Sunday, August 08, 2010

"Breaking Bad" Filming Locations - Season 1

This post is the second of eight posts regarding "Breaking Bad" filming locations and focuses on Season 1 filming locations (last updated March 14, 2020).

The Blog Sidebar contains links to Filming Location posts.  These include:
  • Eight "Breaking Bad" filming location posts;
  • Three additional posts regarding "Breaking Bad" related subjects;
  • Seven "Better Call Saul" filming location posts;
  • Two additional posts regarding "Better Call Saul" related subjects;
  • One post regarding "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie";
  • Three links to OldeSaultie's Google maps of "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul" filming location sites. These are the best filming location maps on the Web! The KML files available at these addresses are particularly useful for importing locations into GPS-equipped devices.

Let me know if you have any problems or questions (E-Mail address:


To avoid unnecessary friction, I have redacted the addresses of all single-family homes in these books. (These addresses are still available in these blog posts, however.)

The pictures in the print edition are black-and-white, in order to keep costs down. Pictures in the Kindle edition are in color.

"A Guidebook To 'Breaking Bad' Filming Locations: Albuquerque as Physical Setting and Indispensable Character"

The Fifth Edition (Publication date November 3, 2018; 375 pages) of the book, updated through Season 4 of "Better Call Saul," is now available and can be ordered at these links:

Print, Kindle.

“‘Breaking Bad’ Signs and Symbols: Reading Meaning into Sets, Props, and Filming Locations”

The First Edition (Publication date November 3, 2018; 290 pages) of this book can be ordered at these links:

Print, Kindle

This book delves into some of the symbolism in AMC's hit television series "Breaking Bad." Toxic modernity is symbolized by architectural elements derived from Chicago. Indeed, Albuquerque is used as a kind of stand-in for the City of Chicago. Like many cities in America’s Great Plains and Mountain West, Albuquerque obtained much of its architecture directly from the Windy City via the AT&SF railroad and Highway 66.

The creative team is interested in telling stories about the legacies and corruptions of modernity, particularly Chicago’s “Century of Progress” (1833-1932). In particular, Chicago-derived daylighting innovations (the practice of passive window design to help illuminate the interiors of large buildings) are featured: Glass Block Windows, Luxfer Prismatic Tile Windows, and Plate Glass Windows. Once the backgrounds of scenes are encoded with meaning, a variety of stories can be told there.

A series of tables are presented - for example: Parallel Beams in the Ceiling; Twinned Features; Five-Pointed Stars; Octagons; Monkeys; Horses; Cats; Moth Orchids; and Skulls.

Certain symbols advance the plot: Native-American symbols; Foreshadowing symbols like Pueblo Deco arches; Danger symbols like bells, stagger symbols, and desk lamps; plus Earth Art.

Featured stories as told in television-scene backgrounds include: The Legacy of El Chapo; Tributes to Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest”; The Badger Comes To Entrap; The Five Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe; The legacy of London's Crystal Palace; and Homages to Patrick McGoohan's “The Prisoner.”



By 2010 I had stopped watching television almost entirely, but I was intrigued by my friend Jerry's praise for AMC's television series "Breaking Bad". I decided to give it a try. "Breaking Bad" was filmed in my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, so even if it proved terrible it might amuse just for local color. On April 15, 2010, I went into Dimple Records and purchased Season 2 on DVD.

What a great TV series "Breaking Bad" proved to be! Tense Southwestern film noir along the lines of 2007's Academy-Award-winning movie "No Country For Old Men" (much of which was also filmed in New Mexico). Jerry was right! The best TV series ever!

For a Duke City native like me, "Breaking Bad" is very jarring to watch. Such dark, evil doings on the sunny, happy, streets of my youth! And the camera doesn't lie either; it is Albuquerque, in every detail, but rendered in a disorienting way. These folks were retelling the Albuquerque story, tying it with the drug trade and reinventing the familiar places of my youth. This was irresistible! For example, the Crossroads Motel, across Central Avenue from Presbyterian Hospital, is located just one or two hundred yards from where I was born! Watching this TV series affected me personally! I quickly purchased Season 1 on DVD, and downloaded Season 3 too, and became a confirmed "Breaking Bad" addict.

