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Where to stay for Balloon Festival

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Dunedin, FL
posts: 50
reviews: 10
Where to stay for Balloon Festival

I will be in Alburquerque in October for the Balloon and I am trying to figure out the best place to stay. Here is our plan and maybe you can give me some advice??

Friday night: arrive via plane

Saturday morning: balloon festival

Saturday afternoon: spend day around Albuquerque

Saturday evening: back to balloon festival

Sunday morning: balloon festival

Sunday afternoon: drive to Sante Fe for the afternoon

Sunday evening: back to balloon festival?

Monday morning: leave via plane

How is the parking around the festival? Are there any hotels where you can walk to the balloon festival? Or are we better off staying near downtown Albuquerque and taking public transportation to the festival?

I am 30, will be with my mother who is 60. We are both ok with walking a mile or so if needed.

Rochester, NY
posts: 384
reviews: 2
1. Re: Where to stay for Balloon Festival

Oh, I so envy you! I have been to the Fiesta twice in the last 8 years. Wish I could help more with the hotel selection. I just stayed at one near the airport and called a shuttle service to get me back and forth. The first time I drove to one of the malls and took a shuttle from there... but I found it much easier to pay a little more and have a service pick me up at the hotel.

Do you realize how early you have to get up in the morning? That was a bit of a surprise for me. In order to see the "dawn patrol" flights... you should be at the park about 6. That meant getting up about 4:30 or so. Sigh. I'd do it again, though.

Not sure if I'd do TWO evenings at the fiesta. The "glows" are amazing... but once each year was enough for me.

It's the most amazing experience, though... I hope you have a wonderful time!

Lynn in Rochester, NY

Belmont...
posts: 674
reviews: 15
2. Re: Where to stay for Balloon Festival

There is parking available onsite at Balloon Fiesta Park. It's a large lot, and shuttles take you from the more remote parking to field entrances.

There are hotels located within walking distance, but it is a long walk. Also, now is the time to see if any of those hotels still have rooms available.

Frankly, ABQ is small enough that I would pick a hotel located central to all of the other things you want to do and close to a park and ride or railrunner station as transportation is much easier from those as it is dealing with the fiesta traffic and parking.

Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn Express, Marriott Pyramid,Howard Johnson, Clarion, and Ramada are all close to within a mile of the park.

A lot of fiesta questions can be answered on the website www.balloonfiesta.com.

Keep your fingers crossed on the weather...last year almost a full weekend was rained out.

Ohio
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 5,945
reviews: 188
3. Re: Where to stay for Balloon Festival

we've been a couple of time. Two years ago, we stayed at the Super 8 east-- quick shot to the Tramway Blvd so we ran that around following the base of the mts and coming out at the Sandias Casino. We got up and left before the sun came up-- NO traffic going via the Tramway Blvd at all. We were only there for the ascension, so parked at the casino and watched before heading up to Taos. VERY cool to see 700+ balloons in the air at once.

Anyways-- you might try something with good reviews on the east side of Albu and use the Tramway Blvd to avoid the traffic. Worked well for us.

Albuquerque, New...
posts: 2,168
reviews: 36
4. Re: Where to stay for Balloon Festival

There are not any hotels very near the Balloon Fiesta Park. The nearest would be the Holiday Inn Express, and Ramada Inn on Alameda Blvd. & I-25. The roundtrip would be at least 3 miles on foot, and with a car, you would have to use a different entrance (I-25 @ Tramway) anyway.

You might consider staying in Bernalillo, about 8 miles north of the balloon park. By taking the old U.S. highway south from there, you can avoid much of the traffic mess coming out of Albuquerque. The first Saturday morning is honestly a zoo. Arrive at the balloon park VERY EARLY! I mean 5:30am! We've had two posters who tried Bernalillo last year, and both said they were glad they did. The down-side is that you are 30-45 minutes from Old Town and most of Albuquerque's attractions.

Be sure to visit Albuquerque's Old Town historical area, adjacent museums, and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

If you are driving up to Santa Fe on Sunday afternoon, you might want to take in the Harvest Festival at Old Cienega Village Museum (a living history museum of Spanish-era life in NM). It is SW of Santa Fe about 15 miles, and a little difficult to finds without a good map but worth it. Two villages, crops, arts and crafts, food, dancing, etc. The full walk to all is about 1 1/2 to 2 miles, but it's a stroll with so many things to see and experience.

I hope Mother Nature cooperates with your timetable. It is always a good idea to have at least 2 or 3 days planned for the fiesta, as weather cancellations are not uncommon.

Rochester, NY
posts: 384
reviews: 2
5. Re: Where to stay for Balloon Festival

Noticed that NM Photojournalist mentioned "Old Cienega Village Museum" harvest festival. How does this compare to the one at El Rancho de las Golondrinas? (did it change its name???) I really enjoyed that... sounds very similar.

Thanks.

Lynn in Rochester, NY

Albuquerque, NM
posts: 36
reviews: 26
6. Re: Where to stay for Balloon Festival

I know that all the hotels charge a premium for the fiesta and are booked well in advance. I notice coming into work there is a Holiday Inn Express on Yale that will be done by the end of July. It is near the airport. You might want to try and see if that one has any rooms.

Belmont...
posts: 674
reviews: 15
7. Re: Where to stay for Balloon Festival

I did a search on hotels.com for the second weekend ( Oct 9 - 12 ) and found plenty of rooms available in the 160.00 range ( and lower, and higher ) all over the city, including the Clarion close-ish to the park and the Nativo, also up in that area.

Start now and you should be fine.

I also checked the prior weekend, same thing.

Hotels.com has a feature that lets you check by distance to landmark. Look for the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum. This will show you distance from the fiesta site.

Some hotels charge premiums but not all do.

Some sell out well in advance, some don't.

Dunedin, FL
posts: 50
reviews: 10
8. Re: Where to stay for Balloon Festival

Thanks for all the information so far. I will let you know once I decide for sure!

Dunedin, FL
posts: 50
reviews: 10
9. Re: Where to stay for Balloon Festival

I booked the Pyramid Marriott today so we can walk to the park. Thanks again for the advice!

Albuquerque, New...
posts: 2,168
reviews: 36
10. Re: Where to stay for Balloon Festival

For "RochesterWoman".

Old Cienega Village, and Rancho de Las Golondrinas are one in the same. :-)