New Mexico September 30, 2017
12 Things You Need To Know To Make Your Visit To New Mexico’s Balloon Fiesta The Best Ever
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (each October) is the largest hot air balloon event in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people attend! Only in Your State has
spotlighted Balloon Fiesta before, but this time, we are offering some pro tips on how to best enjoy this colorful, must-do event.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Get Up Early
To beat the crowds, plan on waking up and getting to Balloon Fiesta Park early, especially for weekend events! On weekends, arrive the park by 4 to 4:30 am. (Gates open at 4:30). Weekdays, you should be alright to arrive between 5 and 5:30 am. Morning events start at 5:45 am, with the balloons lifting off 7 am.
2. Expect a Crowd
Over the course of the nine-day event, hundreds of thousands of people from across the U.S. and around the world head to Albuquerque for Balloon Fiesta. On weekends, park attendance can reach upwards of 80,000.
3. Consider Park and Ride
There are five locations available for Balloon Fiesta guests to park their car and get a bus ride to Balloon Fiesta Park. Pricing, locations, schedules and discounted tickets are available online at
. There is no Park & Ride service on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday but traffic is usually lighter those days and there will be plenty of parking.
4. Attend More Than One Session
There is a lot to see at Balloon Fiesta, with different events happening at different times of the day and on different days during the event. There are two sessions daily, which are divided into morning events and evening events. Please note, there are no evening sessions on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
5. Don't Forget Food and Water
Food at Balloon Fiesta is part of the fun! There is a multitude of food concessions serving a variety of food at the park. Morning session pros look for the hearty and filling breakfast burritos. You can bring your own food and drink into the park too, just no glass containers or alcohol. Bags, backpacks, and coolers are subject to search.
6. Go to a Balloon Glow Event
Glows are one of the coolest Balloon Fiesta events. They happen at twilight, (both pre-dawn and post-dusk). At a glow, balloons are inflated and tethered. On command, balloon burners are ignited. The fire from the burners light up the balloons creating a glowing lantern effect.
7. Keep a Flashlight Handy
Balloon Fiesta field can be very dark if the sun isn't up. Main Street will be lit, but if you walk around the field (a big part of enjoying Balloon Fiesta), it can be hard to see trip hazards or to find your friends if you get separated.
8. Follow the Rules
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is one of the only balloon (aviation) events where you are actually able to walk among
the balloons. Please be respectful of the balloons. Do not touch them or
step on or over any part of them. Please follow the directions of the pilots, crews and Launch Directors (Zebras). Also, there is absolutely no smoking allowed inside Balloon Fiesta Park. A lot of things there can easily ignite!
9. Bring a Chair
Seating is limited, mostly near Main Street and the food concessions. If you plan to be at the park for any time, bring your own chairs. Set up at the edge of the field for prime balloon views and people watching.
10. Dress in Layers
Octobers in Albuquerque can be unpredictable, weather-wise. However, do expect it to be chilly before dawn and after the sun goes down. Dress in layers and keep your rain gear handy.
11. Visit Main Street
Main Street is a one-third mile of food, merchandise, and exhibits. Guests of all ages will enjoy learning about the history and sport of ballooning
at the Balloon Discovery Center, also located on Main Street.
12. Take a Balloon Ride
Taking a balloon ride during the most celebrated ballooning event in the world is truly a once in
a lifetime experience. Rainbow Ryders is the official Balloon Fiesta ride company and the only
company from whom guests can purchase a balloon ride from at Balloon Fiesta Park. Rainbow Ryders: 800.725.2477,
For more about Balloon Fiesta and an official schedule of events, see the
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta website.
Are you a Balloon Fiesta veteran? Please help out your fellow readers. Share your best event tips below, in the comments.