The television series touched a very sensitive subject - methamphetamine addiction. I was more familiar with the subject than I wanted to be. Like many, the drug trade affected my life in college in the 1970s. So many students were involved in the drug trade in one way or the other. I remember when some of my acquaintances felt compelled to leave town for their own safety under circumstances they did not wish to discuss. They were going through some kind of Breaking-Bad-like experience, but couldn't confide what it was!

“Breaking Bad” dramatizes the freakish nature of the drug trade; the deformed personalities, the bad faith. No trade demands a higher level of trust, and no trade has less of that vital property.

In 2006, I hired a fellow to work on my house, and soon discovered he had a love for meth. He displayed the paranoia that is a key feature of the addiction. Twice, he slept for nearly 24 hours on the floor of my garage.

"Breaking Bad" Season 1 dramatizes meth's paranoia very well, for example, when Jesse interprets the knock of Mormon missionaries at the door as being the menacing advance of heavily-armed bikers. "Breaking Bad" dramatizes the passage of time during one of Jesse's long, long sleeps with beautiful, sunrise-to-sunset time-lapse photography of his parent's house.

I knew "Breaking Bad" was having a deep subconscious impact in New Mexico, but it's impact may be deepest of all on the meth addicts:
He thought he was breaking into a Breaking Bad set, but an Albuquerque man reportedly high on meth needed to take his rake elsewhere.

Neighbors in the 1600 block of Coal Avenue said a confused looking man was digging with a rake outside a home in southeast Albuquerque, according to a criminal complaint.

That man ... later told police he was looking for a hidden key outside the home he thought was a set for the popular TV show Breaking Bad.

"Breaking Bad" maintained a striking fidelity to the landscape and the people of New Mexico. The production team wasn’t treating Albuquerque as other Hollywood projects sometimes have - as the storytelling equivalent of a "stop-and-rob" convenience store. "Breaking Bad" was staying longer, and digging deeper.

My attention was riveted most by recognizing street scenes and seeing the dramatization of life in modern-day New Mexico. The Southwestern landscape can be mesmerizing. "Breaking Bad" cinematographers fell in love with the beautiful Southwestern skies - sometimes full of clouds and sometimes devoid of them altogether.

There is a lot of terrain relief in Albuquerque. Even incidental views of the horizon are packed with information regarding filming location. Every corner of the city has a different look, and all the looks are imprinted on the mind of every Albuquerque resident.

Albuquerque has a different history than a lot of other cities in the American West. The Indian, Spanish, and American heritages collide in unusual ways. Albuquerque has less of that industrious Yankee imprint that you find everywhere in Salt Lake City, for example. Albuquerque grew rapidly after World War II, but not as rapidly as Phoenix, so some of the older ways linger.

Albuquerque tends to attract impractical dreamers. Not so much the religious seekers, like Salt Lake City or San Francisco attract. No, Albuquerque attracts failed businessmen, failed radio hosts, failed accountants, and yes, failed chemists: the sort of people who don't understand why their plans never worked out.

We tell stories to make sense of our world. Albuquerque has several clashing identities, all true in various respects: the Turquoise Trail, the Duke City; the crossroads of Rio Abajo; AT&SF rail center and the largest city in New Mexico; a stopover on Route 66; Cold War capital not far from Trinity Site and Los Alamos; Space Age capital; a real estate frontier, etc., etc.

The end of the Cold War imperils a huge part of Albuquerque's identity, and new tales have to come forward to help explain the city to itself. The dark shadow of drugs looming from the south, and peoples' desperate struggles with it, is a new way with which to view Albuquerque and its history. "Breaking Bad" is the blue-crystal meth of the imagination - just right for our new century!

