Explore Mysterious Lights and Art Installations in Marfa, Texas

Texas is a huge, sprawling state full of desolate stretches of desert. The small town of Marfa, Texas appears like an artsy mirage in the searing Texas heat. Home to eerie lights that have never been properly explained, a military base that has been converted into an art installation, and a glowing neon sign for a mysterious motel that was razed decades ago, Marfa appeals to art aficionados and X-Files fans alike.

Marfa, Texas

Photo by Flickr

Marfa is most famous for an eerie phenomenon known as the Marfa Lights. Since the late 1800’s, residents of Marfa have reported seeing mysterious orange, green, blue and red orbs floating near the horizon. Scientists suggest that the Marfa Lights are an optical illusion created by atmospheric conditions, car headlights, or small fires.

Residents of Marfa have countless theories about the true origin of the Marfa Lights. Popular explanations include restless spirits, curious aliens doing their best to communicate with humans, and good old-fashioned sorcery. Visitors can attempt to view the Marfa Lights at a viewing station near Highway 67. The Marfa Lights keep their own sporadic, mysterious schedule so there is no guarantee that you’ll see them. But, if you’re curious about the Marfa Lights a trip to the Highway 67 viewing station is certainly worthwhile.

Art lovers can’t get enough of a refurbished military base known as the Chinati Foundation which showcases numerous modern sculptures. Visitors can spend the day exploring blocky concrete sculptures, a giant metal horseshoe that appears to be suspended in midair, and eerie neon lights that make visitors feel as though they stumbled onto a subdued version of the Las Vegas Strip.

Chinati Foundation

Photo by Flickr

Another eerie yet artsy sight on the outskirts of Marfa is a small Prada store that has never sold a single item. Created by a group of German artists in the early 00’s, Prada Marfa is an art installation built out of natural materials that are designed to steadily break down. The artists claim that Prada Marfa is designed to make viewers think about the insatiable reach of American consumerism. The Prada “storefront” features an authentic Prada logo, real Prada merchandise that has been modified to deter thieves, and working lights that showcase shelves of shoes after nightfall.

Prada Marfa at sunrise, Valentine, Texas

Prada Marfa at sunrise, Valentine, Texas
Photo by depositphotos.com

One of Marfa’s most iconic landmarks is a faded blue and red sign for a long defunct motel called the Stardust Motel. Despite the fact that the Stardust Motel was demolished decades ago, the neon lights of the Stardust Motel sign still occasionally glow in the night. Much like the Marfa Lights, the Stardust Motel sign keeps an erratic illumination schedule. But, if you’re out and about at just the right moment you may catch the Stardust sign shining bright.

Stardust Motel Sign Marfa

Stardust Motel Sign, Marfa
Photo by Flickr

The quaint town of Marfa has blossomed into a cozy artist enclave overflowing with Texas charm. Marfa’s otherworldly lights and abandoned and converted structures give this small town an eccentric appeal. If you’re yearning for a distinctive destination that will leave you with more questions than answers, a trip to Marfa is an absolute must.


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