Even if you think it’s overplayed, you know deep down that Marfa is great. The Prada Marfa, its most recognizable landmark, remains a resounding favorite for Instagrammers -- an interesting piece of pop that only points to this legit artists hub in West Texas. It owes its reputation to sculptor Donald Judd, who moved there from New York in the '70s to make minimalist concrete installations. Other artists followed, ultimately leading to the establishment of the Chinati Foundation, which preserves these large-scale permanent installations by a number of artists.
Getting to Marfa is an exercise in patience and persistence, as even the closest airports, Midland-Odessa and El Paso, are still about a three-hour drive away, which may help to explain why only about 1,700 people have committed to year-round living. It is (still) an artists haven on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, though the "hipster paradise" that was promised could very well have been its own undoing, and there are plenty of hand-wringing op-eds on this to prep you before your visit as a rank tourist who, you know, doesn't "get" Marfa.
If you dig festivals, plan your visit around the end of September during the Trans-Pecos Festival, which usually boasts an anti-festival festival lineup with performers like Lee Ann Womack, Wilco, and Fiona Apple. (That was this year's lineup. 2017 Coachella it ain't.) Stay at El Cosmico, a 21-acre trailer, tent, and teepee hotel and campground. Too rustic? Book a room at the Hotel St. George. Spend some time on Highway 90 about 9 miles east of Marfa at the "official Marfa Lights viewing site" to maybe see the spooky "Marfa lights" -- glowing orbs that have been attributed to UFOs, paranormal activity, and... atmospheric reflections of automobile headlights and campfires. Because leave it to science to ruin a good story.
And since it took so long to get here, you might as well venture out. To the north you'll find Balmorhea State Park, a true desert oasis with the largest spring-fed swimming pool in the world. To the south, just about butt-up against the Mexico border, is Terlingua, home to THE International Championship Chili Cook-Off and ruins worthy of hosting a West Texas edition of Wasteland Weekend, plus Big Bend National Park, where you can kayak down the Rio Grande between cliffs that rise to 1,500 feet.