The influence of New Mexico on "Breaking Bad" isn't just one-sided. Just as "Breaking Bad" is a different kind of story for having been set in New Mexico, New Mexico will now be a different kind of place for having hosted "Breaking Bad".

Despite a passing reference in the show’s Atomic-Museum scene to Werner Heisenberg (the brilliant 20th-Century German quantum physicist who headed up the Nazi A-Bomb effort), "Breaking Bad" does not fully-explain the reasons Walter White adopts the moniker "Heisenberg". Nevertheless, I can guess. Heisenberg is best known for the "Uncertainty Principle":
According to Heisenberg it is impossible to determine simultaneously both the position and velocity of an electron or any other particle with any great degree of accuracy or certainty.
or, more succinctly:

Similarly, one can know exactly where Walter White is, but not what he is doing, or one can know exactly what he is doing, but not where he is. One can never know both his location and his activities simultaneously. That's the conceit of the "Heisenberg" name!

In one of "The Making of Breaking Bad" videos, Creator Vince Gilligan calls Walter White "the smartest dumb man I know." The Heisenberg moniker is a perfect example. It's a clue! To a physical scientist, the nickname screams 'fellow physical scientist.' Even Hank Schrader should be able to see it!

Even though I live in California now, I yearned to see these places again, plus find out where the other nearly-recognizable places are located. Nancy Bymers, a part-time Albuquerque resident who goes by the moniker “WallDruggie” experienced the same yearning. She devoted a lot of effort to tracking down filming locations, taking pictures, and posting Google placemarks. So, I followed her example and started blogging about these locations. It was fun being a tourist in my hometown and entering neighborhoods I had never been before, because, until now, I had no reason to go there.

Being a sporadic Albuquerque resident is an important qualification for wanting to document these locations well. For the most part, year-round Albuquerque residents are proud and flattered that the Hollywood folks see so much value in their city, but they don't obsess about it particularly. "Breaking Bad" is only one of several television shows (e.g., "In Plain Sight"; “Preacher”) set in Albuquerque. WallDruggie and I have a harder time, though, because we are often too far away to easily satisfy our curiosity. People like us have to work harder at it.

It's also important to note that many of these locations are already well-known to Albuquerque residents, and they already have emotional resonances with them. "Breaking Bad" sometimes uses these locations in ways completely orthogonal to normal uses, setting up emotional dissonances in the minds of Duke City residents. A familiar consequence of dissonance is obsession. As one of my blog commenters wrote:
I live in Albuquerque....about 3 blocks from Walt's house. Walk by there every day with the dogs. I was so curious where a lot of these locations were. I am just obsessed with this show.

After I returned to California, I was able to review episodes and use Google Earth's Street View utility feature to make reasonable guesses on other locations. I also devoted time to assembling a list of filming locations, grouped by neighborhood, that can be used by "Breaking Bad" aficionados as a check-off list. There are now several companies that advertise tours of filming locations in Albuquerque, including "Breaking Bad". ABQ Trolley is one of these companies. Certain limousine services may also be available. Various tours by private groups and individuals sometimes occur (e.g., The Unofficial Breaking Bad Fan Tour sometimes gives tours). As of October, 2013, Frank and Jackie Sandoval are now offering tours in their specially-designed Bounder RV (Breaking Bad RV Tours - phone no.: 505-514-5686). Nevertheless, because of scheduling conflicts or other problems, aficionados are often left largely to their own devices.

Facility availability was one of the key criteria used for choosing locations for the television series. The sites were often unused or underutilized locations undergoing rapid change. One consequence is that a surprising number of sites have already been quickly transformed since they were filmed. The Locations Scouts often succeeded in finding places just weeks away from the wrecking ball. The Chicken Farm, Saul’s Office, Beneke’s, Casa Tranquila, Denny's, Uncle Jack’s compound, Paul's Monterey Inn: all transformed!

