Albuquerque Sights & Scenes: Balloon Fiesta Park
If you’ve ever ventured north of Downtown, you may have wondered about the colorful wonders dotting the skyline, heard the vintage roar of a local amusement park, or breathed in fresh air from acres of beautiful horizon. It’s just a short drive from Route 66 and only about 20 minutes from the Albuquerque International Airport, but the Balloon Fiesta Park vista is like a remote city all its own.
Providing vibrant entertainment for the entire family, Balloon Fiesta Park grants a unique community with easy access to surrounding neighborhoods, but what it boasts most famously is its annual International Balloon Fiesta. Featuring more than 500 hot-air balloons, from traditional tops, cartoon characters to inspired inventions, this nine-day event every October offers exhilarating balloon races, beautiful lights shows, yummy food, car shows, pin trading, and more. Check out the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum for in-depth knowledge on what you’re watching; the museum opened in 2005 and is a great place to learn all about ballooning history and culture.
Adults can find even more pleasure in the Harvest Wine Festival, which invites nuanced to seasoned vino enjoyers to sample wines from more than 40 family-owned vineyards and wineries. Many people don’t know of the rich wine industry that exists in New Mexico — an area that has been producing wine grapes for more than 400 years — but the inventory speaks for itself. In addition, every year the Albuquerque Wine Festival takes place here as well, toasting the history of the area’s flora with fun food, live music, and more.
The balloon park is not far from Cliffs Amusement Park, where kids (young and old) can ride the classic, wooden New Mexico Rattler, named one of the top 25 roller coasters in the world and clocking in at 3,000 feet of adrenaline-charged high speeds. Golfers are invited to book tee times at the 27-hole Arroyo del Oso Golf Course in Bear Canyon Arroyo, or at the scenic Sandia Golf Club, part of the Sandia Resort & Casino, just minutes north of town. With a multitude of fun restaurants to try and places to stay, it’s a mecca for entertaining weekends.
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