Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
4.5
About
Imagine over 500 colorful hot air balloons rising up at dawn over the New Mexico landscape… there's truly nothing like it, and the place to experience it is each October at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Spectators and balloon pilots from all over the world gather (some even camping in their RVs) to watch mass ascensions held in the mornings and night events like a 'glowdeo' held in the evening. Music stages are set up during the day and performers stroll through the festival crowds. Every year the Balloon Fiesta kicks off on the first Saturday of October and continues for nine days.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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  • Rob S
    2 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Good, but could be better.
    Mornings are great! Evenings need more access to alcohol. It is VERY limited and there has to be a better ratio to crowd size. Also, for the amount of money brought in each year, permanent restrooms should be budgeted. World-class event. Welcome to our Porta Potties!
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 7, 2023
  • BeeBuras
    Jamison, Pennsylvania42 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Put this on your Bucket List !!!
    This was a bucket list item that we’ve finally been able to complete. The weather was picture perfect all week & the hundreds of balloons were beyond belief!!! It is difficult to describe the experience. It is definitely a must do !!!!
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written October 12, 2023
  • Marshall B
    115 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This is a bucket list event!
    One of the most amazing things my wife and I have ever seen. Huge field full of hot air balloons that you can walk right up to, watch them be inflated and then watch float away. Beautiful colors and smiles on everyone's faces everywhere. Put it on your bucket list!
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 14, 2023
  • Rftstar
    Verona, Wisconsin220 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Must Experience Event!
    For the first time we went, I secured tickets to the Gondola Club - so glad we did that. It helped us for parking first, but then it really allowed us to learn a little about the lay of the area/field/activities. Being there on a Mass Ascent morning, they start letting the balloons off in the Southern part of the field, and the balloon head south, so they were flying right over us. The pictures I took can't even beginning to express what one sees live. Came back a second evening with general admission tickets and explored the rest of the park and the evening activities. That was more of a state fair experience. Definitely would recommend the fiesta overall.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 15, 2023
  • mizzoumom100
    Saint Louis, Missouri59 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Balloon festival
    Do your research. Normally balloons lift off at 5-6am. Some people just park along the highways to watch the balloons. We just happened to be driving from Santa Fe to Albuquerque about 8am, and all of a sudden there were a zillion dots rising up, and then BALLOONS! I snapped a bunch of pics, while hubby was driving 75 mph, and they came out pretty clear. It must have been hundreds of balloons that all rose up into the sky at once. If we hadn't needed to catch a plane, we would have pulled over. So lucky that they were ascending so late that we were able to see them. A once in a lifetime chance!
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 15, 2023
  • Nikzleez
    Prince George, Virginia811 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Bucket List!
    So glad we came. Phenomenal experience. First day (Tuesday) we did general admission morning session. We arrived around 4:00am. Great spot parking. No problems finding a bench. As the balloons inflated we gave up our seats...so much better to walk the field. Didn't even use the portable chair we brought. Not too crowded at all. Glad we did not pursue Gondola or Chaser Club (sold out regardless) for this session. Did have Chaser tickets for Friday night Glowdeo (evening session). It was SO crowded...45 minutes + to park. Longer walk in. Did appreciate the private section, seats, food provided and bathroom that night as no room to sit and LONG lines for food at the stands. Did walk around, but much more difficult than the weekday morning. Beautiful all around!
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 15, 2023
  • JustGo
    33 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    MUST SEE!
    You have to go at least once! Words and pictures cannot describe the awe you will experience. This is one of the only venues that will allow you to walk onto the balloon field and be amongst the pilots and their crew. You see up close how to put up a hot air balloon. 3 things: get there for the dawn patrol. What an amazing sight to see the balloons take flight before the sunrise! Second: it is COLD in the morning. We are from the far north, and we know cold... but believe me when I say it is colder than you are expecting. I'm talking sweatshirts, long johns, coats, hats, mittens. Third: traffic is horrible. If you have the option, buy a Park and Ride ticket. You can choose from several locations to park, then a bus will take you directly to the gate - on a special road that is for service vehicles so you miss the traffic.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 17, 2023
  • Rachelle C
    39 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    So much fun!
