The first thing you might wonder about Marfa is, 'Where did all these New Yorkers come from?' and the second, 'What's the deal with James Dean?'. Founded in the 1880s, Marfa's two major cultural influences came in the latter part of the 20th century. It got its first taste of fame when Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and, yes, James Dean came to town to film the 1956 Warner Brothers film Giant, and has since served as a film location for movies such as There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men.
And as for those New Yorkers: tiny, dusty Marfa has become a bit of a pilgrimage for art lovers, thanks to one of the world's largest installations of minimalist art. This, in turn, has attracted a disproportionate number of art galleries, quirky lodging options and interesting restaurants. Throw in some mysterious lights that may or may not be aliens (OK, probably not, but it's fun to pretend) and Marfa has become a majorly buzzed-about destination.