Fire is a big threat to “Breaking Bad” filming locations. For example, on June 10, 2010, the Karler Meat Packing Plant burned down, and on December 20, 2013 the Flamenco Arts Dance Studio (located just a short distance from several "Breaking Bad" sites) burned down. There is a real ephemeral quality about the sites chosen for the television series. Many sites will become unrecognizable with time, and thus it’s important to log their locations now.

In his “Fail Scout” podcasts, Location Scout Alex Gianopoulos stresses the importance of “The Zone”, a circle with a radius of 30 miles centered at “Q” Studios. If filming occurs outside The Zone, union rules require the studio to pay additional amounts for crew transport and pay. Thus, there is a strong incentive to keep filming near Albuquerque, venturing beyond 30 miles only if there is no practical alternative (such as using the private railroad for “Breaking Bad”, Season 5a, episode 5, 'Dead Freight').

Beginning on July 6, 2011, a blog reader named "OldeSaultie" (Sven Joli) and I began collaborating on finding many of these filming locations (particularly the harder sites). "OldeSaultie" has excellent Web talents, and we worked well as a team. In particular, he stopped my errors of misplaced enthusiasm before they hit print and caused confusion.

Many of the locations mentioned in this particular post have already been mentioned by "WallDruggie". These filming locations are the core destinations for people who want to visit "Breaking Bad" filming locations.

Since “Better Call Saul” is a prequel to “Breaking Bad”, its filming locations will be included too.

“Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” aficionados are often left to their own devices when arranging tours of filming location sites. This Guide is meant for them. This guidebook is not authoritative with regards to filming locations and has been compiled with minimal interaction with, or assistance from, AMC or Sony Pictures. Our primary method has been to watch the television screen and reverse-engineer where the various scenes were shot. Other fans contributed their knowledge as well.

What is the merit in making a record of these places? In my mind, it goes beyond the virtues of recording locations before they are swept from memory by time.

Geography is tyranny. Everyone must bow before the God of Geography – except, perhaps, the filmmaker, who is partly-free to conjure up a different, maybe more appealing, reality. The Albuquerque of “Breaking Bad” is similar to, but ultimately different than, the real Albuquerque. We should all celebrate Vince Gilligan’s Albuquerque, because, as a work of art, it breaks free from the chains of Earth!


The Navajos at To'hajiilee (formerly Cañoncito) have a complicated history of estrangement from the rest of their Navajo brethren, but these days things seem peaceful and pleasant out here. (The name “To'hajiilee” apparently means “lifting water up by rope and container”.)

(Indeed, I wondered if "Breaking Bad" is actually a parable about the Old West: I wrote an essay about it here).

Here is To'hajiilee Community School. The area used in the opening scenes of "Breaking Bad" is in Sandoval Canyon, on Trail 7039, 1.4 miles west of the school.

The turnoff from the paved road comes before you reach the school. The turnoff is unmarked, so caution is required to avoid getting mixed up. If you reach the school you’ve gone too far. Look for the hilltop church as a guiding landmark.

Detail of the turnoff. When you turn onto Trail 7039 from the main road leading to the school, you are immediately confronted with choosing three, diverging, unmarked roads. The road to the left leads to private residences. The road in the middle leads to the hilltop church. You want the road to the right.

Beautiful young horses graze along the road. Be careful to avoid hitting them.

Beautiful young horses!

Descending into Walt's Valley of Angst (35.101197°, -107.135481°). Prudence is recommended in this area because people live just a short distance from this location. Try not to disturb them.

Walt and Jesse’s RV makes its way around this prominent rock (first seen in “Breaking Bad”, Season 1, episode 1, ‘Pilot’).

Walt makes his first stand here.

Jesse: "Yeah, nothing but cows. Got some big cow house way out that way, like two miles, but - I don't see nobody."

Walt: "Cow house?"

Jesse: "Yeah ... where they live.

Walt: ...

Jesse: The cows! Well, whatever man. Yeah, let's cook here!"