    My husband and I went to the festival probably 20 years ago, and it has changed and gotten much bigger since then, but overall we loved the experience. We stayed at a nearby hotel and left our hotel on the Friday of the Special Shapes Rodeo at 4:50 am and had no trouble with traffic or parking. We left our hotel at 4:30 am on the Saturday of the final mass ascension (because we had a 5:00 am check in with Rainbow Ryders) and had no problem with traffic or parking. The number of balloons for both the Friday and Saturday events was mind-blowing. The crowd was big but not suffocating. We attended the special shapes rodeo on a Friday and a evening glodeo on a Friday and a mass ascension on a Saturday. We very much enjoyed all three. The drone show and the fireworks on Friday were both awesome. Saturday morning we went up with the mass ascension and had a wonderful time. Luckily for us, the weather was good the days we attended, but not the day before (Thursday) or the day after (Sunday). Get reservations way in advance to go up in the mass ascension and plan on attending at least two days, in case the weather isn't cooperating. Entrance is $15 per event (morning and afternoon events are separate if you leave in between) and $20 (cash only) to park. On Saturday, we also stayed for the eclipse, which was way fun. They gave us special glasses when we entered the park. Felt like a two-for-one event. Bring your own chair, if you plan to sit, and a blanket or winter coat. It is cold in the morning.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 19, 2023
  • Barb B
    41 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    An event that should not be missed
    Magical! We were fortunate to have the opportunity to volunteer as crew members. What an amazing experience to witness and have a front row, up close experience. The glow-de-oo by far the best, all different shapes too numerous to mention were ablaze in color when the burners were lite. The morning launch ascension on a clear chilly morning, so many balloons to focus on. The event had music, food vendors, and souvenirs. Stay late be sure to catch theskydivers, drone show and the fireworks were out of this world nothing I have ever seen before. This event is a must do if you are in the area at the time of the event. Be forewarned traffic and crowds can be very heavy.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 23, 2023
  • ScottEmmaLee
    Apison, Tennessee222 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Glamping on weekdays not same as weekends but same price.
    On-site Glamping great but not the same Monday to Wednesday as weekend. Our first time at Fiesta we booked glamping so we could experience show in part from our tent. You have to book 3 night minimum which is the same price weekend or weekdays. We turned in our rental car expecting morning and evening shows with onsite food vendors. Upon arrival we were told on weekdays after the morning shows there is nothing until the next day including no food vendors. Rather disappointing as if we knew that we would have tried booking weekends and kept rental car. Price for Monday to Thursday should not be the same for half the shows. Otherwise, glamping tents, toilets and showers were very comfortable. Camp host David was friendly and very welcoming. The Fiesta even with only morning activities was fantastic!
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 26, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Gail Goldman
Hartsdale, NY1,087 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
Luckily, we had already been in balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey, also world renowned for the flights over the fairy castles. However, this was the time to see the whole operation from the ground. You really felt a part of the set up, the firing up, the mass ascensions and a crowd of 60,000 people just wowed and excited together. The feeling was indescribable. To hear and sing our National Anthem and see the plane formations at the beginning of the event brought tears to my eyes.
The sacrifice for attending events like this is that you have to get up in the middle of the night to reach the grounds before dawn. It is also cold so layer up. If you need an extra layer, you can pick up a colorful Indian fleece from the local vendor booths.
Is it worth it?
A hundred million per cent!
The photo ops are over the top. There was so much color and variety. We loved Smokey, Yoda, the cow and When Pigs Fly balloons.
We attended with Tauck tours who guided us in and out because they know the ropes and we did not have to worry about parking or timing. They even had a coffee and pastry tent set up.
There are many food and drink vendors and gift booths with balloon merchandise and may souvenirs.
There are also bands and music.
Who could ask for more?
A suggestion would be that you book 2 days so you are not disappointed if the weather conditions do not allow for the ballooning.
Written January 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KG_TXtraveler
Houston, TX630 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 • Family
This was a fantastic experience to walk on the field while balloons are inflating and taking off around you. It’s a really up close and personal experience with teams and pilots. A great event for kids as they can collect cards and pins from the teams. I recommend the morning mass ascension sessions as that is the neatest time to see all the balloons aloft. It also has a chance to be too windy or too wet for the balloons, so I would recommend planning on attending more than one day in case the weather doesn’t cooperate- you will at least have a contingency day to see some balloons.
Written October 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pam W
Louisville, KY71 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
This event was on my bucket list as soon as I discovered it. It is an annual event featuring over 588 hot air balloons over a nine day period. We attended 1 morning session and 1 evening session. We arrived a 5 am for the morning session to experience the “dawn patrol” where a number of balloons go up to monitor the wind conditions. The sun is just coming up and the view is spectacular. It is cold that early but warms up quickly, suggest to dress in layers and include gloves. The park is open all day but once all the balloons go up there isn’t much to do. There is food and drinks available, mostly what I call “fair food”. We were back in our hotel by 10:30 am. The evening session lasts longer and after the balloon glow there is an impressive fireworks. We did bring chairs for the evening session and I was glad we did. We used the bus shuttle and it was great! Very organized and well planned. We stayed in Rio Ranchero but were only five minutes from the mall pick up. Tickets for the shuttle are available online usually starting the July prior to the Oct event and include the price of admission to the park.
Written January 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kathy R
Belton, TX2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019 • Couples
We went on a short trip to New Mexico last October mainly to see the International Balloons Festival in Albuquerque. We took our Aussie poo Ryder and we had a fantastic time! We left Belton and headed to New Mexico and stopped at a casino and horse track on the border then the next day headed to Roswell to the UFO Mueseum which was a hoot. After souvenir shopping we headed to the Cattle Baron and had the best prime rib. Then it was on to stay at the Navito in Albuquerque and the International Balloon Festival which was amazing and the next day rode the Sandia Tram which had amazing views of the city. Near there was an amazing dog park that Ryder really enjoyed. We spent a day in Santa Fe and went to St Micheals and the ch Loretta chapel and had fun shopping in old town. Then we drove to Chalma and took the stem engine to Antonito Co and bussed back to our rustic lodge. It was an awesome trip!
