Detour to Santa Fe at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Special shape balloons during the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque

Hot-air balloons are a charming oddity in the modern world. Once upon a time, balloons filled with hot air were used by the Chinese military to signal the troops with a small airborne lantern. In 1700s France, pre-airplane “aeronauts” took to ballooning as an early means of flight.


The balloon was never the most practical means of transport, of course. And yet, balloons persist as a hobby and a tradition, especially here in Santa Fe, where fall just doesn’t feel like fall without the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This year’s Balloon Fiesta will take place October 6 through 14.


If You’re Going to Albuquerque

A display of colorful hot-air balloons at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. One of them is shaped like a shark.Ballooning is leisurely, Zen-like. You don’t take a balloon up when you’re in a hurry, you take a balloon when you don’t mind getting there when you get there (wherever that may be!), and the tone of the Fiesta matches that.


You can show up in the morning and take in all the special events and watch the balloons launch early in the day or you can just make sure to be out and about on launch day.


The balloons drift far across New Mexico, and it’s not uncommon to see them floating through the air hundreds of miles away from Albuquerque. As long as you spend some time outdoors between October 6 and October 13, you’ll probably catch a few balloons sailing across the sky.


If you want to make a day of it, you’ll want to get there early. The morning session on the first day starts at 6 AM, with the Mass Ascension taking place at 7 AM. Events throughout the day include chainsaw carving and a laser light show, with a fireworks show sponsored by the Sandia Resort & Casino closing out the day at 8 PM.


Every day of the festival features a mass balloon launch, so you don’t need to kick yourself if you miss day one. You have more than a week’s worth of ascensions to catch, including the special shape rodeo on Kid’s Day on October 11.


Check the full schedule at the official website to plan your trip, or just decide when you’re going to go get lunch at an outdoor cafe.


If you’ve spent any time in New Mexico, then you know that any festival, fair or fiesta is going to be city-wide. The Balloon Fiesta means blues and rock music played on the main street stage, strolling performers along Concession Row, and performances along North Main Street. Cover bands are usually a staple of the Fiesta, and this year we have the Pink Floyd cover band Pink Freud, and Prime 80’Z, who perform meticulous recreations of synth-driven 80s classics.


Take a Detour to Santa Fe

Two strings of red chiles hang in front of a sign that says "Santa Fe."If you’re planning to go to the Balloon Fiesta, we suggest you take a detour and spend a day in Santa Fe. It’s just an hour’s drive away.


As a home-grown Santa Fe real estate company, we’re Santa Fe experts and we have lots of ideas about what to do in The City Different.


Here’s a roundup of some of our recent blog posts that will inspire you to stay a day or perhaps look at a property or two. There’s no better time to look for a home in Santa Fe.


New to The City Different? Get to Know Santa Fe on a Guided Tour

Top Cultural Destinations in Santa Fe

Your Guide to Santa Fe Craft Beer

A Santa Fe Coffee Lover’s Trek

5 Amazing Reasons to Live Year-Round in Santa Fe

5 Steps to a Dream Vacation Home in Santa Fe