Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta survival tips can help you have the best experience, while avoiding traffic and long lines. Here’s what we’ve learned over the past 15 years to help our guests avoid the crowds and long lines.
When to go to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Go the first day of your visit. The Balloon Fiesta is a weather-permitting event, and activities may get canceled because of wind or rain. If mass ascension gets canceled the first day, you may have another morning or two to go.
Which day to go? The mass ascension of 400-500 balloons happens every day at 7:00 a.m.There are more activities at the Balloon Fiesta on Saturdays and Sundays, including a chainsaw carving competition, laser light show, After Glow in the evening, and fireworks. Of course, many more people attend the fiesta on the weekends and it can be quite busy. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have fewer people attending.
Go early! Whichever day you choose to go, go early! We recommend our guests leave by 5:00 a.m. You don’t want to be sitting in your car waiting to get into a parking lot or in line at the gate. Go early, watch the event as it happens, take a break to get coffee or a breakfast burrito. All of the food vendors open very early.
How to get to the Balloon Fiesta
Take Park & Ride. Park & Ride goes from several locations around Albuquerque to Balloon Fiesta Park. A Park & Ride ticket gets you the bus ride to Balloon Fiesta Park, admission, and the bus ride back. The bus drops you off right at the gates to the park. You can buy tickets online up to 6 hours before the event you want to attend. Buses have priority lanes and will zip by all the cars waiting to get in!
Monday through Wednesday the Park & Ride does not operate. Just remember to go early.
What to take to the Balloon Fiesta
It can be chilly early in the morning, so wear layers, including sweaters or jackets, hats, and maybe even gloves and scarves. Once the sun comes up, it will start getting warmer, so a bag or backpack to carry all of that will help. Of course you’ll need a camera!
Albuquerque restaurants and attractions
Expect many restaurants and attractions around Albuquerque to be very busy. When possible, make reservations for dinner well in advance. Otherwise, you may have to wait for an hour or more. The Sandia Peak Tram does not sell tickets online, and the wait can be several hours long. If you’re in Albuquerque for several days, plan to do the tram on a morning you will not be attending the Balloon Fiesta. The tram starts at 9:00 a.m., but plan to be there well before then.
We hope these Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta survival tips help you have a great stay in Albuquerque. We try to make your bucket list easy!
Planning to go to the Balloon Fiesta next year?
Stay at the Bottger Mansion of Old Town Bed & Breakfast! It’s centrally located in Albuquerque, right in Old Town. With over 100 shops, galleries, restaurants, and museums in the Old Town historic district, there’s plenty to do when you’re not at the Balloon Fiesta. It’s not too early to make your reservations to stay next year. Weekends sell out quickly. We look forward to hosting your stay next year.