On February 16, 2017, Nick Gerlich, Deanna Pickens, and I paid a visit to To'hajiilee. While there, we talked to Veteran Sergeant First Class Charles Portero (who lives a short distance north of here).

Sergeant Portero offered much information about this place. For example he said that the large sandstone feature here is called the "choo-choo" train by locals. He also pointed out that on top of the "choo-choo" there was a face in the stone. To me, it looked like a Picasso rendition of an Easter Island stone head.

I rewatched "Breaking Bad," and interestingly, 'Pilot' shows the head face on, and 'The Cat's in the Bag' shows the head in profile. Clearly, the creative team for the TV show noted the head too. I notice that various spiritualist web sites associate Easter Island heads with the concept of renewal. That would be perfectly in keeping with the theme of these two episodes.

There is also a reference to Easter Island heads in Season 2. Some of the parking islands in Saul Goodman's parking lot look like abstract Easter Island heads.

Walt returns to this very spot in Season 5b to hide his enormous pile of money.

The stretch of road where Walt and the RV careen in the Pilot episode ("Breaking Bad", Season 1, episode 1, 'Pilot')....

....Is the same stretch of road where Walt runs out of gas ("Breaking Bad", Season 5b, episode 14, 'Ozymandias'). (35.116649°, -107.132928°)

An equine farewell.

More on To'hajiilee in my Season 5b post.

There are conflicting recommendations regarding parking. Choosing the advice to follow depends partly on the duration of your visit....

For short visits, I recommend parking on the main road, in order to limit the damage your visit will cause to the fragile desert of the area. “Breaking Bad” tourism is inflicting permanent damage on this area.

On the other hand, a local resident recommends parking off the main road, due to the threat of tire theft from vehicles left unattended for a time.

Follow the advice that seems most-appropriate for your visit.


The High Schools Of Breaking Bad

Four campuses were used for the filming of Breaking Bad's J.P. Wynne High School: Rio Rancho High School; Central New Mexico (CNM) Community College’s Westside Campus; as well as Eldorado and Highland High Schools in Albuquerque.

J.P. Wynne High School (1), Administration Building, 301 Loma Colorado Dr. NE, Rio Rancho.

(Season 1, episode 1, 'Pilot') Walter juggles stolen lab equipment on the steps of the Scimatics Building.

(Season 1, episode 2, 'The Cat's In The Bag') The administration building is often shown.

The day I visited Rio Rancho High School in May, 2010, I asked to take pictures of the campus, particularly the 'Scimatics' building, which is featured in "Breaking Bad". Even though there were very few students on campus late in July, I was denied entry. The campus was being used to film "Fright Night" and I was assured my presence would make the campus' safety officer 'freak out'.

When I returned to Rio Rancho High School at the very end of 2011, the campus was closed yet again, for the holidays.

J.P. Wynne High School (2), Mr. Archuleta gets arrested (Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin'').

Central New Mexico (CNM) Community College's Westside Campus, 10549 Universe Blvd NW.

Here is a typical bathroom at CNM. In one of these bathrooms, Walt pounds the towel dispenser, in rage that his cancer’s remission takes away the rationale for his criminal conduct (Season 2, episode 9, 'Four Days Out').

Much later, long after he needs any rationale for criminal conduct, Walt notices the battered towel dispenser and reminisces (Season 5a, episode 8, 'Gliding Over All').

J.P. Wynne High School (3), Eldorado High School, 11300 Montgomery Blvd. NE (Season 1, episode 7, 'No Rough Stuff'; Season 2, episode 6, 'Peekaboo'; Season 2, episode 8, 'Better Call Saul'; Season 2, episode 11, 'Mandala'; Season 3, episode 4, 'Green Light').

Starting in Season 2 of "Breaking Bad", on-campus high school scenes were filmed at Eldorado High School, in Albuquerque's Northeast Heights, and closer to the Sandia Mountains.

Walt and Jesse squabbled about the quality of Jesse’s meth in Eldorado High School's parking lot. A sidelong view of this wall (which honors the Eldorado Eagles - seen above, obscured by the pine tree) was evident in the background as they fought.


Eldorado High School was used again in the penultimate episode of “Breaking Bad”. Flynn rebukes Walt on the telephone for his criminal conduct (“Breaking Bad”, Season 5b, episode 15, ‘Granite State’).

A fourth high school representing J.P. Wynne High School is used for the school-assembly gymnasium scene at the start of season 3, where Walt discusses the Wayfarer 515/King Air 350 mid-air collision and crash. At the risk of appearing callous, Walt makes a comparison to the infamous (but now largely-forgotten) 1977 Tenerife double jumbo-jet collision catastrophe (Season 3, episode 1, ‘No Mas’). This high school is Highland High School, 4700 Coal Avenue SE, near San Mateo and Lead.

I don't yet have a picture of Highland High School Gym, but "WallDruggie" does, and this is her picture.

I’ve been mystified for years why Highland High School’s gym was chosen for the school-assembly scene. Why not use the gym at one of the other high schools? As it turns out Highland High School’s gym has fine clerestory windows – the best for any high school in the city of Albuquerque! Clerestory windows mean healing. Thus, the “Breaking Bad” team is signifying that the people of Albuquerque in general, and the students at J.P. Wynne High School in particular, are healing after the aviation tragedy at the end of Season 2 of “Breaking Bad.”

[UPDATE: February 2019]
Aha! I finally got some pictures of Highland High School's Gym! Look at those clerestory windows!

Beavis and Butthead

Albuquerque’s real Highland High School may represent Beavis and Butthead's Highland School. Even though former Albuquerque resident and Creator Mike Judge went to St. Pius High School, not Highland, and even though there are similarly-named high schools around the country, including Highlands High School in Irving, Texas, not far from where Judge once lived, there is nevertheless strong evidence of an Albuquerque influence:
Q.: What kind of mindset do you get into to play Beavis and Butt-head?

A.: I think about people I went to junior high with. There was a time when my friends and I dug a hole in a vacant lot and put boards over it to make a secret underground clubhouse. This guy Fritz came up and said, "You guys have that clubhouse back on that vacant lot on Madison." I said "Yeah." He goes, "We're gonna b-break it. Huh-huh." Sure enough I go out there the next day and it's completely trashed. The next time I see him he says, "We b-broke your clubhouse."

Judge has said that he imagined Beavis and Butt-head as slacker students at the real-life Highland High School on Coal Avenue in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he lived. Specifically, he first created Butt-head as his idea of the archetypal slacker high school student, incorporating the look, name, and voice of a friend who invited anyone to kick him in the rear-end, calling himself "Iron-butt."

When attempting to conceive the look for a companion to Butt-head, it is rumoured that Judge combined the look of a nerdy classmate he knew from high school and his own bad artistic rendering of Barry Manilow. He named him "Beavis," and modeled the voice after his own interpretation of what a typical "frybrained teenager" would sound like, incorporating the raspy laugh of the aforementioned classmate.

It is a popular myth at the University of California, San Diego (where Judge attended college) that the appearances of Beavis and Butt-head were modeled on faculty at its Department of Physics. Their real-life models are said to be David Kleinfeld and James Branson.

And this:
I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and lived in Dallas. I always think of Highland as West Texas or East New Mexico. I've always had that fascination with suburbia. It's not like I just like to make fun of it from my ivory tower. I actually like suburban areas. Even when I was a kid - jeez, from the first time I can remember writing something for school. It was about this guy who did these really horrible commercials on local TV, this fat guy with this slew of fences behind him - 'I'm George Martinez for thee Albuquerque Fence Qompanee. For strong doorable fenceeng please call four-five-seex-nine-seex-three-seex.' I wrote about what George's life was like, and I was really proud of it. The teacher never gave it back. I don't think he read those things or anything, just threw them away.

I am impressed Mike Judge remembers Captain Bill. Captain Billy, a KGGM-TV Kiddie Show host dressed as a sea captain with a Dutch Boy hair style and long mustache, was a familiar childhood television presence when I was a kid. It was traumatic that anyone would hurt him.
"There was a show in Albuquerque called Captain Billy," Judge recalls. "He was a local guy and he'd show cartoons and you'd go there for your birthday and he got shot because he was fooling around with someone else's wife. I remember my mom trying to explain it to me. I was asking her, 'Why did he get shot?' And she goes, 'Maybe he was just hugging her to say, "good job," and someone walked in and saw it and shot him.' "

The Beavis and Butthead episode entitled ‘Car Wash’ appears to be the source of the "Better Call Saul" Skateboarders plot line.


Season 1 Filming Locations

Northeast Heights (E. of Wyoming, W. of Juan Tabo, S. of Osuna)

Walter & Skyler White's home, at 3828 Piermont NE (North of Comanche).

Seen in almost every episode, this house was used for exterior shots only: interior shots were done at "Q" Studios.

In the TV series, the address is given as '328 Negro Arroyo'.

Particularly later in the series, people started giving the address as '328 Negra Arroyo' (for example, in the note pinned to Baby Holly when Walt leaves her at the fire station). This usage mangles the Spanish, with its grammatical requirement that adjective and noun match gender. I'm not sure why people do that, except that English speakers often mangle Spanish.

The value of the home is given here as $183,556.

This home is a family's real residence so please don't make a nuisance of yourself there when you pass by! No pizzas on the roof, no stepping into other people's yards, etc. By 2014, the number of visits to this home had surpassed those to the Soprano's family home. Neighborhood impacts are heavy.

In the fall of 2017, their patience exhausted, the family living here had a fence built to keep people out.

White residence (February 2020).

A1A Car Wash, formerly Octopus Car Wash, but now Mister Car Wash, at Eubank and Menaul NE. The exact address is 9516 Snow Heights Circle NE.

By Season 5a, episode 7, 'Say My Name' the "Breaking Bad" car wash had a name: the A1A Car Wash.

When I lived in Albuquerque in the late 1970's, I remember patronizing this car wash just once. I was just a low-paid UNM student and couldn't make a habit of coming regularly to this high-end establishment.

The A1A Car Wash, as seen on Breaking Bad RV Tour visit on November 7, 2014. (See the Season 5b post for more information about Frank and Jackie Sandoval's Breaking Bad RV Tour.)

The A1A Car Wash.

Cooking at the A1A Car Wash.

Upper Northeast Heights (E. of Juan Tabo)

J.P. Wynne High School (3) was filmed at Eldorado High School (see 'The High Schools of Breaking Bad', above).

Northeast Heights (N. Of Osuna)

Northeast Heights Sunset (Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin'').

Part of a time lapse sequence (Part 1 - Sunset), this location is on the inside face of Domingo Baca Dam, near Paseo del Norte Blvd. & Lowell Drive NE.

Reappears as Part 2 of a time lapse sequence (Season 2, episode 10, 'Over').

(35.172985ø, -106.509091ø)

Northeast Heights sunset view, upstream of dam.

Sandia Mountains and the Northeast Heights, as seen from the intersection of Holbrook St. & Alameda Blvd. NE (Season 1, episode 6, ‘Crazy Handful of Nothin'’). This is part of a montage sequence. (35.184350°, -106.532984°).

Lower Northeast Heights (W. of Wyoming), & Lomas Blvd. Corridor

Danny's Auto Service, 5018 Lomas NE.

(Season 1, episode 4, 'Cancer Man') Walt blows up Ken Wins' BMW.

(Season 2, episode 5, 'Breakage') This appears in a montage of meth sales.

Danny's Auto Service.

Amadeo's Pizza, formerly Pudge Brothers Pizza, 5003 Lomas Blvd. NE.

(Season 1, episode 4, 'Cancer Man')

(Season 2, episode 5, 'Breakage') This location appears in a montage of meth sales.

