Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Questions Answered

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Questions

Your Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Questions are answered here by Albuquerque Enthusiast Don Peterson.

Question: Is it too late to find a hotel for the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta?  Where can we find last minute hotel reservations for the Fiesta dates?

Don Peterson Answers:

Last minute hotels for the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

The good folks at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta have setup a website that provides last minute reservations for available hotel and motel rooms in Albuquerque. Go to the Official Hotels of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta website to see what’s available.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta - Photo 112


Question: We will be attending our first ever Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta this October. We want to see the balloons each morning of course, but we are wondering what other things we can do during the day. We will be around for a couple of days after the Fiesta ends as well, and we want to see as much as we possibly can.

Don Peterson Answers:

If this is your first trip to New Mexico, here are a couple of must see attractions every visitor to Albuquerque should see at least once.

Old Town, Albuquerque. This is the oldest and most historic district of Albuquerque, with Adobe architecture dating back to the 1700’s. It has wonderful gift shops, boutiques, and restaurants. This should be high on your list and makes a perfect afternoon destination when in Albuquerque.

Old Town, Albuquerque
Gift shop, Old Town, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico. The capital city of New Mexico, and one of the prettiest cities in all of the United States. Charming Adobe architecture and picture-perfect settings make this a must-see destination. Be sure to stroll along Canyon Road and soak in the charm and patina. Depending on the weather, you may also see Aspen trees displaying brilliant gold fall colors. Instead of driving to Santa Fe, take the Rail Runner for the ultimate no-worries round-trip commute from downtown Albuquerque.

A Canyon Road Art Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
A Canyon Road Art Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Madrid, New Mexico. This is one of the oddest and most charming ghost towns you will ever see. Resurrected as an artists commune, this is where hippies never die. Lots of quirky art, and loads of charm. This is a great place for bargain-priced art, gifts, and souvenirs. It is located on the Turquoise Trail between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Madrid, New Mexico
Madrid, New Mexico

The Indian Pueblo Cultural hosts a special week of Indian Dances during the week of the Balloon Fiesta. These dances are both culturally informative and richly entertaining for the whole family. More information on the schedule of dances at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center can be seen here.

What to do During Balloon Fiesta Week

If you need more ideas for day trips, see my Albuquerque Day Trips for lots of local attractions you can see within 2 hours drive of Albuquerque. Of course, there are plenty of great restaurants in Albuquerque worthy of your attention as well. Enjoy your trip!


Question: We are attending the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and staying at a hotel across from the Coronado Mall Park & Ride. What time should we plan on being at the Park & Ride to avoid long lines and arrive at the fiesta in time for the first wave of balloons launch?

Don Peterson Answers:

If you want to beat the crowds, and see Dawn Patrol, be at the shuttles from 4:30 a.m. to about 5:30 a.m. The earlier you get there the shorter the lines. Dawn Patrol usually inflates at 5:45AM and lifts off at 6AM. You will see lots of balloon crews setting up for the start of Mass Ascension at 7PM. Have a breakfast burrito and become familiar with the field. Things will start to get busy pretty quickly after Dawn Patrol. By the way, be sure to dress warmly! It can be quite cold before the sun rises. Dress in layers as it heats up pretty quickly after sunrise.

Finally, be aware that the shuttles to the Balloon Fiesta do not run on Mon., Tues., and Wednesday.

Balloon Fiesta Photos 1


Question: What Type of Food Is Served at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta?

Don Peterson Answers:

For the most part, expect much of the same food you typically see at street fairs and carnivals, along with a good representation of New Mexican style fast food. One vendor is offering a deep-fried green chile cheeseburger this year!  The breakfast burrito is probably the most popular early morning Balloon Fiesta nosh. While some of Albuquerque’s best restaurants are represented here, the logistics of feeding tens of thousands of people quickly means that food is cooked on a scale that loses some of its finesse and attention to detail. You must visit some of Albuquerque’s best restaurants after the morning’s events at the Balloon Fiesta for a true taste of the best dining Albuquerque has to offer.

Best Albuquerque Restaurants


Get answers to your Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta travel questions from local travel expert Don Peterson. Use this contact form to submit your question.