Difference between revisions of "Breaking Bad Tour"
Revision as of 00:55, 1 February 2014
Breaking Bad Tour is a grand tour of Albuquerque, taking you past various important filming locations for the cult TV series, Breaking Bad. The show was supposed to be originally filmed in Los Angeles, however the state of New Mexico offered tax rebates which convinced the filming crew to move to Albuquerque.
If you haven't seen Breaking Bad, got two words for you. LEAVE NOW. Go watch quite possibly the best television series ever produced.
As the tour consists of many plot summaries and descriptions of in show events, it should be considered as extremely spoiler heavy. This is your last warning!
Seeing as Albuquerque is a located in the middle of a desert you should be dressed appropriately with comfortable clothes and carry lots of bottled water. Depending on the season, the weather can range from extremely hot during the day to below freezing at night. If you are visiting during the summer, sunblock and shades are highly recommended.
The tour begins at Walter's and Skyler's House (3828 Piermont Dr NE Albuquerque, NM 87111) which is located in the eastern part of the city. Infamous for the pizza on the roof episode, many travelers have attempted to replicate this scene. Please do not be one of those people! The residents will not appreciate thousands of pizzas on their garage. If you are driving on I-25 take the exit to Comanche Rd NE and follow the road all the way east until you see Piermont Dr where you will be turning left. If you are taking I-40, take the exit 165 for Eubank Blvd. You will drive 4 miles north, turn left into Camache Rd and then immediately right into Piermont Dr.
The Breaking Bad locations are spread out around Albuquerque, but are generally clustered in two distinct areas: the Northeast Heights and Downtown. Because the Downtown locations are grouped closer together, it is recommended that that portion be taken either on foot or on a bike. When visiting other parts of the city make sure to have a car as it will make the whole tour easier.
Being a fairly sprawling city, Albuquerque is split into quadrants by two interstate highways, I-25 from north to south and I-40 from east to west. The city spreads west and south from the Sandia Mountains and operates mostly on a grid system, making it an easy city to navigate by car. All of the city's addresses are therefore assigned a quadrant such as NE (northeast) or SW (southwest) to indicate where in the city they are located - good to know when you're hunting out a location on one of the city's long main drags.
If you want to eat something before you start, Savoy Wine Bar & Grill (10601 Montgomery Boulevard Northeast Albuquerque, NM 87111) is just 2 miles away from Walt's house. It's an upscale restaurant where Walt and Gretchen meet for lunch in Season 2. The place is famous for its “prime” steaks, oysters, fish and an extensive wine list, but you can just have a sandwich for around $10 if you are in hurry to do the tour.
Apart from that there are many great places to eat filmed in The Breaking Bad, all of them dripping with the New Mexican character. The tour will take you to those place, finishing at the most famous one- Los Pollos Hermanos (4257 Isleta Boulevard Southwest Albuquerque, NM 87105).
Walter's and Skyler's House (3828 Piermont Dr NE Albuquerque, NM 87111) is where it all begins. Some of the most intense scenes from the show take place right on the dining table inside. Skyler(multiple spellings are acceptable)and Walt run their entire meth empire from here and the millions that they made were temporarily stashed under the floorboards in the foundation.
From there you can easily reach Saul Goodman's Office (9800 Montgomery Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111) which is located just 1 mile away. Drive north and turn right on Montgomery Blvd. You will see his office on Montgomery Blvd and Eubank Blvd intersection. Saul Goodman's office is where we get introduced to the comedic stylings of the most corrupt lawyer this side of New Jersey. The location is reprising the role in the upcoming "Better Call Saul" prequel spinoff on AMC.
By staying on Montgomery Blvd and driving all the way east for 3 miles you will reach Hank and Marie's House (4901 Cumbre Del Sur Ct NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111) which is located on the eastern edge of the city and gives you access to the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. Much nicer than Walt's place, being a DEA agent must be more lucrative than being a high school science teacher. This is where Hank stores that amazing geode collection as well as where he finds out the true identity of Heisenberg.
