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Balloon fiesta - “Park & Ride” or parking lot

Walnut Creek...
Level Contributor
16 posts
15 reviews
Balloon fiesta - “Park & Ride” or parking lot

Is it better to use “Park & Ride” or drive to fiesta parking lot? Cost is not the priority - convenience and not waiting in long lines is more important.

4 replies to this topic
Albuquerque, New...
Destination Expert
for New Mexico, Albuquerque
Level Contributor
2,452 posts
135 reviews
1. Re: Balloon fiesta - “Park & Ride” or parking lot

Park and Ride has always been my choice. The buses take you directly to the main gate. The cost includes round trip and entrance to the fiesta. The only drawback is that park and ride only runs on the two weekends, not during the week.

If you drive, you pay $10.00 per person admittance, and $10.00 per car to park, and unless you get there pretty early on the weekends, you could end up quite a distance from the gates.

Albuquerque, New...
Level Contributor
79 posts
118 reviews
2. Re: Balloon fiesta - “Park & Ride” or parking lot

I think I'm in the minority, but I much prefer to drive. If you have two or fewer people, then it will either be the same cost or slightly cheaper to take the bus (advance purchase). But any more than that, especially with kids, and the price is more for the park and ride. Plus the costs are over 30% higher purchased the day of the event. Because the fiesta is very weather dependent, I would not be comfortable with this. Plus, it still takes a while to take the bus because a lot of people take this option.

The key is to try to be there by around 5:00 on weekends. 5:30 might be okay, but you start getting stuck in traffic. If you opt for the bus, you still want to be there very early. Lots of people either way.

Walnut Creek...
Level Contributor
16 posts
15 reviews
3. Re: Balloon fiesta - “Park & Ride” or parking lot

The Park and Ride was terrific. Highly recommend it. It was less expensive than parking and admission. A lot less hassle.

Note: going to the morning event - best to arrive just before sunrise (30 min) That way you won’t be freezing in the dark.

Going to the evening event - best to arrive just before sunset (30 min).. the glow won’t start til it’s dark anyway.

FYI - leaving the park after the fireworks takes time. It’s very well organized but it’s crowded. I timed it. From the time we got in line to the time they dropped us off in the Coronado mall parking lot it took 1 hr 5 minutes. And we were in line as the fireworks finished.

Not much waiting when you leave the mall parking lot in morning or evening.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
13,063 posts
68 reviews
4. Re: Balloon fiesta - “Park & Ride” or parking lot

Park & Ride was great on Thursday morning and evening for special shapes, which I highly recommend. Buy tickets at least 6 hours in advance to save money.

On Saturday, for mass ascension, it wasn't as good. At Cottonwood, people were being turned away before 6am because 500 ticket allotment was gone.

Ride that took 20 minutes on Thursday took 45 minutes on Saturday.

No lines on Thursday; waited 45 minutes for return bus on Saturday.

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