Fans of the show, who are as addicted to "Breaking Bad" as meth heads are to crystal blue, have turned to Albuquerque, New Mexico, the show’s setting, to further their fix. The first annual BrBa Fan Fest will take place in Albuquerque Nov. 7-8, where they will have a chance to meet some of the cast, among other treats.
If you can’t wait until then, head on down to Albuquerque and see how the city’s creative citizenry has responded to this craziness with more than just sites to see, but fun ways to see them.
Put on a clean pair of tighty-whities and hit the road on the "Breaking Bad" RV Tour that shows you around town in a 1986 Fleetwood Bounder, the style of motor home in which Jesse and Walt cooked for the first two seasons. No need to pack your own hazmat suit though. You’ll be provided with one and a green apron as well when you visit 13 sites in town and the original cook site out in the desert.
Owner Frank Sandoval played a DEA agent in season four. His wife and son also had minor roles in the show. A cool fact about these tours: a portion of the proceeds benefit a homeless/drug rehab shelter in Albuquerque.
The restaurant known to "Breaking Bad" fans as Los Pollos Hermanos, in real life, is known for its burritos, not its chicken. Twisters has more than a dozen locations in New Mexico, but it’s the one at 4257 Isleta Boulevard where everyone comes asking for Gus to come out of the back room, to sit in the booth where the crazy cousins sat or to look at a few of the TV show’s artifacts now on the wall.
Sure, there’s a chicken sandwich on the menu, but other than that, there’s nothing hiding in the buckets of batter here.
Tuco Salamanca was one scary dude, but Java Joe’s is an otherwise inviting coffee shop in a quiet neighborhood in Albuquerque that became a lot rowdier when filming began in an office being remodeled above the café.
This spot is where Jesse first approached Tuco about distributing blue and got the beating that sent him to the hospital. And it's where Mr. White returned and blew out the windows with a special bag of chemical compounds. Many of the "Breaking Bad" tours come past this family-owned business, but take a self-guided tour and spend time enjoying the art on its walls.
The first episode of season five aired on AMC on July 15, 2012—the exact date the ABQ Trolley Company debuted its "Breaking Bad" tours. For four hours each Saturday, the trolley rolls past Walter’s house and condo; Jesse’s house and duplex; and the carwash, laundromat and Crossroads Motel. Get off the trolley at Los Pollos Hermanos, otherwise known as The Twister, and—because ABQ Trolley Company co-owner Michael Silva is friends with the owner—you can ring the doorbell at Gus’s house.A "Breaking Bad" 2.0 tour includes a cooking class (not that kind) and another trolley tour that highlights only filming locations from season five. Silva, who already has a shaved head, dons a Heisenberg hat for the tours and his partner, Jesse Herron, is simply known as Pinkman.
Even if you can’t make it to Albuquerque, you can feed your addiction with a harmless bag of crystal blue so pure that even Uncle Hank couldn’t tell the difference.
Local candy maker Debbie Ball was contacted to make props for the show’s first two seasons. Now she ships all over the world, in addition to supplying for all sorts of "Breaking Bad" events in Albuquerque. It’s really just a simple sugar candy flavored like cotton candy. But if you’re in New Mexico, you’ll find The Candy Lady in Old Town Albuquerque, where she was making sweet things for more than 25 years before Vince Gilligan and crew came to town.
A bigger star of "Breaking Bad" than Bryan Cranston or Aaron Paul, one that will never be nominated for an Emmy, is the vast landscape and beautiful sky of the New Mexico desert.
During your visit to Albuquerque, get out of the city and go for a drive—and not necessarily in an RV. The Turquoise Trail is a National Scenic Byway that connects Albuquerque to Santa Fe. The 52-mile route along Highway 14 shows off those beautiful red rocks and outcroppings, hardy piñon forests and expansive views of blue skies and fluffy white clouds that Vince Gilligan found so inspiring.
All the spots described in this tour are mapped out here. Select View Larger Map to see the full-sized version.