Time to wash your car after driving on those New Mexican streets? Then, let's go to the Octopus Car Wash (5308 Central Avenue Southeast, Albuquerque, NM 871080). You will have to go back to Montgomery Blvd and head west, until you see Eubank Blvd where you will be turning left. Drive 1.8 miles south and turn right to Menaul Blvd. You will see the car wash on your right. Serving as both the site of Walt's initial humiliation and later a sign of his growing meth empire, the car wash is one of the central locations of the entire series. Seeing the $7.99 sign outside of Octopus however does makes me question the logic of trying to launder $80 million through a car wash though.
Now it's time for some small break and the best place to do it is La Palomita Park (La Sala Grande Albuquerque, NM 87111) where Mike spends his time with his granddaughter. It's 2 miles away from the Octopus Car Wash. You would have to go back to Menaul Blvd and then turn right into Phoenix Ave. The park is just across the Fidelity Square Shopping Center.
The next part of the tour will take you north to see two important shooting locations- Casa Tranquila Nursing Home (8820 Horizon Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113) and Walt's School (Rio Rancho High School, 301 Loma Colorado Blvd NE Rio Rancho, NM), where he was teaching chemistry. From La Palomita Park take Wyoming Blvd and drive 7.8 miles north and turn left into Alameda Blvd and then right onto Horizon Blvd.
Casa Tranquila Nursing Home was a shooting location where Hector 'Tio' Salamanca lived and where Gustavo Fring was killed with a bell activated bomb explosion. Ring the door if you dare.
From Casa Tranquila you will drive west, following Alameda Blvd and turning slightly right onto Rio Rancho Blv on the 528 road. You will exit onto High Resort Blvd, turn right into Panorama Heights Dr and then right again into Loma Colorado Blvd where you will see the school where Walter secured the lab equipment needed for the first RV cook with Jesse.
Now, it's time to get back to town and grab some food before visiting more locations in the city. Drive back to High Resort Blvd, turn right onto Rio Rancho Blvd (road 528) and follow the road until you reach the highway. Take the ramp on the left onto I-25 South, drive 8 miles and then merge onto I-40 East. Take the exit to Louisiana Blvd NE and Garduno's Restaurant (2100 Louisiana Boulevard Northeast Albuquerque, NM 87110) would be on your right. It's the Mexican restaurant where Walt, Skyler, Hank and Marie have an awkward lunch in Season 5b. Order some green chile, chimichangas, and of course table-side guacamole and be ready for the rest of the tour!
For the Downtown part of the tour, the best place to start with is Loyola's Family Restaurant (4500 Central Ave SE Albuquerque, NM 87108) as you must be already getting hungry after seeing so many locations in the other parts of the city. Loyola's Family Restaurant is the Diner where Mike and Jesse refuel in Season 4. From the Restaurant, you can start heading out to check out Walt’s New Apartment (3932 Silver Ave SE Albuquerque, NM 87108) from Season 3-4. Start heading east on Central Ave SE toward Jefferson St NE. You are going to turn right onto Jefferson St SE, then take the 1st right onto Silver Ave, take 1 left onto Adams St SE, take the 2nd right onto Lead Ave Se, turn right onto Morningside Dr SE, and then take the 1st left onto Silver Ave Se. Walt’s New Apartment will be on the left. From Walt’s New Apartment, you can start heading out to Gertrude Zachary Jewelry. This is the Jewelry store where Marie shoplifts. It is about 0.8 miles away from the Walt’s New Apartment. Head west on Silver Ave Se toward Aliso Dr SE. Take the 1st left onto Aliso Dr Se and then take the 2nd right onto Lead Ave SE. You are going to go about 0.4 miles until you turn right onto Wellesley Dr SE. Then take the 2nd right onto Central Ave SE, Gertrude Zachary Jewelry will be on the right.
