes. The median price of a home in Marfa is hard to determine since it is such a small town. Zillow reports the average listing price was $335,000 in early 2020.


What Is Special about Marfa

Marfa is an amazing center of contemporary art, thanks to the Judd Foundation and the Chinati Foundation. The El Paisano Hotel is a local historical landmark of some significance. It has since been turned into luxury condominiums.  Many films and books have been made or set in Marfa, notably "Giant", "There Will Be Blood", and "No Country for Old Men". The Marfa Lights are another important reason why Marfa is a popular tourist town. Thanks to its high elevation temperatures are surprisingly moderate. NPR did a feature on Marfa in 2011 which talked about its popularity for films and art.

What Is Not Special about Marfa

Marfa is a very small town in southwest Texas, which means it is really far from most everything else.

Who Will Like Retirement in Marfa

People who like art, Texas, and small towns might like Marfa.

Local Economy Is Driven by

The museums of the Judd and Chinati Foundations provide a base for tourism, along with the people who come to experience the Marfa Lights.

Climate and Physical Environment

Marfa is north of the Big Bend National Park of west Texas. Located in the high desert, it is equidistant from Odessa (TX), Juarez (MEX), and Chihuahua (MEX).  Due to its high elevation (4685'), the average temperatures are moderate. The average July high is 89.  The January high is 59 and the average low is 24. The rainiest month is September (3").

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Judd, a minimalist artist, acquired decommissioned Fort D.A. Russell and transformed the fort's buildings into art spaces in 1979. Judd's vision was to house large collections of individual artists' work on permanent display. Marfa is all about contemporary art. The Chinati Foundation, which occupies 10 buildings at the site, holds an Open House event every year where artists, collectors, and enthusiasts come from around the world to visit. The Lannan Foundation has established a writers-in-residency program, there is a Marfa theater group, and Ballroom Marfa offers space for films, etc.


The crime rate is about one third the national average.


Medical Facilities

The Big Bend Regional Medical Center is 35 miles.


Marfa Municipal Airport offers general aviation services. For regularly scheduled flights there is Midland or El Paso, about a 3 hours drive.

Valuable Links

Wikipedia page for Marfa
Marfa Chamber of Commerce
The Chinati Foundation


What people are saying about Marfa

Marfa? Really? I Don\'t Think So.
The real estate is WAY overpriced due to the hipsters from NYC and LA that made it a new mecca for trust fund artist types. There are no decent grocery stores (2 with limited expensive selections). The real estate will only get more over priced with the tv series \"I Love Dick\". It is many miles from decent health care or a major airport or a big box store. Go to Ft. Davis or Alpine if you wish to be in the Big Bend area, much less attitude. The best thing about Marfa is the old hardware store which has been in the same family for 3 generations. The public radio station is good too.
Posted by Roostrdude on May 17, 2017

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