Written January 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Denise P
Florida Keys, FL41 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
This was our first visit to the Fiesta. We attended a morning session hoping to witness a Mass Assention; however, the wind kept the ballons grounded. Even so, the experience was amazing. We saw a Morning Glow show and a record-setting candle burn as the National Athem was played and planes performed a fly over. We were also able to walk among the inflated balloons (more than 150 of the the registered 588 balloons were inflated that morning) and talk with the balloon crews. I highly recommend Gondola Club passes (order these online as soon as they are offered!) for the access to the park (traffic is HEAVY), Gondola Club parking (close and convenient), upgraded restroom facilities, helpful volunteer staff, and hearty food and beverages. The Gondola Club also provides seating right next to the field.
Written October 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rachelle C
39 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
My husband and I went to the festival probably 20 years ago, and it has changed and gotten much bigger since then, but overall we loved the experience. We stayed at a nearby hotel and left our hotel on the Friday of the Special Shapes Rodeo at 4:50 am and had no trouble with traffic or parking. We left our hotel at 4:30 am on the Saturday of the final mass ascension (because we had a 5:00 am check in with Rainbow Ryders) and had no problem with traffic or parking. The number of balloons for both the Friday and Saturday events was mind-blowing. The crowd was big but not suffocating. We attended the special shapes rodeo on a Friday and a evening glodeo on a Friday and a mass ascension on a Saturday. We very much enjoyed all three. The drone show and the fireworks on Friday were both awesome. Saturday morning we went up with the mass ascension and had a wonderful time. Luckily for us, the weather was good the days we attended, but not the day before (Thursday) or the day after (Sunday). Get reservations way in advance to go up in the mass ascension and plan on attending at least two days, in case the weather isn't cooperating. Entrance is $15 per event (morning and afternoon events are separate if you leave in between) and $20 (cash only) to park. On Saturday, we also stayed for the eclipse, which was way fun. They gave us special glasses when we entered the park. Felt like a two-for-one event. Bring your own chair, if you plan to sit, and a blanket or winter coat. It is cold in the morning.
Written October 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steven L
Syracuse, NY863 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
My wife and I had visited the Balloon Fiesta in 2014 and were looking forward to our 2021 return. We used a plan that worked very well for us the first time and it still was effective.
My advice would start with planning to be in ABQ a few days if possible to give you flexibility for your visit if the weather isn't cooperating. It's exciting to go on the weekend as more activities seem to be scheduled but beware that the roads are jammed with traffic and the site can be very crowded.
We dress in layers to be comfortable early on and later in the morning if the New Mexico sun is scheduled to warm things up. Channel 7 tv is very helpful with clothing suggestions. We did see some choices of clothing that made us shiver [ and them as well].
We chose a week day each time. The parking lots open at 4:30 a.m. and we made sure we were there at about that time. Traffic is extremely light and parking near the main entrance was available. We wander around looking in vendor tents and watching for early activity. I love the Dawn Patrol and we position ourselves to see it and take photos.
There is then a wait as the weather is assessed to allow a mass ascension. White and black striped launch officials are all over the park giving the go signals to balloonists to launch and the sky is filled with balloons. You don't know which way to turn next to get that "perfect" shot.
After the launch , we walked around looking at balloons that just couldn't fly. A bit later in the morning , there was a flying competition that we had never seen before but enjoyed thoroughly.
We left before noon and were extremely happy with the event.
There are hundreds [ if not more] volunteers that work very hard to make your experience an excellent one.
Written October 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

George D
16 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
We've had two trips to the Balloon Fiesta. Expect to be cold as you wait for the dawn ascension. There will be vendors selling fake alpaca sweaters and overpriced hot chocolate. Expect traffic congestion getting in and out, unless you arrive much before dawn. Expect taxi drivers who are confused about where to pick you up.

The whole hassle melts away when you first see the fires set under these balloons, and they go up. To make it a really memorable experience, reserve a spot on one of the balloons, which you can do by contacting Rainbow Ryders. Do it months in advance.
Written December 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alberta S
Washington DC, DC759 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
Our second visit was even better than the first! Come before dawn to see them firing up the balloons is a spectacle not to be missed. The lift offs make you cheer.
Then come back at night got the glows. Just so special. A little kids dream- and no adult should miss it either
Written April 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sheila T
Carpintera, California62 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
A friend and I had this on our bucket list and it was well worth the cost. You must either come very early in morning or in the evening. I chose the morning flight. Getting to the fiesta location was time consuming since there were vast numbers of people for the Park and Ride but it was well run. We did get lost before finding the Rainbow Ryders tent since your entry point was far from it. Our pilot was great. We were one of the first balloons up that morning. It was an amazing experience!
Written January 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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