Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Colorful Adventures in New Mexico!
Imagine hundreds of hot-air balloons rising over the desert until the sky becomes a myriad of bright, dancing colors. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is one of the most photographed events in the world. Rise early for the Dawn Patrol Show and Morning Glow, a choreographed inflation and launch set to music. This is the opening act for the Mass Ascension, a chance to see hundreds of balloons fill the sky. See the Balloon Glow and After Glow Fireworks show, all from your seat at the Gondola Club with a front row seat to the balloon field with included gourmet food and drinks. Spend a day in Santa Fe for a tour and time to visit the art galleries, museums and historic Santa Fe Plaza. Visit Madrid, an eclectic town featured in Hollywood films, explore a museum of miniature wood carved figurines, and ride the Sandia Peak Tramway, which rises to 10,000 feet for spectacular views. You won’t want to miss this premier event that year after year is an Ambassadair sell out!
This itinerary covers areas of higher altitudes and includes activities where moderate walking, possibly on uneven terrain, is required.
Thu, Oct 5: Depart in the morning for Albuquerque, New Mexico. Upon arrival, meet up with a local expert for a guided tour of Albuquerque. See the University of New Mexico, Route 66, Country Club, Nob Hill, downtown, and other historic areas. Check into the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town and enjoy a Welcome Dinner with the group. (Meals: Dinner)
Fri, Oct 6: After breakfast, depart for a day in nearby Santa Fe — New Mexico’s capital, in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. It’s renowned for its Pueblo-style architecture and as a creative arts hotbed. Upon arrival, get acquainted with this former Spanish colony on a narrated orientation tour, passing “museum hill,” Canyon Road, the historic rail yard. Cap off the tour with a short walking tour into the central plaza stopping to visit the famous Loretto Chapel with the mysterious floating staircase before your afternoon of leisure time. Consider visiting the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the Palace of Governors (the oldest municipal building in the United States), or the many art galleries and boutiques. Rejoin the group for dinner before returning to Albuquerque. (B,D)
Sat, Oct 7: Rise and shine early to head to Balloon Fiesta grounds to view this world-renowned event! You’ll have access to the top tier group ticket at the Gondola Club for a gourmet breakfast buffet, open bar (three bar drinks per person), and a prime location for viewing the launch field. Begin with the Dawn Patrol Show and Morning Glow, a choreographed inflation and launch set to music. This is the opening act for the Mass Ascension, a chance to see hundreds of balloons fill the sky. Sit back and enjoy the view in awestruck wonder, or feel free to stroll around the 200 acres of the Balloon Fiesta Park, get involved in a balloon launch, shop for balloon memorabilia and peruse the artisan tents with handcrafted novelties and art for sale. Golf cart taxis driven by local volunteers are also around to provide transfers to the Anderson Abruzzu Balloon Museum (open early during morning events). Afterward, take a rest break at the hotel to refresh and have lunch on your own. Reunite with the group to head out to ascend Sandia Peak via the Sandia Peak Tramway, which rises to 10,000 feet and offers a spectacular view of Albuquerque and the landscape below. Take some stunning photos at the top and then descend for dinner with the group at a nearby restaurant before returning to the hotel. (B,D)
Sun, Oct 8: Your morning is free to visit a nearby museum, or choose to take flight on an optional hot air balloon ride**! Spend the afternoon as you wish or travel the scenic Turquoise Trail to Madrid. Once a booming coal mining town, then ghost town from 1953-1973, Madrid is now a creative community with over 40 shops and galleries as well as the Old Coal Town Museum. The town gained more popularity when the 2007 movie “Wild Hogs” featured Madrid as home to Maggie’s Diner. Spend some free time here for shopping and lunch or saddle up to the bar at a local venue and catch some live music. Next, stop at Tinkertown, a museum of miniature wood carved figurines that has been featured on PBS’s Antiques Road Show. Inside, the magic of animation takes over as the inhabitants of a raucous little western town animate to hilarious life. This evening, return to the Balloon Fiesta grounds for the Night Magic™Glow event! The Team Fastrax™ skydivers will kick off the evening event with their fan-favorite patriotic demonstration flying their 2,000 square foot American Flag as they descend onto the field. From your seat at the Gondola Club, watch the vibrant balloons flicker against the red mountain backdrop and the night sky while you savor a gourmet dinner and enjoy live music. Walk among the towering, luminous giants for amazing photo opportunities, talk to the balloon pilots and their teams and stay for the spectacular views After Glow™ Fireworks show! (B,D)
Mon, Oct 9: The morning is yours to spend at leisure before heading to the airport for afternoon flights home. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast or grab those last-minute souvenirs in Old Town before transferring to the airport to fly back to Indianapolis. (B)
Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town
A landmark hotel located adjacent to the Old Town Plaza, near shops, restaurants and museums. Recognized by Travel & Leisure magazine as one of the top stylish hotels, the hotel has a comfortable Southwestern flair. Highlights: guestrooms appointed with genuinely crafted Southwestern furnishings with seating area • in-room coffee/tea maker • complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access • restaurant • bar/lounge • large outdoor pool • hot tub • spa • fitness center.
*Subject to change due to fuel surcharge
**Optional hot air balloon rides are not included in the tour price and must be booked directly with companies offering the service.
Visit https://www.visitalbuquerque.org/things-to-do/air/ or https://balloonfiesta.com/Balloon-Rides to find information.
Book early as these rides do sell out over Balloon Fiesta dates.