It’s no secret that I am a sucker for a good TV drama. And while I have seen many that I have thoroughly enjoyed, my all-time favorite show is actually the first show I ever binge-watched on Netflix, Breaking Bad. If you haven’t yet seen this acclaimed show, I highly recommend you drop whatever you’re doing and watch all fifty episodes immediately. All jokes aside, in this piece there will be many spoilers, so, if you haven’t watched the show yet but fully intend to, please stop reading so you don’t ruin it for yourself.
Before visiting Albuquerque, my main reaction to the thought of this city was “BREAKING BAD!!!” Now that I’ve visited, my main reaction is still “BREAKING BAD!!!” (among other things). In my opinion, no visit to Albuquerque (“ABQ”) is complete without a proper Breaking Bad tour. There is a paid tour offered through an excellent company in which tourists can ride in a Breaking Bad RV-meth-lab-replica-turned-tour-bus. And while this guided tour comes highly recommended by many, we opted for the self-guided tour so that we could go at our own pace and choose exactly which stops we wanted to make. Here, I will highlight each stop, where it is located, and why we chose this location on our personal tour.
1. Hank and Marie’s House
Our first stop of the day was Hank and Marie’s house. This home is featured all throughout the series, but my favorite scene here is where Walt comes to visit Hank, and Hank reveals his suspicions that Walt is Heisenberg. A fight ensues, and things become very intense. This was a quick stop for a photo, since someone lives here and we wanted to be respectful.
2. Law Offices of Saul Goodman
Our second stop was at the “Law Offices of Saul Goodman,” which is now a hip-looking sports bar (Duke City Sports Bar). We were here in the early morning before opening, otherwise we would have had to stop in for a quick drink. The only thing missing from the scene was Saul’s dopey yellow car.
3. Walt and Skyler’s house
Our third stop is most likely the most popular stop on the tour: Walt and Skyler’s house. It could be argued that the most important scenes of the series were filmed here, so it is no secret that this would be the Breaking Bad fan’s most important stop. I did feel genuinely bad for the owners of the home, as they had a tall iron gate, orange traffic cones, and signs plastered everywhere asking people to “take your photo but respect our privacy.” As asked, we snapped a quick photo before heading on our way.
4. A-1 Car Wash
Our fourth stop was at the “A-1 Car Wash,” which is actually a franchise of “Mister Car Wash,” a national chain. This location is where Walt works a second job in the very beginning of season one and is also the business that he and Skylar buy later on for their money laundering purposes. It looks almost exactly the same as the car wash in the show, which made my nerdy heart very happy. We went in for the basic wash, where the attendant noticed me taking pictures and told us to, “Have an A-1 day!” My life was officially made.
5. La Palomita Park
Our fifth stop was a place where we only typically see one of the major characters: La Palomita Park. This location is frequented by Mike, where he brings his granddaughter Kaylee for bonding time, while simultaneously accepting business calls related to the drug trade or his work as a bodyguard for a local kingpin. Good times.
6. Los Pollos Hermanos
Our sixth stop was my favorite of all, as we were actually able to enter the building and feel like we were on-set. Called “Twister’s” in real life, the restaurant used as the “Los Pollos Hermanos” location in many iconic Breaking Bad scenes is actually a popular New Mexico chain restaurant. We stopped in for lunch, and, although Twister’s specialize in burritos instead of fried chicken, they did have the famous curly fries from the show, and the food was pretty good. They even left the “Los Pollos Hermanos” sign on the wall by the entrance. Unfortunately, Gus wasn’t working, but it was still a great stop nonetheless.
7. Crossroads Motel
Our seventh stop was at the Crossroads Motel, which has the same name in real life as the motel in Breaking Bad. Affectionately referred to as “The Crystal Palace” by Hank, this location is the home of lots of shady activities throughout the show. It is also Wendy’s home and Jesse’s occasional hideout. It seriously looked like it hadn’t changed one bit since the series was filmed.
8. Tuco’s Hideout
Our eighth stop was not super iconic but looked interesting, and I’m glad we added this to our tour. While actually a hip coffee shop called Java Joe’s in real life, this location was sketched up and used as Tuco’s hideout in a few scenes from season one. We enjoyed some delicious coffees inside and wondered what was going on upstairs.
9. Jesse Pinkman’s House
Our ninth stop was Jesse Pinkman’s house, located just a few minutes away from the coffee shop. It looked a bit different than Jesse’s house in the show, and it appears that a garage was added in place of the long driveway that once housed the RV/lab and Jesse’s old Toyota. C’est la vie.
10. The Candy Lady
Our next stop was not included in the filming of the show but is iconic nonetheless. We paid a visit to “The Candy Lady,” where we bought dime bags of “blue sky meth,” which is actually just delicious sugar candy. The owner was so sweet and talked to us for awhile about the filming of the show. We found out after we left that the prop meth used on the show was the very same candy that the shop still currently sells.
11. Gus Fring’s Laundromat/Superlab
Our final stop was at “Argyle Laundry,” also known as “Lavenderĺa Brillante,” to anyone who asks, but also known as the “superlab” where Walt and Jesse professionally cook huge batches of meth while they work for Gus’s organization. The back of the building looked exactly the same as the laundry organization in the show, except a fence had since been constructed.
That concluded our Breaking Bad tour. I’ve linked the map we used, which includes many, many more locations which we did not visit. If you visit ABQ, you must do at least some of the tour, and if you have never seen Breaking Bad, I suggest you get on that.
Have you been to ABQ and taken the tour? What did you think? Did we miss anywhere important? Let us know in the comments below.