5 min read

20 Golden Reasons to go Albuquerque Balloon Festival?

Explore the magic of Albuquerque Balloon Festival: the world's largest hot air balloon event. Perfect for families & photographers. Tips on rides & more!

Tobi Miles
July 1, 2022
20 Golden Reasons to go Albuquerque Balloon Festival?

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, is the LARGEST and arguably the most extravagant Hot Air Balloon festival in the world!

It will “Inflate” the minds of that attend and truly take your breath away.

Since childhood we are often read fairy tales of magical journeys and destinations.

From Roald Dahl’s classic “James and the Giant Peach” book to the 1996 classic family movie version by Tim Burton!

In the memorable adventure a young orphan boy wishes to get away from his two terrible aunts, floats away on a giant peach for a wonderful adventure!

There is something quintessentially magical, romantic and even liberating about letting yourself just “Float away” into the sky!

Although this may seem like the stuff of day dreams and fairy tales, it is in fact a wonderful extravaganza at Albuquerque Balloon Festival, in New Mexico.

In this post, I have outlined: 

  • What date is Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta?
  • 20 Golden Reasons to visit,
  • Where to stay? 
  • What to pack?
  • How to get DISCOUNT Balloon Rides?,
  • and many more hints and tips!


When is Albuquerque Balloon Festival?

The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is a one week event scheduled from:

October 3rd - 11th 2020

(The Albuquerque Balloon Festival is usually around this time in October but can vary slightly from year to year) (We always update our dates as soon as they become available so check back for the most relevant information. )

This annual event is a wonderful showcase of the most creative, eye catching and breathtaking balloons in the world! 

So here are our top 20 golden reasons why you have to visit the Albuquerque balloon fiesta.

1. The Mass Ascension

This is one of the most impressive and fairy tale like event of the entire showcase at Albuquerque Balloon Festival!

As the sun rises, hundreds of colorful and creative balloons inflate and lift off into the crisp morning sky all in unison.

The amount of balloons range from 500 to over 700 which truly makes for an eye catching and memorable experience. It is nothing like you have ever seen before! 

There is also a tremendous display of sound which makes it even more so enchanting! This is definitely a highlight at Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

Mass Balloon Ascension in Albuquerque | Flicker via Wikimedia Commons

Top Tips:

  • Get to the Balloon fiesta Park very early! So if your friend or partner likes to sleep in set two alarms.
  • The actual Mass Ascension starts at 7AM.  However, due to the crowds and parking it’s best to get here BEFORE 5 A.M.
  • Don’t worry out breakfast/coffee there are plenty of food venues open at this time from Breakfast burrito bars already bustling with balloon enthusiasts.

2. Great Weather for October (“Albuquerque Box”)

So I know what your thinking October…mild? At Albuquerque Balloon Festival, it is usually very mild during the day due to the famous weather phenomenon called “Albuquerque box”  which basically means the city of Albuquerque has it’s own micro climate.

Where the highest winds are moving in one direction and the lowest in the other.

This makes it perfect for ballooning as the direction and landing point can be easily predicted…even the same landing spot can be achieved when conditions are perfect. 

Deb Haaland via Wikimedia Commons

Top Tips:

  •   Sometimes the “Albuquerque Box” can have a negative affect, whereas usually hot air balloon flights at Albuquerque Balloon Festival can be delayed due to strong winds.
  • However the “Box” effect can cause the wind to be too low! As crazy as this sounds it happened to my friend back in 2017.

What to wear to Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta?

  • It is mild for October but can still be pretty chilly in the morning, especially if your here at 5AM for the morning Ascension. Last time I was at Albuquerque Balloon Festival, I measured (4’C or approximately 41’F)
  • So wrap up with layers is the best advice. A hat, scarf and thermos can also be great accessories to bring.
  • The benefit of layers is your ability to strip them of as the day warms up I always bring a high quality backpack to carry any extra layers as needed.

Check out our backpack reviews for help choosing the right one!

Related Read: 75 BEST Things To Do in New Mexico

3. Capture the most Instagrammable Photos!

There is nothing more magical, memorable and of course instagrammable than a hot air balloon festival with the color and magic of Albuquerque balloon fiesta.

Albuquerque Balloon Festival 2020

Previously Albuquerque Balloon Festival was sponsored by “Canon” and you can be ensured its a photographers dream!

Albuquerque Balloon Festival 2020

Canon event had a tent back with their best equipment, lenses and accessories laid out for you to play with!

