Breaking Bad, which was filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is widely regarded as one of the greatest television dramas of all time. The show, which included 62 episodes over five seasons, premiered in 2008 and quickly captured the country’s attention and brought Albuquerque into the limelight.
The show received numerous awards and accolades over the years, including 16 Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Peabody Awards, and was named one of the Top 10 Television Programs of the Year by the American Film Institute in both 2008 and 2009.
For those who have never seen it, Breaking Bad tells the story of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with cancer. Facing financial problems and a bleak future, Walter teams up with a former student-turned-drug dealer, Jesse Pinkman, to produce and sell crystal meth to secure his family’s financial future. With Walter’s chemistry knowledge and Jesse’s resources, the two create the purest meth in the game, tinted blue instead of clear, which becomes highly desired by a high-ranking distributor and drug kingpin from the cartel, Tuco Salamanca. As the series progresses, Walter transforms from a struggling high school teacher to a ruthless drug kingpin, and the consequences of his actions come to a head in a dramatic and intense conclusion.
Why Was Albuquerque Chosen to Film Breaking Bad?
Breaking Bad was at first going to be set in Riverside, California, but instead was filmed in Albuquerque for several reasons. New Mexico offers generous tax incentives for television and film production, which makes it an attractive location for the film industry. The city of Albuquerque specifically offered a unique and diverse range of landscapes, from its deserts and mesas to its urban areas, that allowed the show’s creators to visually capture the distinct feeling and atmosphere they were looking for. Another attractive aspect was the city’s relatively low cost of living compared to other major cities in the U.S. made it an ideal location for a production that had a limited budget.
Which Film Locations in Albuquerque From Breaking Bad Can Fans Visit?
The popular TV series has left a lasting impact on Albuquerque and its residents, as many of the show’s iconic filming locations can still be visited by fans today. Here are a few that are accessible to the public.
- Walter White’s car wash: The car wash is located at the Albuquerque International Sunport and is still operating today. Fans can visit the car wash and take photos outside, although the interior is not open to the public.
- Los Pollos Hermanos: Fans can visit the popular fast food chain and experience a meal firsthand and take photos. Although the interior was a set built for the show, the building’s exterior is a real restaurant in Albuquerque.
- The Whites’ house: The privately-owned home is in the suburbs of Albuquerque and is not open to the public.
- The “A1A Car Wash” sign, which was seen in several episodes of the show, is located at the corner of Central Avenue and Girard Boulevard. Fans can stop by and take photos with the iconic sign.
- Saul Goodman’s office: The building is located at 308 Osuna Rd NE in Albuquerque. Although the interior was a set, fans can visit the building and take photos of the exterior.
Only a few of these locations are regularly open to the public. Be sure to obey private property signs and be respectful when visiting or passing by.
Are There Breaking Bad-themed Experiences in Albuquerque?
Yes! There are several Breaking Bad-themed experiences in Albuquerque that fans can add to their list. From RV tours, stores, and restaurants offering mementos of the popular show to visiting events featured in the show, like the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, these experiences offer a unique way to explore the city and relive some of the show’s most memorable moments. If you’re a Breaking Bad fan, no visit to Albuquerque would be complete without visiting at least one of these places!