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January 16, 2022

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta New Mexico

In October 2021 drove from Austin Texas to Albuquerque New Mexico, Its a 12 hour drive, took an over night break in Amarillo Texas

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is an amazing event held anually in early October with 100's of hot air balloons that fill up the sky. See video below, a must visit for anyone

Entrance tickets cost U$D 15 per session, there are 2 sessions 1 in the morning, gates open around 5 AM and second in the evening starting at 3:30 PM on the weekends, on weekdays there is just one morning session

Stay - I stayed at an Airbnb downtown for $115 a night, prices during the Balloon fiesta are high. My Airbnb was in downtown close to old town Albuquerque, and about 10 miles from the Balloon fiesta Park, Albuquerque did not have too bad of a rush hour traffic and the location worked perfect for me.

Weather - Mornings and Nights are cold and daytime is warm in October

Dawn Patrol

The Dawn Patrol is a morning event at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. It's a chance for pilots to check the wind conditions for the day and for early guests to cheer on the balloonists. The Dawn Patrol lasts up to two hours and occurs on Mass Ascension Days, which are weekends and Wednesdays. Got up at 5 AM and headed to the fiesta park, its still dark when the balloons take off.

Night Glow

The balloons are inflated and their burners are pulsed in time with music. The balloons glow like giant light bulbs or Chinese lanterns. The most spectacular moment is when all the balloons fire their burners and light up at the same time. 

Besides the Balloon Fiesta, I did visit Cibola National Forest, beautiful hike with amazing views

I also visited Old Town Albuquerque, that video coming soon, stay tuned.

Questions or comments, leave them below



  1. Thanks for taking us back to a fun experience and memories. The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta was on our travel wish list for a long time so we were glad when we finally got there. I have to agree that it is worth getting up for the Dawn Patrol and making sure you see the Night Glow. We stayed in Albuquerque for a few busy days but missed the Cibola National Forest. A good one for a return visit. Linda (LD Holland)

  2. I would love to visit Albuquerque and see the balloon festival, it would be amazing to see so many in the sky at the same time and to see the different designs of the balloons. I am not a morning person so I think I would enjoy more the night glow, that sounds like something very unique to see. Another place and event to add to my bucket list.

  3. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is one of the reasons I want to go back there. It's so famous that I understand why the prices of accommodation are higher. The Night Glow looks cool! I wonder if you got to ride in one, too. I hope to do some hiking at Cibola National Forest, too.

    1. One has to book months in advance to ride in a balloon at the fair and my travels in Albuquerque were last minute decision.

  4. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta sounds like a great event. It reminds me of our own Bristol Balloon Fiesta which is quite similar and stretches on two days. The 15$ ticket price for each session to attend the fiesta in Albuquerque seems very reasonable. Shame though that the accommodation prices do go up during this time. I'd like to go to the Dawn Patrol and see closely how the pilots check the wine and how the first balloons start to get up in the sky.

  5. The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta looks like a colorful fun event. I would love to experience the atmosphere. I imagine that there is a lot of live music going on at the same time? I am not a morning person but would not miss the balloons in the dark!

  6. I have not been to Albuquerque yet, but the Balloon Fiesta seems to be a popular event. It must be fun to experience it. I have done tandem skyjump years ago and I feel this must be a bit like that being in space although in a bucket under the balloon. Night glow sounds awesome but riding it in the dark is a bit scary. Will plan it someday. :-)

  7. I have not heard of this event but now I will definitely include this vital information in my planning should I be travelling around the area. I would be up early too - the opportunity to get those beautiful photos of the balloons at the Night Glow is too good to pass up.

  8. This definitely sounds fun. It been a while since I had been to a hot air balloon festival and I can't wait to attend one again. Happy to know that the tickets are reasonable. I would prefer to go to the Night Glow.

  9. 12 hours is a long time to drive for sure! I've always wanted to attend the festival but also worry about too many folks doing the same. The photos make it look so worthwhile, though. What a lovely time — night seems amazing!


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