So if your a photography enthusiast be sure your bring some high quality Photography gear, tripods, lenses, satchels and get ready for spectacular shots.

Will my phone be ok for photos?

Most modern cell phones offer amazing cameras these days. However, they are just NOT on the same level as a purpose built camera! 

If your at a special event, special photos should be high on your priority list!

Although, choosing one can be confusing due to all the camera Jargon,

we've made it simple with our recommended Travel Photography Gear

4. Take a Bucket list Balloon Ride.

Taking a balloon ride at Albuquerque Balloon Festival, is one of these magical balloons is an experience like no other and should be on your bucket list!

As your are floating precariously into the sky, a sense of wonder and awe is strong with a feeling that all your troubles seem to just float away! 

Taking a ride in the balloon | Kirt Edblom via Wikimedia Commons

As you get higher and higher you will see the thousands of people below cheering, looking like little ants just getting smaller and smaller.

How to Book a Balloon Ride at Albuquerque Balloon Festival?

1. Reserve your spot for the Mass Ascension.

Nabbing a spot on one of these voyages at Albuquerque Balloon Festival, is not easy...but it's definitely worth it if you book in advance.

The only balloon operators with permits to fly from the Fiesta Launch Field are Rainbow Ryders , (the official balloon operator of Albuquerque Balloon Festival).

So if you wan’t to go up during the Mass Ascension then these are your only options.

  • Tickets can be pretty steep around $429 pp - They sell out fast!
  • Around $750 per person for a private ride with less than 4 people.

Although expensive ,Rainbow Ryders are a company with heritage, a great reputation and mighty safety record.

So if it’s a once in a lifetime experience your after it may worth the price.

However, I have some tips further down to give your the same once in a lifetime experience at HALF the price! 

Be sure to reserve in advance to secure the dates you wan’t at Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

2. For Budget Ballooners? Alternative Balloon Operators.

So if you really wan’t a hot air balloon ride and the prices by Rainbow Riders for Mass Ascension are just blowing your budget.

Then check our alternative companies which provide balloon flights in Albuquerque (And Santa Fe).

Such as Air Carriage LLCViatorWorld Balloon and APEX Balloons

These are generally a lot cheaper than Rainbow riders which operate at three times there normal prices during the Albuquerque Balloon Festival!

Although slightly higher than normal the other operators are more suitable for budget savvy travelers.

Inflating the balloon | Rulopha A. Furtado via Wikimedia Commons

Want lower prices??

For even lower prices,  you could book a balloon flight pre or post the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta as then the prices won’t be inflated at all!

During the rest of the year in Albuquerque the hot air balloon prices range from, ($150-$200/pp) on a group flight.

You can even find a lot of private pilots who will surely take you up into the sky after the festival!

Yes you won’t see the “Mass Ascension of hundreds of balloons in the sky” but if you wan’t a more private, intimate affair you could save yourself hundreds of dollars!

Do Hot Air Balloon Rides make good gifts??

Are you struggling to think of a special gift for a loved one or YOURSELF??

Studies have shown that 88% of people prefer “Bucket List Experiences” over gifts! ( I know I do!) 

To book a life changing Hot Air Balloon Experience in Albuquerque, (at discounted prices) follow this link HERE

Hot Air balloon festivals usa 1
Taking a Hot Air Balloon ride is a unforgettable experience

Insider tip:

A great tip is to book a hot air balloon for the EARLY part of your Albuquerque Albuquerque Balloon Festival vacation.

So that way if your flight is delayed or rescheduled you won’t miss it!

Also book well in advance to avoid disappointment!

Town & Tourist Top tips:

Before booking any private flights outside the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, there are a few things you should check the following:

  • Reviews
  • Licenses (Pilot should have a commercial swell as private license to take customers)
  • Length of flight
  • Price
  • Number of passengers
  • Safety Record
  • Refund Policy Due to bad weather!

Due to the nature of a balloon floating in the sky! Bad weather can put a halt on activities.

This can be a regularly occurrence at Albuquerque Balloon Festival, but usually most are just delayed or rescheduled and you are given a Raincheck voucher.

Overall, the experience adds a real “release” when you finally get to lift of!

You should confirm with your flight provider what the policy is before flying, full refund, Partial or reschedule.

