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balloons and more

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balloons and more

Flying into ALQ airport on evening of Oct 7th-7:30 PM Staying at aiport Hampton. Will we need to get up early and travel to the balloon launch? or will you be able to see it most anywhere in the area? Does anyone know if shuttles will pick up people at the airport hotels? Do you think downtown Albequerque will be jammed that morning to tour? We only have 1 day, then we have to leave for Sante Fe.

Any advice is appreciated.

Albuquerque, New...
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1. Re: balloons and more

Their will be a "Mass Ascension" on Wednesday, the 8th's morning, so there will be a lot of people, and traffic as on the weekends. Launches begin at sunrise, which is approximately 7a.m. You will want to be at the Balloon Park (I'm not kidding) by 5:30am, 6:00am at the latest.

Your hotel choice is a fine one, but miles from the Balloon Fiesta, at the north end of the city, just west of Alameda/I-25. Please check the balloon fiesta website for directions, because they are rather specific.

There are shuttle buses leaving a few locations around the city for the balloon fiesta, but as far as I know, none that will take you door to field so to speak. I would call the Hampton Inn Airport and ask.

If you are leaving for Santa Fe on the 9th, I'm presuming (possibly wrong) that you are going to have a rental car (rare as hen's teeth during the fiesta), and would strongly suggest you get one immediately upon your arrival, and if you haven't already, make reservations "Now!"

With one day in Albuquerque, you'll have time to visit our #1 tourist spot, the historic Old Town area just south of I-40/Rio Grande Blvd., and its diverse museums. The morning's activities will mainly be over by 9:30, so you will have time to take it in hopefully...or try the Sandia Tramway to the top of the mountain, or a local casino. In the evening there is a "glow" event, followed by fireworks, also well attended! You would want to return to the balloon park if attending those by 5:30pm.

P.S. Old Town is 2-3 miles west of "Downtown" Albuquerque, so you won't have extraordinary traffic.

Enjoy your visit! It's an unforgetable experience! :-)

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2. Re: balloons and more

Thanks for the tips. Yes we found out about the car rentals! Thats our problem, we can't get the rental company to move us back a few hours (we had originally had it scheduled for 10 AM) ..so we can drive to the balloons! Or else they want to revoke our entire rental package and increase it by $1000! Unbelievable. We already had to re-schedule the flight cause Frontier cancelled our original one. Oh well, the challenge makes vacationing fun! Old Town sounds great any ideas as to where to have dinner?

Belmont...
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3. Re: balloons and more

It may be possible for you to take the Railrunner train from the Airport station to Journal Center and pick up a shuttle from there to the fiesta.

I'd see if your hotel has shuttles to the train station. If not, and you do have a rental car, you can park at the station and take the train OR you can take bus 222 from the airport to the station. In any case, if you don't have a car it is possible to get from the hotel to the fiesta using public transport.

See www.nmrailrunner.com/news_balloon_fiesta.asp

Also keep an eye on the fiesta park and ride site, see if they add additional stops.

balloonfiesta.com/Guests/…parkandride.php

Belmont...
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4. Re: balloons and more

There are several great restaurants in Old Town. Keep in mind that during Balloon Fiesta, you will need to make reservations. Plan on doing this when you arrive in ABQ.

Little Anita's, Church Street Cafe are good for reasonably priced New Mexican food. High Noon is more of a steak house, with some NM flavor. Seasons is popular, but will probably be packed and very noisy, and Antiquity is really really nice, one of our favorites with really nice food. More expensive than the others, but ( IMHO ) worth a little splurge.

There are other NM restaurants in Old Town, but I think of them as less quality, more touristy.

Belmont...
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5. Re: balloons and more

I'm actually going to amend my post! Make your dinner reservations before you arrive in ABQ if at all possible. All of the recommended restaurants should have reviews here and menus online so you can get an idea of what they serve and if they are in your budget.

New Mexico
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6. Re: balloons and more

I agree with Karma on the restaraunts, but would add Le Crepe Michelle; one of my favorites. I always have a hard time deciding between that and Antiquity. Also, agree with other postings that you won't see much from your hotel. There's nothing like being there in the thick of it all to have the total Balloon Fiesta experience. I live just across the river and up the hill and have great views of the mass ascension, but even after 20 years I make it a point to get to the park at least once or twice. As you only have one day, I would recommend the Balloon Fiesta in the morning (grab some delicious breakfast burritos at the park), then take the Sandia Tram up to the top of the mountain (late morning/early afternoon), and then off to Old Town for the afternoon and dinner. Just note that everything is busy during Fiesta.

FYI on the weather; once October hits, we are definitely getting into the fall season which means the weather can be quite fickle. Expect very chiley temperatures in the AM, and make sure you layer. Once the sun comes up, it warms up quick.

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7. Re: balloons and more

I would get up early and drive down if you can. There are a few buses that leave from the mall and other central locations. (you can see bus schedules at abqride if you need to get to one of them). Albuquerque will be busy at old town but you will still be comfortable. If you plan on a evening dining experience at a restaurant like Restaurant Antiquity or Church Street Cafe make resevations at least two weeks in advance.

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8. Re: balloons and more

Thanks for all the info...very information...we've now backed up out arrival to Oct 7th in the PM so we'll be there for the Oct 8th launch...and we are now re-booked at the Holiday Inn Express, which is supposedly closer to the Balloons? (at a MUCH steeper $$) Does that sound correct? I'm definitely going to look to reservations at one of the restaurents,, but its hard to pick!

Hope I can wake up enough to drive over there! Thats awfully early for us non-morning people. Hope theres lot of coffffeeee. Cant wait.

Belmont...
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9. Re: balloons and more

When you leave your hotel and walk to the field, you'll come to the intersection of Alameda and Washington. Across Alameda in a dirt parking lot is Marlene's...decent coffee and amazing breakfast burritos.

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10. Re: balloons and more

Agree with Karmacat...it's all about the coffee and breakfast burritos on the field!