Before you visit the next spot, stop by Zinc Wine Bar for a break! It is about 0.6 miles away from the Jewelry store. This bar was Vince Giligan’s (Creator of Breaking Bad) favorite bar to grab a drink during filming. If you are in the mood for a live jazz and a wine bar, this bar is your kind of place. It also has a restaurant upstairs, so grab something to eat too if you are hungry. In order to get to the bar, you will have to head east on Central Ave Se toward Tulane Dr. SE to make a U-turn at Carlisle Blvd Ne. Once you are back on Central Ave SE, Zinc Wine Bar will be on the right.
Once you are done resting, you can start heading out to see Jesse & Jane's rental apartment (323 Terrace St SE Albuquerque, NM 87106) from Season 2. Start heading west on Central Ave NE/Rte 66 toward Dartmouth Dr NE. Turn left onto Girard Blvd Se, take the 2nd right onto Lead Ave SE. Then once you turn right onto Terrace St SE, the apartment will be on the left. This trip is only about 1.0mile away from the bar. Next destination will be the Crossroads Motel (91001 Central Avenue NE Albuquerque, NM 87106) where it is used in many scenes, including where Hank warns Walter Jr. about the drugs. It is about 0.9 miles away from the apartment. Start heading south on Terrace St SE toward Lead Ave SE, Turn right onto Lead Ave SE, Take the 2nd right onto University Blvd SE, Turn left onto Central Ave NE/Rte 66 and the Crossroads Motel will be on the right.
After the motel, you can start heading west on Central Ave NE/Rte 66 toward Harvard Dr. to get to the next destination, which is going to be Albuquerque Rail Yards(1100 2nd Street Southwest, Albuquerque, NM 87102). This location was used for numerous scenes, including the part when Jesse is helping Mike with pick-ups and saves him from a robbery (Season 4, Episode 5). Interesting fact to know is that the green stained glass windows that you may see here was one of the inspirations for the theme color of Breaking Bad. In order to get to Albuquerque Rail Yards. As you are heading west on Central Ave, in about 1.4 miles, turn left onto Broadway Blvd. Then you will turn right onto Lead Ave, then 1st left onto 2nd St, then right onto 1st. Albuquerque Rail Yards will be on the left. It is about 3.0 miles total.
After you are done looking around, taking photos of Albuquerque Rail Yards, you can start heading west to go visit two places that are very close by each other. First place you'll probably see is the DEA office(320 Gold Ave SW Albuquerque, NM 87102). Head west on Cromwell Ave toward 3rd St. Then you are going to make 1st right onto 3rd st, then turn left onto Gold Ave and the DEA office is located on the left. Then in about 121ft from the DEA office, heading west on Gold ave toward 4th st, you will see Burt's Tiki Lounge(313 Gold Avenue Southwest Albuquerque, NM 87102). In Season 2, Burt's Tiki Lounge was the bar where Combo sold meth.
From Burt's Tiki Lounge, you can go check out the building that was used for several scenes during the beginning of Breaking Bad Series. Rebel Donut(400 Gold Ave. SW Albuquerque NM 87102) building was used for the Meth-candy donuts. This place also has "Blue Sky Donut" that you might want to try! From the lounge, head west on Gold Ave toward 4th st and Rebel Donut building is on the left. When you are done enjoying your Blue Sky Donut, go grab some coffee at Java Joe's(906 Park Ave SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102). Even though during the show, it was served as Tuco's hideout, in real life it is just a great coffee shop. From Rebel Donut, head west on Gold Ave toward 5th st. Take the 1st right onto 5th st and take the 1st left onto Central Ave. At the traffic circle, take the 3rd exit onto Park Ave, Java Joe's will be on the left.