3. Volunteer - If you want to ride for FREE!

If your really on a budget or just wouldn’t mind getting stuck into some volunteering while at Albuquerque Balloon Festival, then this could be a great option for you. 

Each year thousands of volunteers are required to support the small team of professional hired staff to help run the Albuquerque Balloon Festival and make sure it runs smoothly. 

As a Volunteer there are many options for you from something simple like acting as a steward to assist with parking and crowd control, to registering people and organising the Rv’s parking lots at Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

Chase Crew

One of the most excited but also skilled jobs at Albuquerque Balloon Festival is to volunteer as part of the chase crew!

The chase crew plays a vital role in the landing and post hot air balloon flight process. 

As the pilot is steering the giant altering the direction and altitude, avoiding trees and power lines!

He looks for a suitable landing spot, hopefully not someones backyard! Although it can happen! Once he has landed the balloon the “Chase crew” who were following closely arrives.

They assist in deflating massive the 70 foot +  hot air balloon, and roll it up into it’s envelope.

If you have ever been camping before and you’ve struggled trying to roll up your family tent…then imagine this but a 50- 70 foot wide version!

Hot Air Balloon Festivals USA
Hot Air Balloon Festivals USA

Interesting fact:

  • The average hot air balloon is 80 feet tall, 50 feet in diameter at the widest point (equator). It weighs around 600 pounds, has an air capacity of 77,000 cubic feet, or approximately 77,000 basketballs!

After everything is rolled up, the Chase crew will heave the basket up onto it’s platform to take every back to the Albuquerque Balloon fiesta park like heroes! 

The great news is as a volunteer you are likely to get to take part in the champagne toast upon landing which is a tradition after every successful flight!

Other perks of being a volunteer include, free parking, admission, complimentary meals, snacks and Albuquerque Balloon Festival merchandise

Sometimes discount hotel room vouchers are given if you are heading in from outside of Albuquerque.


  • You must be committed to helping with the event and festival.
  • Good with people.
  • Healthy with no major health conditions.
  • Available for the entire event (not just 1-2 days).  For at least three shifts. 
  • Participate in the short training.

You can find out more at volunteer online.

Fancy a Magical Balloon Ride over the Grand Canyon? This is truly a bucket list experience, see this great article for

 5 Golden Reasons: Why you should take a Hot Air Balloon over the Grand Canyon?

Hot air balloon ride | By Meeta via Wikimedia Commons

5. Great for Kids And Families.

What is more magical to kids of all ages (and even adults!)  then colourful hot air balloons of various animals, cartoons and even star wars characters at Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

In addition, to the variety of balloons on offer at the fiesta there is also a variety of activities and events catering purely to families and children of all ages. 

Family Day | By Ken Lund via Wikimedia Commons

Meet the Pilots:

Another great part of the fiesta is you can wander around and get up close and personal with the pilots and their crews.

This can be really inspiring for children,

I have heard many stories when upon driving home, from Albuquerque Balloon Festival the kid has said to the parent “Mom, Dad, I want to fly hot air balloons when I grow up!”...so don' t be surprising. Albuquerque Balloon Festival can be a really inspiring and excited fiesta. 

6. Be Part of History

The Albuquerque Balloon Festival started back in 1972 with just 13 balloons, now draws hundreds of thousands of guests and is the largest balloon festival in the world! With over 600 fantastic balloons envelope the skyline.   

Town & Tourist - Fun Facts

A) Did you know? The first ever hot air balloon passengers with a sheep, a duck and a rooster!

The flight ascended to about 1,500 feet and came down in the countryside about 2 miles from the launch. 

 Back then it was believed that “evil spirits” existed in the atmosphere!  This was further reinforced when the rooster was discovered with a broken neck and the sheep and duck were not found!  However, later it was confirmed that the sheep had broken the rooster's neck when the cage sprang open!

B) A spectator of the first human passenger launch remarked, "So, what's the use of it?" Benjamin Franklin replied, "What is the use of a newborn baby?”

C) Did you know? The first ever hot air balloon race was in 1962!

This was flown during the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. The balloons lifted off at Ramsey County Beach in White Bear Lake.

D) Only 5 or 6 hot air balloons were in existence in 1962.

A little different to the hundreds of balloons just at Albuquerque Balloon Festival!

(The facts above are great for dinner parties and to wow your friends! )

Related Read: Best Time To Visit New Mexico

7. See the Captivating Dawn Patrol Balloons

If you manage to get to Albuquerque Balloon Festival early enough, before sunrise you may get a chance to see the mesmerising Dawn Patrol balloons which look like glowing orbs in dark morning sky!

