The Breaking Bad guide to Albuquerque

The small town in New Mexico has embraced Walter White and Jesse Pinkman's crystal meth dealing antics, and now offers 'cooking' classes, shooting location tours and sells bags of blue rocks to tourists...

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Most towns would be worried  – surely being labelled a crystal meth haven would ruin tourism, not grow it? Bizarrely, Albuquerque, New Mexico, is thriving as a direct result of cult drug dealing series Breaking Bad.

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The AMC show follows a straight-laced chemistry teacher named Walter White, who, after finding out he has cancer, turns his skills to meth-making and dealing in an attempt to pay for his mounting medical bills and ensure his family are well looked after when he croaks it.

Albuquerque was once known as a tranquil, pleasant town (it’s the same place they hold that annual international hot air ballooning fiesta thingy). Unsurprisingly, it took a while for the tarnished Albuquerque locals to embrace their new persona, but five years into the Breaking Bad phenomenon, and right on time for the release of the fifth and final series (new episodes released every Monday on Netflix), the results are quite remarkable… 

Local tour companies now offer special Breaking Bad filming locations tours, doughnut shops sell Breaking Bad cakes with blue meth-style sprinkles on them, sweet shops sell bags of crystal meth candy and spas make “Bathing Bad” crystals. Here’s our Breaking Bad guide to Albuquerque…

Twisters

Los Pollos from the series doesn’t actually exist, the closest you can get to it is by paying this Mexican joint a visit – which doubled as meth kingpin Gustavo Fring’s fried chicken shop in the show. Find a tribute to Breaking Bad on the wall inside, which reads “Los Pollos Hermanos”. twistersinc.com

Great Face and Body

This Albuquerque spa has taken its obsession with Breaking Bad to extremes – it offers a range of beauty products including test tube shaped Los Pollos Hermanos Gourmet Salts, Bathing Bad bath crystals and Los Pollos Hermanos Fry Batter. You can also sign up for a Bad Cooking Class, where they’ll show you how to mix your own meth-style beauty products in their weird mock-crack lab. Get hold of the ready-made products online from $15.99 (£11), greatfaceandbody.com


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The Octopus Car wash

In the first series, Walter has second job at A-1 Carwash. In season 4, the carwash appears again as Skylar buys the place to help launder money for Walt. The very same building can be found at Snow Heights Circle, and it looks as equally bleak, brown and bizarre as it does in the show.

The Candy Lady

Everyone on a trip to Albuquerque should stop by this little old fashion sweet shop. Not for the black liquorish or chocolate dipped fruits, oh no. For the little bags of crystal meth sweeties. The Candy Lady supplied these sugary little bags of blue rocks to the Breaking Bad team, and they’re the same ones used on screen in the series. She sells them in store for a very reasonable $1 (70p) to Breaking Bad tourists. Following in footsteps of Walter White, the Candy Lady has her own money making scheme on the side – she offers Breaking Bad limousine tours of the filming locations from the series for $75 (£48). thecandylady.com


Visit New Mexico with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details


Biking Bad Tour

Local entrepreneurs Routes Bicycle Rentals & Tours have combined their love of cycling with their love of Breaking Bad, they now do two wheeled tours of the streets. They will take you on five different potential routes, to lesser-known areas of the show. Each route will tell the story of one of the show’s five main characters. Prices start from $50 (£33) per person, routesrentals.com

Rebel Donut

To honour the show, this local doughnut shop now sells a Breaking Bad flavour cake, and it’s pretty good. It’s got vanilla dough, sky blue icing and is sprinkled with mini meth-style chunks – in blue, naturally. The Dexter bloody doughnuts are yummy too. Premium doughnuts go for $1.89 (£1.22) a pop, rebeldonut.com

BAd Tour

If you’re two lazy (or high) to find the locations from the series yourself, just book on one of ABQ Trolley Co’s Breaking Bad tours. They take fans on a three and a half hour trip to see Walter White’s house and condo, Jesse Pinkman’s house and duplex, Gus’s house, the A1 Car Wash, Saul Goodman’s office, Tuco’s headquarters, Los Pollos and more. Tickets from $25 (£16), bqtrolley.com


Visit New Mexico with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details


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Images courtesy of John Phelan, Rebel Donut, The Candy Lady, Great Face and Body and The Octupus Car Wash