From Java Joe's, you can head out to the Dog House Drive In(1216 Central Avenue Northwest Albuquerque, NM 87102) where in Season 5, it is served as a place Jesse hands out cash to a homeless man. In order to get to the Dog House Drive In, start heading east on Park Ave toward 9th st. Then at the traffic circle, take the 3rd exit onto Central Ave. It is about 0.4 miles from Java Joe's. Next stop is Jesse Pinkman's House (322 16th St SW Albuquerque, NM 87104).Please remember to be respectable and keep your distance when you arrive at this location. Residents are not agreeable to visitors. Start heading northwest on Central Ave toward 13th St. TAke the 1st left onto 14th St, then the 1st right onto Los Alamos Ave. Very shortly (about 0.2miles) you will take the 2nd right onto the 16th St, and your destination will be on the right. This is about 0.4 miles away from Dog House Drive In. Then you can't forget to stop by and visit the Candy Lady in Old Town Albuquerque (24 Romero Street Northwest Albuquerque, NM 87104)! This place is where they sell those blue meth lookalike hard candy for $1 per bag and it is a place that provided the prop meth for the show. To get yourself some meth lookalike hard candy, start heading north on 16th st. Turn right to continue staying on 16th st then turn right onto Laguna Blvd. Take the 1st left onto Central Ave and then turn right onto Romero St. Candy Lady should be located on the right.
Albuquerque's Civic Plaza - Square where Hank and Gomie send Jesse to meet Walt wearing a wire on Season 5b. [1 Civic Plaza Northwest, Albuquerque, NM 87102]
You cannot finish the tour on an empty stomach that's why the last place you will see is the iconic Los Pollos Hermanos (4257 Isleta Boulevard Southwest Albuquerque, NM 87105), known in Albuquerque as Twisters. The best way to get there from Gus house is to take Central Ave (Route 66) west and merge onto I-25 South. You will have to follow signs for Railrunner Station and merge onto Rio Bravo Blvd SE. When you see Isleta Blvd, turn right and after a mile you will see Twisters on your right. The whole drive should take you about 20 minutes (12 miles).
The famous fried chicken place run by Gus Fring in the show is in fact a chain that serves burritos and burgers. The New Mexican fast food restaurant is actually pretty far from the downtown, surrounded by some dusty and barren area which could be the reason why it was chosen as a Gus Fring’s crystal meth front. Twister's interior remains almost exactly the same as in the TV show, so feel free to take a picture in a famous booth that Walter White used to sit at.
A few scenes from the series were filmed further outside of the city.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (11000 Broadway Boulevard Southeast Albuquerque, NM 87105) where Walter and Skyler escape in Season 5b. It was also a shooting location for Jesse's stint at rehab in Season 2.
Buried Bus Meth Lab - 34.948495, -106.717401.
Sand dunes where Jesse tells off Walt- Season 5b. (don't know this scene)
Zinc Wine Bar is Vince Gilligan's (the Creator of Breaking Bad) favorite Albuquerque bar: [3009 Central Avenue Northeast Albuquerque, NM 87106]
As most of the locations included in this tour are residences and places of business, please make sure to be respectful when taking pictures and to avoid trespassing.
With Breaking Bad being as popular as it is and the city of Albuquerque being ever present as its backdrop, many of the businesses featured in the series have seen an uptick in popularity. If you are visiting one of the many restaurant locations or commercial properties they will most likely already be experienced with Breaking Bad tourists and may even have certain tidbits like special menu items that tie back into the AMC series.
They say there is a touch of truth in all fiction and Breaking Bad is no exception. Albuquerque has struggled with drug epidemics, extreme drought, gun violence (New Mexico’s gun-death rate is 40% higher than the national average), and a corrupt police force in recent years.
In addition, nearly 20% of the population lives below the poverty line, and the crime rate is 53% higher than the national average.
So with that said when touring the sites listed above, please be sensible and keep all personal items with you at all times. While pick pocketing is not a major issue, tourists always tend to stand out and you might be targeted for your valuables.