As an historic tradition, several of these balloons fly very early to check the weather conditions and visibility of the landing areas.

These are like great soldiers heading out in the atmospheric battlefield first! Plan to arrive at the Albuquerque Balloon fiesta park by 5:30am to see the event!

Expect the national anthem and upbeat music as the balloons lift off!

8. Perfect if your a Star Wars Fan?

Forget Comic Con your will see more inflatable Darth Vader and Yoda heads then in the movies!

Sometimes during a hot air balloon lift off, by the famous Darth Vader Balloon “imperial storm trooper hobbyists” secure the perimeter in an imperial fashion!

This adds great character to Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

You do not TRY to go to the Balloon Fiesta, you DO or Do not!

The force is strong in this festival!...Ok I’ll stop!

9. Great Food and Picnic Spots.

There is a large variety of food and drinks venues at Albuquerque Balloon Festival!

A classic morning ritual is grabbing a breakfast burrito and a hot cup of the local piñon coffee. For lunch, check out “Blake’s Lottaburger” which is a classic Albuquerque hamburger chain supplies mouth watering chili cheeseburgers!

Food at the festival | Depositphotos

If you would prefer something more healthy and wan’t to save some dollars then bringing your own picnic and snacks to Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

All you need is a nice cooler bag packed with treats and a picnic blanket, then you are all sorted! 

If you have an RV, you can bring with you fold able chairs and even a golden picnic table to have your own little dinner party at Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

10. Great if your have an RV or Wan’t to Camp.

If your an RV guy or Girl then the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is the place for you!

It is like a pilgrimage every year with hundred of Rv’s parking up around the launch field. Most of the RV spots are dry camping spots which have  “no hookups”.

However, porta-potties are free and readily available on-site so no worries there.

You will also have access to dump and water services for a small additional fee from third-party volunteers who will approach you.

There is also a number of premium spots with great views of the launch field.

The best spots at Albuquerque Balloon Festival, are the highly-coveted “President’s Compound spots” , these offer great views and hook ups as standard.

RV Parking lot | DVS via Wikimedia Commons

Parking spots at Albuquerque Balloon Festival are allocated on a first come, first serve basis…so get here early and book your trip in advance to avoid disappointment. 

Prices for RV spots vary from ($40 to up to $250 per night!), with festival admission tickets sold separately.

If you like to make an RV spot reservation they go live just one week after the last festival! So book in advance to avoid disappointment. 

Find out the latest RV information and book your RV spot here.

If you bring your RV to the balloon fiesta, this will give you great flexibility and as you will be able to walk or hop on a complimentary shuttle ride to and from the main launch field.

This gives you a great chance to soak up the whole community vibe of the event and meet other avid RV’ers at Albuquerque Balloon Festival.


RV Road Trip Planner -
RV Road Trip Planner -

To download follow the link HERE, our gift you the loyal readers of Town & Tourist!

Need an RV?

If you fancy an RV adventure, you have to check RV Share

It’s an RV share platform, like airbnb where you can rent someones RV at a fraction of cost compared to normal!

11. Get Married at the Balloon Festival!

This is not a joke, According to KRQE news there have been three weddings and a proposal since Albuquerque balloon fiesta started.

When I was here last year in 2018, I saw an actual Couple get married at the event! The perfect scene to tie the knot indeed. 

The marriage ceremony actually took place while in the air over 2,000 feet above Albuquerque!


According to KRQE News, reporting on Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta:

“Kristen Yent and Angelo Medina-Perez vowed to spend the rest of their lives together. Instead of wedding bells, the soon to be newlyweds who road tripped here from New Orleans were surrounded by the sound of propane and fire filling a hot air balloon.”

"Ballooning is a very romantic sport if you think about it" Michael Genetti The Pilot said.

The adventurous couple says their untraditional wedding proves they're brave. 

"We want to do things maybe other couples aren't willing to do, and shine in a way others aren't willing to shine, in the name of Jesus, of course,"  Medina Perez said. 

Their bravery paid off when the winds subsided and their balloon floated off above the Duke City.

The Colorado pilot made sure to keep the ceremony as quiet as possible, waiting to fire up the burners until each sentence was complete. 

The newlyweds will be having a reception with their families when they get back home from Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta to Louisiana. 

