Planning a trip to see Prada Marfa? My Ultimate Guide to Prada Marfa has all the info you need to plan the perfect trip to see the fake Prada store in the middle of the Texas desert!
I’ve made the pilgrimage to Prada Marfa twice now. The reason for my first visit to Marfa was just to see the famous roadside attraction. I didn’t know anything about the town of Marfa itself, I just knew I wanted to see Prada Marfa. However, after visiting Marfa, I knew I had to go back someday, and luckily, I was able to return in 2019.
On both trips, I visited Prada Marfa several times – while driving into Marfa, at sunset/at night, and while driving out of town. And so, while I may not be an art expert, I’d say I’m an expert on visiting Prada Marfa! Below are my tips and tricks as the Ultimate Guide to Visiting Prada Marfa.
The Ultimate Guide to Prada Marfa
Here’s the who, what, when, where, and how of Prada Marfa:
Who made Prada Marfa?
Prada Marfa was created by the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset. They often create sculptural art which, according to Wikipedia, “… explores the relationship between art, architecture, and design” and which “also addresses social and cultural concerns.”
The artists themselves described Prada Marfa as a “pop architectural land art project.” The original intent of the building was to never make repairs and just let it degrade into the land, so that “50 years from now it will be a ruin that is a reflection of the time it was made.” However, this idea was changed after the art installation was vandalized and the Prada contents stolen (6 purses and 14 shoes, all for right feet) on the very first night the installation was completed. So, the installation was repaired and a local caretaker was established to care for the structure.
Prada consented to the use of its name and logo for the project, and Miuccia Prada even personally picked out and provided the purses and right-foot-only shoes from the 2005 fall/winter collection. The purses have cut out bottoms that hide security system links to alert Marfa police of a break-in.
Where is the Prada store in Marfa?
So, Prada Marfa isn’t actually located in the town of Marfa but rather is 37 miles outside of Marfa and closer to the “blink-and-you-missed-it” town of Valentine, Texas. But the creators didn’t want to call it “Marfa Valentine” because that didn’t have the same connection to the art mecca of Marfa.
The artists originally wanted it to be Prada Nevada (I don’t pronounce Nevada to rhyme with Prada, so it took me a second to get this) along the route from Los Angeles and Las Vegas, however, they failed to gain support from the state. I honestly LOVE that it’s in the middle of nowhere near Marfa.
How to get to Prada Marfa?
To get to Prada Marfa, you have to essentially get to Marfa, and Marfa is difficult to get to, but half the fun is in the journey. Your options are to fly into either El Paso or Midland/Odessa, rent a car, and drive the 3ish hours to Marfa, or make the 6.5-hour drive from Austin.
If you’re coming from or heading towards El Paso or White Sands National Park, you’ll pass Prada Marfa along the way on Highway US-90. If you’re driving from any other direction, you’ll have to make a slight detour in order to see the roadside installation.
But if you need step-by-step directions, or you’re worried you’re going to pass it without seeing it, you can use Google Maps and Prada Marfa comes up as a pinned location.
Can you go inside Prada Marfa?
No. It’s a roadside art installation disguised as a fake Prada store. It’s locked at all times. There is no public access inside the structure and there is nothing for sale.
When is the best time to visit Prada Marfa?
Anytime. It’s always there, just waiting on the side of the highway for you to come to visit. Since it’s always locked, never open, and the inside lights come on at sunset, it doesn’t matter what time of day you stop by.
However, I will say that the “golden hour” just after sunset always provides the best light for photography.
If you plan to head out to Prada Marfa at golden hour to take photos, just be sure to factor in the drive time of 37 miles.
Plus, if you have the time, you can then wait about 30-40 minutes for it to get dark and see the installation lit up at night.
What’s the point of Prada Marfa?
It’s art. Love it or hate it. Interpret it as you will.
I also recommend a visit to Prada Marfa’s sister, the Tiny Target “store” located about 41 miles outside of Marfa along US Highway 90, but in the other direction towards the town of Alpine. It’s an anonymous installation (no one has claimed it) that I feel is the genius bookend response to Prada Marfa. The fast-fashion response to the high fashion of Prada Marfa.
If you’re in Marfa or planning a trip to Marfa, be sure to check out some of my other Marfa blog posts: