Thu, Oct 4: Depart in the morning for Albuquerque, New Mexico. Upon arrival, stop for lunch at the exciting Route 66 Diner. Feel like you’ve stepped back into the 50’s with the eclectic décor including vintage neon signs, juke box and classic soda fountain. Take a guided tour of Albuquerque and see the University of New Mexico, Route 66, Country Club, Nob Hill, downtown and other historic areas. End with an Old Town Plaza orientation walking tour. Check in to the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, which is nestled in the Old Town Plaza and museum district. A Welcome Dinner is included at the hotel. (Meals: Lunch, Dinner)
Fri, Oct 5: After breakfast, depart for a day in nearby Santa Fe, including a city tour and free time. After an orientation driving and walking tour, consider visiting the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the Palace of Governors (the oldest municipal building in the United States) or the many art galleries and boutiques. Enjoy a special dinner this evening near the Santa Fe Plaza before returning to Albuquerque. (B,D)
Sat, Oct 6: Rise and shine early for the Dawn Patrol Show and Morning Glow, a choreographed inflation and launch set to music. This is the opening act for the Mass Ascension, a chance to see hundreds of balloons fill the sky. You’ll have access to the hospitality tent for light refreshments (coffee, hot chocolate, doughnuts and cookies). Across the 200 acres of the Balloon Fiesta Park are booths selling balloon memorabilia and other merchandise, such as local art and jewelry as well as food vendors with many options. Return to the hotel or choose to visit the nearby town of Madrid, a creative community with numerous shops and galleries. Stop at Tinkertown, a museum of miniature wood carved figurines. Inside, the magic of animation takes over as the inhabitants of a raucous little western town animate to hilarious life. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure. (B)
Sun, Oct 7: Your morning is free to visit a nearby museum, or choose to take flight on an optional hot air balloon ride! Lunch will be served in an old hacienda surrounded by lush gardens. Head to Sandia Peak overlooking Albuquerque for a tram ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway, which rises to 10,000 feet and offers a spectacular view. Take some stunning pictures at the top before enjoying the remainder of the day on your own at the balloon grounds. Stay for the spectacular views of the Balloon Glow and After Glow ™ Fireworks show! Return to the hotel following the events. (B,L)
Mon, Oct 8: The morning and early afternoon are at leisure for another opportunity to take an optional hot air balloon ride, visit a museum or to spend more free time in Old Town. Transfer to the airport to fly back to Indianapolis. (B)
Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town
A landmark hotel located adjacent to the Old Town Plaza, near shops, restaurants and museums. Recognized by Travel & Leisure magazine as one of the top stylish hotels, the hotel has a comfortable Southwestern flair. Highlights: guestrooms appointed with genuinely crafted Southwestern furnishings with seating area • in-room coffee/tea maker • complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access • restaurant • bar/lounge • large outdoor pool • hot tub • spa • fitness center.