12. See Unique and cute Inflatable Bees! Get that Honey!

The hot air balloon bees were one of my favourites during the event, they begin actually “holding hands” like a loving couple…then gradually drift apart as they lift off!

(Reminds me of my ex girlfriend, she had a sting in her tale aswell!)

Bees at the festival | By Bugeater via Wikimedia Commons

This is definitely one the most cute and dam right adorable moments of the entire festival. Great for couples and young children.

13. Great to stay a few days…or even a one week!

Everyone who’s ever been to Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta can all agree on one thing, One day is definitely not enough!

I recommended three days as a minimum, 5 days is great also and even a week is fantastic!

There is so much to see and do at Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

From the morning Mass Ascension to the evening glow, fireworks, races and balloon rides! Expect a packed and fun filled trip.

Another important reason to stay for more than a couple of days is due to “Weather changes”.

Even though at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta we are in the “Albuquerque box” strong winds or other bad weather will cause balloon flights to be delayed and even rescheduled!

This is even more important if you have a balloon flight booked. It would be horrible to have your flight rescheduled then end up missing the entire event! 

Some times the weather changes can affect in the positive way with varying sky colours such atmospheric glows making a unique experience each and every ride!

This is also a great time to explore Albuquerque and Santa Fe if you’ve not been before, great place with lots to do. (See point 20)

Best Hotels in Albuquerque?

For a list of our recommended hotels in Albuquerque, at discount rates Follow the link HERE

14. An Awe-inspiring Morning Patrol

The Morning Patrol at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is a historic tradition of many balloons simultaneously igniting their propane burners, lighting up the area while still on the ground.

This is a magical sight at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, as all the hot air balloons light up in unison like giant fireflies or glowing pumpkins.

This happens before sunrise so get to the balloon fiesta park early to see something special. 

Morning patrol | By ShellShuttle via Wikimedia Commons

15. Perfect for Glamping at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Do you wan’t the raw outdoor feel of camping without none of the downsides then “Glamping” or Luxury camping is for you!

A series of purpose built Glamping tents are set up within close proximity to the balloon launching field, just a couple of minutes walk at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

Glamping tents available | ItsGlampingTime via Wikimedia Commons

Expect Camping luxury with a Large tent (suitable for 4 people), comfy beds, lighting, heating and even a welcome basket!

As a glamours perk, you will have access to regularly cleaned restroom and shower trailers.

There is even a BBQ area and comfy lounge chairs around the entire site. 

Prices range from $500 per night for 1 to 2 people with a minimum three nights stay.

Overall, I look at this as some where between camping and an Rv. Great middle option at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta although a little pricey!

16. Collect Hot Air Balloon Cards and Pins

Hot Air Balloon Pins:

Apart from the amazing memories you will get from a great experience like Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, there are a few other trinkets which will make Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta that little more magical.

Each year, new, unique merchandise is created specifically for Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta! 

A popular item is Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Lapel pins. Collectors come from far and wide for these special pins.

Pin types range from commemorative pins, special events pins, race pins and even unique balloon pins!

The pins can usually be purchased from Balloon Fiesta merchandise tents…however stocks are in short supply so get them while you can! 

As these Hot Air Balloon pins are popular amongst collectors an official “Trade session” is organised annually.

This is a meet, great and pin trading mini festival in its own right at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

What are Hot Air Balloon Cards?

Hot Air Ballon cards is also another popular collectors item!

These are similar to baseball cards but contain a photo of each balloon, along with other details like pilot info etc.  Collecting these is popular among many locals!

Top Tip:

The Pilots usually carry a small batch of these with them in their pocket, so if your interested or your kid wants to take a peek speak up!

Most pilots will give them out upon request. On occasion packs can be purchased at special booths. Keep your eye peeled!

Official Merchandise:

If you would prefer a more general souvenir to take with you home then definitely check out the stalls selling everything from shirts to mugs and posters.

A great little trinket to get is the hot air balloon jewellery such as necklaces, rings and even earrings! I got some of these for my girlfriend back in 2014 she still has them today!

17. See the Captivating Evening Balloon Glows.

The evening balloon glows or “magic glow” event is an amazing ascension of glowing orbs firing their burners in unison.

This is a spectacular event and great evening entertainment at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

An announcer calls out each balloon to start it’s “burn”. Another highlight is the spectacular laser show which adds some extra magic to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

Night Balloon Flight | By Jennifer L. Sovanski

This is definitely one of the festival favorites!

