Balloon Fiesta 2019: What You Need To Know

Balloon Fiesta

Balloon Fiesta 2017. (Allison Giron | KRQE Web Producer)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For the 48th year, hot air balloons will rise and decorate the Albuquerque sky. Below is everything you need to know about this year’s Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Fast Facts

  • Credit or debit cards can not be used to pay parking fees in lots near Balloon Fiesta. CASH ONLY
  • Park & Ride space is limited. BUY TICKETS NOW
  • New security measures in effect this Balloon Fiesta. See list below. LIMIT WHAT YOU BRING

When is the 2019 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta?

The Balloon Fiesta starts Saturday, October 5 and ends on Sunday, October 13. During the festival, gates open at 4:30 a.m. for morning events and at 3 p.m. for evening events. View schedule of events »

Mass Ascension of balloons takes place on both weekends of the fiesta, weather permitting. During the week a smaller amount of balloons will take off from the field. There will also be competitions and other balloon events taking place throughout the week.

View Map of Balloon Fiesta Park

Map of Balloon Fiesta Park

Parking & Getting to the Balloon Fiesta Park

Balloon Fiesta Park is located in north Albuquerque, west of I-25, approximately 10 miles north of the Albuquerque International Sunport and 8 miles north of downtown Albuquerque.

There are general parking lots on the north and south ends of Balloon Fiesta Park. The cost of parking is $15 for each session you are at the park. Each parking lot is color-coded and the gates are numbered. People should have cash ready when they enter the parking areas because they do not accept credit or debit cards for parking fees.

Park & Ride Tickets

Park & Ride tickets must be purchased online and offer round-trip transportation to and from Balloon Fiesta Park. They also include admission to the fiesta. Park & Ride tickets are limited.

Park & Ride Ticket Prices

  • Children: (5 and under) FREE 
  • Children: (6-12) $7 
  • Adults: (13-61) $15 
  • Seniors: (62+) $12
  • Bus Only: $12

Purchases made after midnight for morning sessions on the day of, or afternoon for evening sessions on the day of will cost:

  • Children: (5 and under) FREE
  • Children: (6-12) $10
  • Adults: (13-61) $22
  • Seniors: (62+) $20
  • Bus Only: $12

Map of driving directions to Balloon Fiesta Park

Map of driving directions to Balloon Fiesta Park (Courtesy: Balloon Fiesta)

People who want to avoid congested traffic and parking conditions near Balloon Fiesta Park should utilize Park and Ride. A Park and Ride ticket includes round-trip transportation to and from Balloon Fiesta Park. It also includes admission into the event.

Park & Ride Locations:

  • Cottonwood Mall (10000 Coors Bypass NW) 
    Park in the northeast parking lot near Seven Bar Loop and Coors Bypass NW
  • Intel (1600 Rio Rancho Blvd. SE) 
    Park in the southern parking lot. Enter the lot at either Westside Blvd. or 21st Street 
  • Coronado Center (6600 Menaul Blvd NE) 
    Park at the southwest corner near San Pedro Dr. and Uptown Blvd
  • Hoffmantown Church (8888 Harper Road NE) 
    Park in the northeast parking lot only

In case weather cancels a Balloon Fiesta event, retain your ticket as a raincheck for admission. You may present your used/scanned ticket for admission at the Balloon Fiesta Park admission gates. In order to use Park & Ride for another session, you will need to go online to purchase a “Bus Only” ticket to board the bus.

Park & Ride Bus Service Times

During the morning sessions, buses run from remote lots to Balloon Fiesta Park at 4 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. Inbound service ends at 7 a.m. Once balloons are up, buses from the park will return to remote lots from 8 am. to noon. Then from noon to 12:30 p.m. straggler buses will go to all locations to drop off fiesta goers.

During the evening sessions, buses run from remote lots to Balloon Fiesta Park at 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Inbound service ends at 6:30 p.m. After the festivities, bus from the park will return to the lots from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Then from 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. straggler buses will go to all locations to drop off fiesta goers.

There will also be no Fiesta Express Park and Ride bus service Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bike to Balloon Fiesta

Another option to get into Balloon Fiesta Park for the spectacular event is riding your bike. There will be a free bike valet parking at the park. The City of Albuquerque’s Bicycling Advisory Committee is inviting everyone to ride or walk the North Diversion Channel (NDC) Trail to Balloon Fiesta.

The flat 8-mile trail starts at the University of New Mexico (UNM)/Lomas Blvd and ends at Balloon Park. REI near I-25 at Montaño will allow its parking lot to be used by riders. From the REI parking lot, follow the arrow signs to the trail. From there it’s a 30-minute ride.

If you are riding in from the Bosque, use the Paseo del Norte Trail to connect to the NDC Trail. If you are riding in from the Northeast Heights, do not use El Pueblo Road as the railroad crossings are dangerous for cyclists. Instead, use the Rutledge trail spur to connect to the NDC Trail.

Ticket Information

General admission tickets for Balloon Fiesta is $10 per person. These tickets can be purchased online at www., or at the gate.

Security at Balloon Fiesta Park

This year there will be 60 walk-through metal detectors at guest entrances as well as hand-wands to detect prohibited items at each gate. Most entrances will have six or more security lanes with marked “Bag Check” lanes and “Express” lanes.

Prohibited items include:

  • Conceal Carry weapons and knives
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Non-service Animals
  • Smoking on the field

Guests can bring in outside food and drinks. However, all bags and coolers will be checked.

Balloon Fiesta Coverage

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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