Want to know what to pack for Balloon Fiesta? Here is a comprehensive list of everything you should need to enjoy this magical event!
No matter how many times I see it, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is absolutely magical. When I first moved to Albuquerque, I finally understood why it was such a big deal.
Every October, more than a million people travel to New Mexico to see around 600 hot air balloons lift off from the same location (Balloon Fiesta Park) right after sunrise. It is an absolutely extraordinary event to see. Whether you’re at the actual park, or miles away, you can see balloons of various shapes and sizes color the sky.
Since I’ve lived in Albuquerque, I have taken my kids to Balloon Fiesta every year. They have both morning sessions – called Mass Ascension – that starts around 7 in the morning, and they also have evening events that are great for kids – like the Twilight Twinkle Glow and the Special Shape Glowdeo.
Whether you’re going in the morning or evening, there are some essential things you should know to bring, so you’re prepared to enjoy the magic of the Balloon Fiesta!
What to Pack for Balloon Fiesta
Packing a camera to the Balloon Fiesta is a must! In fact, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the most photographed event in the world. Seeing massive hot air balloons up close, as they lift up, and fly away has endless opportunities for a fantastic photo, so make sure to pack your camera!
You are allowed to bring outside food and drink into the Balloon Fiesta, with the exception of alcoholic beverages. Whether you are going by yourself, with a friend, or your entire family, be sure to pack enough beverages to keep you hydrated for several hours.
There are many, many delicious food options at the Balloon Fiesta, so you can definitely grab some delicious food (hello green chile burritos and Pinon coffee!) inside the Balloon Fiesta Park. If you happen to be on a budget, or travelling with a small child that wants a snack every 5 minutes (like me) pack some snacks to bring into the park.
Jackets, Layers, Warm Things
October in Albuquerque can often feature really cold mornings, rain, and even snow! But by the time afternoon rolls around, it can be 80 degrees. Be sure to bring layers and jackets for everyone, along with hats and scarves to bundle up if it gets rainy or windy.
Comfortable Shoes and Socks
Odds are, you’ll be walking quite a bit just to get from your car into Balloon Fiesta Park, so make sure to wear comfortable and warm shoes with socks that can withstand walking several miles to and around the park. ‘
Sunglasses & Sunscreen
The bright New Mexican sun can be brutal when you spend several hours staring at the rising balloons in the sky! Make sure to pack sunglasses to protect your eyes. Also, make sure to pack and wear sunscreen.
There are plenty of grassy spots to sit down for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or to just get some rest. Bring a large blanket to lay down on the grass so you can sit comfortably while eating/resting.
Speaking of eating/resting, if you don’t want to go the blanket on the ground route, you can also bring in lawn chairs!
During the 10 day event, there are close to a million people that attend Balloon Fiesta! Make sure to bring along hand sanitizer to keep the germs away.
If you are attending Balloon Fiesta with a small child, make sure to pack a stroller. As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of walking, and the last thing anyone wants to be doing is all of that walking while carrying a small child. Bring a stroller – you won’t regret it. Plus, you’ll have somewhere to put all of your cool balloon souvenirs!
Fun fact, if you’ve never attended the Balloon Fiesta with a child, many of the balloon pilots hand out trading cards with their balloons on them. They’re super fun and kids love to collect them!
I hope you’ve found this comprehensive list of what to pack for Balloon Fiesta helpful! If you have any specific questions about the event, drop me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it.