Fun Fact: The phenomenon was invented in Albuquerque back in 1979, when local pilots inflated balloons on Christmas Eve night as a thank you to local residents for the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

Now the “Balloon glow” is done worldwide! But it all started in Albuquerque!

18. Sit back and Watch the spectacular fireworks

Another great evening event, just after the Balloon Glow and laser show is a spectacular and explosive fireworks display!

As the fireworks shoot up into the stars the evenings magic is heightened! Definitely a highlight of Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

Firework show | MdE via Wikimedia Commons

19. Become a Crazy Ballooniac!

Ballooning for some is a hobby for others an obsession! Believe me after you attend one of these events you will definitely have the Balloon Baby in your mind crying for more! Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, is so captivating and inspiring...but also with an acute sense of danger.

This gives everything a little more of a Buzz! Balloonists even have their own terminology that you might wan’t to familiarize yourself with!

  • The Envelope. This is the fabric balloon part of a hot air balloon, typically made of nylon.

Ask the Chase crew about this they spend a lot of time trying to get eh balloon back in its envelope after inflation.

  • Gondolas. Not the ones in Venice, Italy! These are just an alternative name for the wicker balloon baskets.
  • Zebras. ( Safari?) Not quite, no wildlife here. This is just the nickname for the balloon launching officials.

They usual dress in black and white.  (“Men in Black” would have been a better name if you ask me!).

These are the safety team and help all the operation run smoothly.

If you’ve watched the Disney movie around the World in 80 Days a 2004 family classic Jackie Chan, Steve Coogan and Cécile de France.

You will be feeling like the great adventurer Phileas Fogg by the end of your trip who attempted to fly a hot air balloon around the world in just 80 days!

We found so much to do in Albuquerque and the festival, that we could have done “Around Albuquerque in 80 days!

20. Explore Albuquerque

When in Albuquerque, explore it!  Situated in the heart of New Mexico beats, this is the pulse of a vibrant city.

With a great atmosphere, historic traditions and lots to do it is definitely the place to be. 

No matter your interests, the city has countless opportunities for you to explore.  From sampling the tasty New Mexican cuisine, to exploring museums, landmarks and even Route 66. Are you a fan of Breaking Bad?

The popular Netflix series was filmed here in Albuquerque so you can actually check out “Walter Whites House” or even get your car washed in his car wash.

Walter White's House from Breaking Bad | By Clay Gilliland via Wikimedia Commons

There is even an official Breaking bad tour!

Our group loves breaking bad, so we took this guided RV tour it was action packed and great fun! 

We visited Walter White’s house, Saul’s office, Jesse’s RV junkyard, the car wash, Jane’s apartment, Jesse’s house and loads more! 


  • A must-do for Breaking Bad fans
  • Visit many film locations from the show
  • Hear insider stories about the cast members
  • Ride in a Breaking Bad RV and have lunch at Los Pollos Hermanos

To check out current prices and availability, follow the link HERE

The locals are always very excited when the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is in Town, the whole city has a buzz to it.

The locals embrace the festival partly due to the extravagance and also due to it landing on there door step…sometimes literally!

As the hot air balloon rides and direction are dependent upon the wind direction, the whole thing could end up on someones doorstep or your neighbors backyard!

This adds an excitement to Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta like no other.

Route 66 sign in New Mexico | By Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia Commons

Don’t worry about safety, as there is always a chase crew following the balloon while in flight which keeps the pilot updated on weather conditions.

They also help to break down and fold the balloon after the landing.

This is a challenge in it’s self as the balloons are made from tough fabric and spanning over 70 foot! Hats of to the chase crew volunteers at Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

Old Town:

Other popular areas to see are the authentic Old Town Founded in 1706!  In the heart of Historic Old Town, you will find the Old Town Plaza, where Albuquerque was founded 300 years ago!  Here you'll find the historic San Felipe de Neri Church built in 1793.

This historic place is surrounded by a charming gazebo, popular for a variety of music and dance performances. 

Within walking distance are the New Mexico Museum of Natural History with its Planetarium and the beautiful Albuquerque Museum, where outdoor musical concerts happen all summer in the sculpture garden!

Artistic Madrid:

Once a coal mining town and relative “ghost town”. Madrid is now a creative community with over 40 shops and galleries, several restaurants, a spa and museum.

A couple miles north is the quaint village Cerrillos that includes a state park with hiking paths and horseback riding.

