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Your Local Guide to The 2022 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

If you are looking to enjoy the Annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta this year in Albuquerque we’ve got some amazing tips for you below!

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Balloon season is here! Every year, ABQ puts on two full weekends of magic called the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta ✨ People from all across the world come to visit to experience the hot air balloons. For those that aren’t local to Albuquerque, this can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience! If you are a visitor or a local here is some great info!

What is the Balloon Fiesta?

ABQ is known for the Balloon Fiesta worldwide. Every year in October, 500+ balloons of various colors and designs are gathered and inflated to create a magical scene. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Balloon Fiesta, which has brought people together from all over the world to enjoy this experience. 

When is the Balloon Fiesta?

The Ballon Fiesta is a 9-day event and this year it will take place from October 1 to October 9. We’ve provided an itinerary (see photo above) of the two weekends that are jam-packed with activities you won’t want to miss!

*Fun fact* The altitude and geography of Albuquerque create a phenomenon called the “Albuquerque box” where gentle winds blow in a box pattern, sometimes leading balloons back to their starting point.

What are the best ways to experience the Balloon Fiesta?

There are many ways to experience the Balloon Fiesta in ABQ. The first and closest way to get involved is to GO to the fiesta! With activities happening from the crack of dawn until nightfall, you can explore the ABQ Balloon Fiesta all day long throughout each weekend. The most popular events are on each end of each day; the Mass Ascension and the Balloon Glow.

Mass Ascension:

The initial and only “take off” for all of the balloons each day. You get to be on the field watching the Balloonists prepare for take-off. We recommend a thermos of hot cocoa or coffee, a thick blanket, warm clothes, and your phone for pictures! You have to get up early for this one with most people getting on the field at 5:30 AM or 6:00 AM to prepare and enjoy the commotion.

Chasing Balloons:

Across the city of ABQ, people pick a Balloon and chase it until it lands. This can be an enjoyable activity for the kids (especially if you have a sunroof!). Balloons take on all shapes and characters so have your group pick one and start the chase! It’s thrilling to watch a Balloon land at a moment’s notice in some interesting places. Some have landed in arroyos, fields, neighborhoods, and even backyards! The chase is worth it to be able to watch the Balloonists land and give them a high-five at the end!

Important notes about this activity: Driving and chasing can be dangerous so have one designated driver NOT looking up at the sky, but looking at the road. Landing a Balloon is a technical and dangerous act. Please do not interfere with the landing of the Balloon in any way as it can be life-threatening. Please, watch from a distance of at least 100 yards!

Balloon Glow:

The Balloon Glow can go by different names on the schedule but all carry the same idea. In the evening, the Balloons are tethered to the ground and light up their baskets! They pump hot air into the Balloon just as if they were taking off but instead, they stay put! This creates a beautiful show of firefly-like balloons surrounding you as you walk through the field. This is one of the most romantic events to attend.

Where is the best place to see Balloons?

If you are not interested in getting into the thick of it there are plenty of places across the city to see Balloons and experience a slice of the fiesta! Many businesses will hold small events with one or two balloons taking off along with coffee and donuts! These can be found by a quick search or by listening to the radio advertisements this time of year. City parks and places to watch include anywhere on the bosque (as the balloons tend to hover over the river due to the atmosphere), and North Domingo Baca Park! You’ll want to stay down from the mountain as the balloons won’t be heading in that direction.

Important notes for this activity: Do NOT park off the road, highway, or interstate to watch the balloons this can be very dangerous and the locals still have to get to work!

The Balloon Fiesta is an event the whole family will enjoy and an event you will not forget!  
Click here for the complete guest guide to help you navigate the event.

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