February 2, 2014

Breaking Bad in Albuquirky

Yes, that's right, Albuquirky. You won't understand until visiting Albuquerque. The valley is sprawling, but it has a small town feel with only a half million residents. Indian Reservations border much of city, with the Sandia mountains to the east. The city is mostly desert terrain, Route 66 is at the heart, and the Rio Grande flows through the city North to South. Homes range from the cozy and very modest to affluent and expansive. Architecture has spanish, pueblo and victorian influences and you'll spot several nods to its Atomic Age in signage, etc. You might expect tall buildings in a city of this size, but the tallest is only 351 ft. Next to the Albuquerque Bank Tower is the Hyatt Regency. It is the second tallest building at 256 ft. To put that in perspective The Harmon at CityCenter (known as the most expensive billboard) is nearly 100 feet taller (it stands at 446 ft) than ABQ's tallest building. I was surprised.

Albuquerque has been on my wander list because of the Balloon Fiesta. But what really urged us to plan a trip was Breaking Bad. It is the greatest show. All aspects are the best of its kind, but the cinematography blew me away. The desert scenes in Season One and Season Five were breathtaking. It was something I had to see for myself. I've never been more excited for television than I was for 5b. I dreaded it too, because every episode meant it was closer to the end. Southwest ran a sale in October. We booked flights to ABQ for $49 with the intent for a Breaking Bad Self Guided filming tour. My mom and brother joined us.

The trip came before I knew it. We left bright and early on a Saturday morning, the night before I was creating a map, with as many addresses as I could find.

View Land of Heisenberg in a larger map

I used the map to navigate the locations all around Albuquerque. We rented a car from Budget. We secured a great deal on a mid-size via Rapid Rewards Shopping, and Frank upgraded to a crossover at the counter. We rode around in a Ford Escape, it was blue, since that's how we like our meth. Our first stop was Twisters, which is known on the show as Los Pollos Hermanos. We ordered a "Christmas" Indian Taco (it was decent) and some drinks, we signed the guest book and took obligatory photos.

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My approach to navigate the locations was to start far out and work our way toward downtown. Knocking out as much as possible during our two night, three day stay. Our favorite sights from the first day were Jesse and Jane's apartment and Gus' house.

Isleta Casino & Hotel, formerly Hard Rock - Jesse Rehab

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Q Studios

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Vamanos Pest

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Walt shops naked

The Grove - Lydia's choice for meets

Crossroads Motel - Wendy's hangout

Jesse and Jane's Apartment

Church where Jesse attends meetings

Convenience store where Walt Jr. tries to buy beer (they don't sell liquor, btw), Skylar gets cigarettes and Jesse has his bike stolen.

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Sklyar's apartment

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We see Walt see Walt Jr. from this building near Skylar's apartment.

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Gus' house

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Ted's house

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Mike's house

DEA Headquarters on the show; we found the actual DEA out near Q Studios.

More to come...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post and looking forward to more from ABQ. My wife and I just discovered breaking bad over Christmas break. We watch all we could on Netflix and am anxiously waiting the final 1 1\2 seasons to be on Netflix. Thanks again

Kellee said...

It's such a great show to binge watch. I tried to keep things vague so there shouldn't be any spoilers. Enjoy.

christine said...

OMG! love it!
i remember Brian Cranston saying that the show was originally to shoot in LA but it was too expensive, so they decided on ABQ. so glad they did, the scenery was amazing.