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Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest ballooning festival in the world, with close to 600 hot air balloons taking to the sky during the weeklong festival. Thousands of people – kids and adults – come to the festival to watch the balloon-filled sky over Albuquerque. Bring your camera — you’ll want to capture the wondrous sights of this festival for posterity.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Dates and Location

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is held at Balloon Fiesta Park, which is located north of Alameda Boulevard, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 5th – 13th 2019.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Photo by Paul D deBerjeois

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Activities

The festival is set in a 365-acre park, with plenty of space for you to bring a blanket and watch the amazing spectacle of hundreds of hot-air balloons in the sky. If you want a break from balloon-watching, other activities include children’s acts and bands, street food stalls and the chance to walk around the balloons (before they take off) and chat with the balloon pilots. If you’re feeling flash-with-the-cash, you can even book your own private Albuquerque sunrise hot air balloon flight.

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Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Tickets

General admission tickets are available from April 5th 2019 and cost $10 per person per ‘session’.

There are 14 ‘sessions’ during the week, broken into morning and evening blocks across nine days. When you buy a ticket, you are buying it for an individual session. For example, a Saturday morning session.

The park opens at 4:30 am for morning sessions (so you can see the sunrise) and re-opens at 3:30 pm for the evening sessions, with doors closing at 9 pm.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Photo by Paul D deBerjeois

Getting To and From Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Air — The nearest airport is Albuquerque International Airport. Bus services are available, be sure to check the timetable. You can also take a shuttle or a train to the city center.

Taxi or Car — The easiest way to get to the site is by car. There is plenty of parking at the north and south ends of the park and parking costs $15 for each session that you are at the park.

Shuttle — There isn’t an official shuttle to the site. Ask whether your hotel provides an individual service.

Pro Tip: Check the Albuquerque Fiesta Express Park & Ride for the best transportation solution!

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Photo by Angelina Peace

Where to Stay for Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

There is space for RV camping near to the festival site. An RV-pass is $35 a night.

If you’re not coming in an RV, we suggest staying in a nearby hotel, hostel or home rental. For example, this cute townhouse in the city center sleeps two and starts at $84 per night.  Or, enjoy a unique experience by staying in a converted 1880s brothel, from $202 per night.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Photo by Bennie Bos


1. Be an early bird gets to watch the balloons set off – and see the sunrise. Festival grounds open at 4 am for morning sessions, and enthusiasts say it’s worth it.

2. Walk around and talk to the pilots — this is one of the only ballooning events that allows festival-goers to do so.

3. Visit at night to see the balloons glow in the dark and light up the night’s sky.

4. If you’re coming to a night session – bring a flashlight and take note of where you parked your car — when you leave the site at 9 pm it might be difficult to locate your car in the dark.

5. Take pictures! The festival is one of the most photographed events in the world. Bring your best camera and make sure it is fully charged and that you’re carrying spare batteries.

6. Remember that balloon take-off is completely weather dependent — so be patient!

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    Hi, we are planning on doing a road trip for the balloon festival 2018 from Georgia. Could you pls. let me know the following:
    1) Date of the mass ascension
    2) How to buy tickets to ride in a balloon for the mass ascension- either am or pm
    3) Date of the different shaped balloon festival

    • Zack Davisson

      Hey There Anoushka!
      Thanks for the questions! The dates of the festival this year are October 6-14, the mass ascensions will take place October 6th and 7th at 7 AM, October 10th, and October 13th and 14th. The Special Shapes Rodeo will be held on Thursday October 11th with both morning and evening times. For ticket information go ahead and refer to their website
      If you have any more questions please ask, and sounds like a great road trip, let us know how it goes!

  2. My friend celebrated his birthday in Orlando (USA), that is why I had to go there. I booked my car before (about a month ago). I have never had such a great car rental experience. Since that day, I’ve always used E-Z at Orlando Airport!

  3. how do I locate a list of RV sites near the Balloon Park
    is there a minimum number of nights you must stay

  4. Jolynn Haven

    When does the schedule for the Albuquerque Balloon Festival come out? I want to take a group of about 20 people to the Festival. Also, how early should I book the rooms? Are the Park and Ride Shuttle locations the same every year? I’d like to get a hotel near one of those. Thank you!

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