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Know Before You Go: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

If you’re planning a visit to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, then you’ve come to the right place! We had the privilege of attending the 2021 festival, and put together a list of some basic info that will be helpful to anyone visiting the Balloon Fiesta, especially first timers!

*Be sure to watch our “New Mexico: One Day in Albuquerque” vlog for a closer look at our visit to the Balloon Fiesta


  • The Balloon Fiesta is an annual nine day event that hosts over 500 hot air balloons from around the globe making it the largest hot air balloon festival in the world! The fiesta days are broken into “Sessions”. A session consists of all activities at the park in the morning (4:30 am to 12 pm) or the evening (3 pm to 9 pm). Note: There are no evening sessions Monday-Wednesday & the second Sunday.


  • The Balloon Fiesta is held the first full week of October each year (October 1-9, 2022). Crowds for some of the events can exceed 80,000 people, so arriving sooner is better. For weekend events, plan to arrive at the park by 4:00-4:30 am. During evening events, plan to be at the park by 4:00 pm. Gates open at 4:30 am and 3:00 pm.


  • The Balloon Fiesta is held at Balloon Fiesta Park. There are multiple options for parking, but we recommend using the General Parking ($20/car each session) that is located just east of the Balloon Fiesta Park. This lot gives you easy, walkable access to all of the activities.

How Much…

  • General Admission is $15/person (12 & under is free). Tickets for the 2022 festival go on sale April 1, 2022 & can be purchased at or by calling 1-855-725-1824.

Why Albuquerque…

  • Albuquerque has some of the best weather conditions in the world for hot air ballooning. These conditions include wind conditions and air temperature, both of which greatly contribute to successful hot air ballooning, and Albuquerque happens to have the perfect mix of both. The predictable wind patterns, known as the “Albuquerque Box,” make it easy for balloon pilots to navigate in the Rio Grande Valley and often allow pilots to land in the same area that they took off from! The area’s cool air temperature in the early morning also helps the balloons rise faster and handle better.


  • Dawn Patrol & Mass Ascension are absolute musts. Seeing the night sky light up with the flames from hot air balloons during Dawn Patrol & watching 500+ balloons launch during the Mass Ascension is absolutely breathtaking! And if you happen to visit during one of the Special Shapes Rodeo (when the special shape balloons are showcased at Balloon Fiesta), then you’re in for a special treat! Also, you HAVE to get a breakfast burrito... It’s a rite of passage for first time Balloon Fiesta attendees!

We hope that these tips help you plan your visit and make the most of your time at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta! If you did find it helpful, we hope you’ll consider heading over to our YouTube Channel and subscribing for more travel content and/or following us on Instagram!


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