The village of Madrid is nestled in a narrow canyon in the Ortiz Mountains.

Bandelier (Native American Ruins)

Bandelier National Monument is in the Jemez Mountains and 20 miles west of Santa Fe, in north-central New Mexico. For more than 10,000 years, Bandelier was the home of an Ancestral Puebloan civilization.

700 years later, its a national monument is filled with ancient artefacts from potsherds to multi-storied buildings and more than 70 miles of trail.

How to get tickets to Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta?

Tickets and Types.

1) General Admission

Just $10 Per Person (Per session) 

Age: Over 13 years Old.

*One Session is all Morning activities or all Evening activities
*General Admission Tickets are good for any session, any day

2) Park And Ride tickets:

Your Park & Ride Ticket includes: 

  • Round-trip transportation to and from Balloon Fiesta Park
  • Admission to the Balloon Fiesta event
  • Expedited route to bypass heavy traffic


Purchase prices:  

 Children: (5 and under) FREE
 Children: (6-12) $7
 Adults: (13-61) $15
  Seniors: (62+) $12
 Bus Only: $12

3) Gondola Club Tickets

Enjoy Balloon Fiesta from one of the most picturesque locations in Balloon Fiesta Park.

The Gondola Club is a private area away from the crowds, and includes delicious food, local entertainment, courtesy shuttles, and indoor restrooms just for our guests.


  • Adult - $110 per person, per session
  • Child (ages 4-12) - $55 per person, per session (Children ages 3 and under are free)

Groups (14+ people)   

  • Adult - $95 per person, per session
  • Child (ages 4-12) $47.50 per person, per session (Children ages 3 and under are free)
  • For groups of 14 or more people, please contact us directly for tickets at (505) 821-1000, ext. 106 or gondolaclub@balloonfiesta.com

4) Chasers' Club Tickets

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is offering a special package for guests who would like to upgrade their Balloon Fiesta experience.

Your Chasers’ Club ticket gives you guaranteed seating in private outdoor patio located next to the launch field where you can enjoy traditional New Mexican food catered by Little Anita's along with cookies  and beverages.

Coffee is provided and is served along with hot cocoa in the mornings and iced tea and lemonade are served during evening events.

The Chasers' Club is located on the north end of Balloon Fiesta Park and offers a deluxe view of the launch field and is located near the Balloon Discovery Center and the Artisans at Balloon Fiesta tent.

The Chasers' Club is connected to the Chase Lounge so you will have the opportunity to purchase alcoholic beverages without the bother of standing in a beer garden.

Please note, NM State law requires an ID to purchase alcoholic beverages regardless of your age.

$45.00 per person per session (Children under 6 are free)

Tickets include:

  • Admission to the event.
  • Guaranteed seating in a private open air patio located on the north end of Balloon Fiesta Park.
  • Beverages, dessert and catered food provided by Little Anita's. 
  • The opportunity to enjoy a cocktail while you enjoy watching hundreds of balloons decorating the Albuquerque sky.

5) Glamping

$1,500 for 3 nights for 1 to 2 people
Each additional night stay is $500
Additional guests are $100 per person/night (4 guests maximum per tent)

Your Glamping experience will also include:

  • 3 night stay in a 168 sq ft safari tent 
  • Admission to the event for all sessions during your stay 
  • Premium Parking 
  • Welcome gift 
  • Choice of queen bed or 2 single beds 
  • Linens, comforter and pillows 
  • Heater and refrigerator 
  • Lamp and lantern
  • Access to restroom and shower trailers
  • Access to a hospitality area with grills, games and lounge chairs

6) Concierge Program

For the ultimate VIP experience you can arrange for your own concierge to be your tour guide while at the Balloon Fiesta.

You will experience the event from all angles
of the launch field. You can shop at our many vendor booths, check out the chainsaw carvers, visit the Artisans Tent and Balloon Discovery Center and end your session with a visit to the Balloon Museum.

You will have an insiders view of this spectacular event. This service is perfect for Balloon Fiesta first-timers, photographers, guests with mobility issues or guests who want to see all they can in one session.

With this service you will receive:

* A personal concierge for the duration of your session

* Golf cart transportation with driver

* (1) Premium Parking Pass

* (2) General Admission Tickets

* Balloon Fiesta gift

Cost for this service:  $350 per session (1-2 people) + $50 per additional person (4 maximum per package).

