While I’m sure Albuquerque (ABQ) has A LOT to offer – Bryan and I had only one thing on our mind when we got into town: Breaking Bad! We’re huge Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul fans and, for those of you not in the know, ABQ is where these shows were/are filmed. For years now, this has been a big draw and tour companies sprung up left and right to take fans on tours throughout the town. Thankfully for us, Lonely Planet put together a map with a bunch of filming locations so folks like us could do it on our own (i.e., for FREE!).
We found a great regional campsite up in the town of Bernalillo just 15 miles from ABQ and our DIY Breaking Bad tour lit out from here. A lot of the locations are actually people’s homes, so most of the tour was just a quick drive-by and us trying not to draw too much attention to us or our camera. For example, the home that was Walter and Skyler’s house in the show had no less than four “Private Property/No Trespassing” signs, security cameras, and GET THIS – the owners were camped out in their garage with the door open staring us down as we drove by. This was a bit of a bummer, but still fun! Also, the day was incredibly windy and cold with black threatening storm clouds looming above us – so it was probably best that we had to stay in the car for most of the tour. Our stops included the following:
- Walt and Skyler White’s house
- Hank and Marie’s house
- Saul Goodman’s office
- Walt’s temporary apartment
- The park where Mike would always take his grand-daughter
- Jesse and Jane’s rental
- Jesse’s aunt’s house – ultimately his house
- The laundry business meth lab
- A1A Car wash actually known as Mister Car Wash
- Los Pollos Hermanos actually known as Twisters
- Crossroads Motel (a meth-head hangout, etc.)
- Dog House Drive-in (where Jesse slung drugs a few times and a backdrop for Better Call Saul)
- Savoy Wine Bar and Grill (where Walt met with Gretchen a few times)
- The Candy Lady – I guess this was the store that made the fake meth for the show and now sells baggies of candy meth!
- *Better Call Saul*
- Saul Goodman’s nail salon office (this salon offers men’s haircuts, I tried to convince Bryan to get a souvenir haircut, he declined the offer – booo!)
- Chuck’s house and his park bench
There were a lot more places to check-out, but we decided to just do the places that we could definitely remember from the show. We started early and were done by lunch time. If you incorporate all the other destinations and stop in to more of the places (we started at 8am – so a lot of the actual businesses were closed – otherwise, we’d have stopped in for a bite, a drink, or both) this could take up an entire day. For any level of fan, I definitely recommend doing this tour (or one of the real tours) if you’re ever in ABQ. Evidently there our bike tours, a tour done in an actual Bounder RV (DAMN, why didn’t we take Merlin on this tour?!), etc. – so a lot of fun to be had! When we got back to Merlin that day, we immediately re-upped our Netflix membership and started power-watching Breaking Bad from the beginning. It so fun to rewatch such an incredible show and even more fun now that we’ve been to so many of the locations!
Bernalillo was a nice little spot to live for a few days. Our campground had beautiful views of the Sandia mountains, our site had a cute a little casita that we would have enjoyed more had it not been for the big storms passing through while we were there, we were right off of the Rio Grande, and the town had some awesome offerings for food and drink! We visited the Kaktus Brewing Co. and Freight House Kitchen + Tap. Both were total gems in what seemed like a sleepy ABQ suburb. At Freight House we enjoyed tempura fried green beans with shaved Manchego Cheese and Shrimp & Grits topped with fried okra that was absolutely to die for, plus they had a stellar beer selection! Our stay near ABQ was short but sweet!