Over 500 balloons take flight at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This nine-day event takes place in a 78-acre launch field, and attendees are invited to be right in the middle of the action. Imagine talking to a balloon pilot and then witnessing them float into the sky minutes later.
Two sessions a day take place. Plan to arrive in the wee hours of the morning for the first launch. The second fiesta event is held late afternoon. Learn about the majesty of these floating balloons and then marvel at the grace of them as they lift off into the blue. Watch the balloon pilots work on accuracy in competitions like Fly-In Tasks and Balloon Fiesta Golf.
On the ground, there is a stage with musical performances and entertainment for the kids. Coming to this festival once won’t be enough, so start making plans for next year, too.
While in New Mexico, explore the Albuquerque area and enjoy the culture of the Southwest. The city is multicultural, allowing you to discover the region’s history, cuisine, architecture, and music. Make the balloon festival your RV's home base and tour the area as you like. Cibola National Forest and Petroglyph National Monument are sites that travelers may also appreciate while in the area.
Tickets vary from around $10 to $750 per person, depending on what kind of experience you are looking for at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The wonderful thing is that every ticket allows for incredible views and memories to be made, whether you have a general admission pass or a concierge VIP package. Visit the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta website to purchase your ticket to the fun.
I-25 runs north and south and will point you in the direction of Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, located at Balloon Fiesta Park. Before leaving home, download the KOAT news app for local alerts on the weather and road conditions in New Mexico. Make a mental note of sights you want to see as you drive into the area. Albuquerque has beautiful scenery to take in and plenty of sights to explore.
There are several lots for parking at the festival. Color-coded, numbered gates at each lot are easy to spot. Have cash on hand to pay for parking privileges. Accessibility parking is close to the main entrance. There are shuttles that run the length of the park, as well as into some of the lots.
Check out the fiesta website to read about the park and ride options that are available on most days for those who are keen to park farther away and get bussed into the park for a small fee. If you are staying in the RV park, there is a shuttle that will take you to the events. They run before each launch session. If you would like to bike, there is a convenient valet service.
The onsite RV park is fully booked way before the festival begins, so if you want to get on the wait-list, fill out the appropriate paperwork online if needed. Getting a spot close to the action and incredible sights is worth the effort. There are both dry sites and sites with power and water. There is no dump station, but service is provided for a cash fee.
RV parks are abundant close by the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, and you may encounter some options within walking distance. Choosing to set up camp in an area further away from the balloon park means that you can make stops along the way.
Explore museums, view the architecture, and enjoy the landscape in front of the clear blue sky. Albuquerque North / Bernalillo KOA and Albuquerque KOA Journey both sit less than a half hour's drive from the event site and welcome RVrs with amenities to fit any camper's request.
Sturdy, comfortable shoes are a must so that you can walk the 80-acre launch field without a problem. Navigating a stroller will be a challenge because the terrain is uneven and the crowds are thick. There are wheelchairs and scooters for rent, but it is advised that you have someone with you that can assist over less than smooth grass. The venue is large, but there are no golf carts or ATVs permitted in the launch field.
Because the first session begins early in the morning and the second ends late in the evening, dress in layers. Cozy clothes are a must. A hat and gloves may be appreciated in the fall weather, especially if the wind picks up. The sun is warm and welcome during the day but be prepared with a raincoat just in case the clouds roll in for a shower.
Bring a backpack to the festival with food and drinks to keep the family nourished and energized. Leave the alcohol and glass at home, as these items will be confiscated when you go through security. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a highly photographed event, so be sure to bring along your camera and enjoy your own group pictures with the balloons. Lawn chairs are permitted.
Keep an eye on the kids at all times, especially while on the launch field. Care must be taken to not step on the balloon fabric or equipment. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a necessary backpack item because you will be at a moderately high altitude and the sun will be strong. Stay hydrated too, and have the kids take a rest at regular intervals.
Fresh air and excitement are a recipe for hunger. Keep the family well-fed with meals like grilled cheese, and salad topped with chicken. Breakfasts should be hearty and include protein items like yogurt. At the Balloon Fiesta RV park, you cannot have a campfire or bonfire due to safety concepts near the balloons. Top up the propane tank in the RV and plan easy meals on the kitchen stove.
Be prepared to eat, drink, and be merry. The food offerings in Albuquerque, New Mexico are second to none when it comes to culture and diversity. Visit a bistro, diner, grill house, cafe or tap house. The list of restaurant types is too long to include them all. Take a food adventure and see for yourself just what this area of the country has to offer culinary-wise.
Check out the delicious festival fare if you are looking for a meal or snack. There are tents stretching ⅓ of a mile, so be sure to save room for the unique and tasty fare. If you are looking for something to take home, visit the Balloon Fiesta Souvenir tent. ATMs are on site in the event you need extra spending money.
The Balloon Fiesta Public Safety Team will patrol the acreage over the nine-day event, along with local law enforcement. Bags of all attendees will be thoroughly checked at the entrance gates. There is a public safety station on the grounds if you need assistance. At the RV park, ensure that your belongings are securely stored in the RV or back of your tow vehicle.
Temperatures will be pleasant but dress for variables to be on the safe side. Pack umbrellas and rain gear in the RV along with cozy blankets for crisp and clear nights. When heading out to the balloon fiesta, throw a jacket in your backpack, and remind the family to dress in layers. Closed-toe shoes are the wisest choice for footwear and bring a colorful hat to match the vibrancy of the balloons.
The first aid station is open for assistance throughout the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Make a note of its location as soon as you arrive. Typically found in the center of the festival park, head there first and then choose your favorite balloon. Your RV medicine cabinet should contain after sun spray, antibiotic cream, band-aids, tweezers, and pain medication. Pharmacy services are as close as four miles should you need to replenish your supply.