(Ticket Prices and Info from the official Balloon Festival website at BalloonFiesta.com)

How to get to Albuquerque Balloon Festival?

Located at:

4401 Alameda Blvd NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States. 

How to get to New Mexico?

Getting to and around Albuquerque is very easy.

If Flying in:

  • Nine commercial airlines fly into the Albuquerque International Sunport (airport code: ABQ) Airlines Include: Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, New Mexico, Southwest, United and Volaris.
  • Albuquerque is a major stop for both Amtrak and Greyhound.

Airport Shuttle And Rental Cars:

  • There are numerous airport shuttle and rental car options for getting around the city.  

If coming from Santa Fe or Surrounding areas?

  • The NM Rail Runner commuter train makes day trips to Santa Fe and the surrounding communities very easy.

Driving to Albuquerque:

  • The highways I-25 and I-40 intersect in Albuquerque.
  • The average city drive time is less than 20 minutes.
  • The ABQ Ride public bus system includes the Rapid Ride along heavily traveled corridors.

Where can I stay at Albuquerque Balloon Festival?

Really you wan't to be as close to Balloon Fiesta Park as possible!

We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Albuquerque   this is a fantastic modern hotel just 36 MINUTES WALK from the Balloon Fiesta Park!! 

It also includes a indoor pool, restaurant, European terrace and even a free Casino Shuttle!

(we got it for just $108/night) as we booked in advance. Expect this rate to be double normally. 

Courtyard by Marriott Albuquerque, Albuquerque, Restaurant

 Address:5151 Journal Center Blvd Ne, Albuquerque, NM, 87109, United States of America, 

There is also the Hilton Garden Inn Journal Center in Albuquerque 

Located just 2.6 miles from Balloon Fiesta park its a great hotel with all the extras and a really great rate. 

However, the decor is slightly more dated than the Marriott. 

Address: 5320 San Antonio Drive Northeast, Albuquerque, NM 87109 

For our a full list of our recommended Hotels nearby, Follow the link HERE

Want to save money?

Take a bucket list Hot Air Balloon Ride out of Festival season! 

To book a life changing Hot Air Balloon Experience in Albuquerque, follow this link HERE

Fancy a Romantic Hot Air Balloon ride over Vegas?

Bright lights? Big City? There is no better way to experience the Las Vegas strip then by air!!!

As we lifted of the glowing below was enticing and magical! Definitely an experience i will never forget!

We took the Sunset Hot Air Balloon Ride which took over the mountains as the sun swept below them majestically.

We were sceptical about the experience at first, but it really does put everything into perspective and surprisingly it actually brought me and my husband closer together!

Afterwards, we settled down for a Champagne toast and a chat with the professional balloon Pilot!

Check out this Bucket list adventure by following the link HERE

Tip: Be sure to book this trip well in advance on the FIRST 1-2 days of your trip in Vegas, as they can be in demand and also be rescheduled due to bad weather

Want an Epic Balloon Ride over Orlando?

This tour is ideal for a group of friends, families or a fun couple!

Take the Sunrise Hot Air Balloon ride over the picturesque orchards & waterways of central Florida!

My Kids even saw Walt Disney World! They loved it, it definitely a better gift then some toy they would play with once!

Afterwards enjoy a Champagne toast with post-flight snacks and receive a special flight certificate!

For more details on this Epic trip follow the link HERE

Too Much Planning!?

  • Do you find planning a trip time consuming & even stressful? 
  • Would you like a tailored Bucket List vacation?

If you answered YES, to these questions then you should contact a Travel expert to take care of everything for you! 

Taking an organised tour or tailored vacation is great as they will organize flights, hotels, car rental, activities &  Insurance! 

To fine out more check out: Which are the Best travel Tours?

Orlando Tours
Orlando Tours

For Awe-inspiring international Hot Balloon Festivals, from places like Cappadocia, turkey!

Check out this great article. 30 Most Extravagant Hot Air Balloon Festivals in the World!

Hot Air Balloon rides at Cappadocia, Turkey
Magical Hot Air Balloons at Cappadocia, Turkey Photo source: Getty.

For a full list of other U.S Hot Air Balloon Festivals/Locations,

check out this Epic article: 2020 Balloon Festivals in the USA 

There are also some fascinating Hot Air Balloon Festivals in Sri Lanka, Hot Air Balloon Tours in Sri Lanka: Epic Guide!

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
Find me on Twitter

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