Formerly Amadeo's Pizza, February, 2018.

In the episode 'Bug,' Los Pollos Hermanos' address is listed as being in the range 12,000 – 12,100 Coors Rd. SW, 87045 ("Breaking Bad," Season 4, episode 9, 'Bug'). That address corresponds to Amadeo-Pizza-and-Subs' South Valley location. Amadeo's succeeded Pudge Brothers at its Lomas location. It's interesting that "Breaking Bad" continued its association with the restaurant even after a presumed change of ownership and even at another location.

Clark's Pet Emporium, 4914 Lomas NE.

(Season 1, episode 4, 'Cancer Man') Walt eyes Ken Wins' BMW from near here.

Clark's Pet Emporium, 4914 Lomas NE (Season 2, episode 5, 'Breakage'). Combo sells drugs here in a meth-sales montage.

The tarantulas and cockroaches used in "Breaking Bad" live here. See "Breaking Bad" Series Legacy: Finale Party and First Annual Breaking Bad Fest.


The Federal Building (where the DEA is housed) is portrayed by the Simms Building, at 4th and Gold Ave. SW. Here is the lobby of the Simms Building.

Note: Albuquerque's real Federal Building is nearby - the Simms Building is not the real Federal Building! Albuquerque's real Federal Building is located nearby.

(First seen in Season 1, episode 4, 'Cancer Man')

DEA office scenes were filmed on the 9th floor.

Simms Building.

The Federal Building (where the DEA is housed) is portrayed by the Simms Building, at 4th and Gold Ave. SW.

(First seen in Season 1, episode 4, 'Cancer Man')

DEA office scenes were filmed on the 9th floor.

Simms Building.

The Federal Building (where the DEA is housed) is portrayed by the Simms Building, 4th and Gold Ave. SW.

In Seasons 4 and 5 of “Breaking Bad”, DEA office filming was shifted across the street to the New Mexico Bank & Trust Building.

Simms Building.

Badger works off his probation as a sign waver outside the Occidental Life Building (modeled after the Doges Palace in Venice), 3rd and Gold Ave. SW (Season 1, episode 5, 'Gray Matter').

Arroyo Realty (at least that's what the label said on the glass window as Jesse exited the building after his job interview), is located at 3rd St. and Gold Ave. SW, across the street from the Occidental Life Building. Formerly called Halflife Digital, the building now appears empty (Season 1, episode 5, 'Gray Matter').

Alley, Between Central and Gold Ave. SW, Behind 313 Gold Ave. SW.

(Season 1, episode 5, 'Gray Matter') Behind The Library bar, Jesse and Badger smoke a joint.

(Season 2, episode 5, 'Breakage') The junkie chase scene occurred here too.

First Methodist Episcopal Church, 314 Lead Ave. SW.

(Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin'') This church appears in a time lapse shot. The church reappears several times during the TV series, including Walt's race west to To'hajiilee (Season 5b, episode 13, 'To'hajiilee').

First Methodist Episcopal Church, 314 Lead SW.

(Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin'') This church appears in a time lapse shot.

Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico, 616 Central Ave. SW. The Family 1st Clothing Store is portrayed here. In the television series, the address number above the door is flipped to show '919' rather than '616' (Season 1, episode 1, 'Pilot').

Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico. Storefront.

Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico. Detail of tiled glass on storefront.

Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico, 616 Central Ave SW.

Note the Pueblo Deco tin ceiling here, barely shown in "Breaking Bad."

Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico. Tin roof ceiling with its light fixture.

Bernalillo County Courthouse Annex, Corner of 5th and Tijeras Ave. NW (Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin''). Time lapse (part 3 - Sunrise).

The Annex is seen again when Walter is released after being arrested by a highway cop (Season 3, episode 2, 'Caballo sin Nombre'). Also, Jesse is released from here after ricin poisoning theory fails (Season 4, episode 13, 'Face Off').

The Bernalillo County Courthouse Annex is a primary filming location for the television series "Better Call Saul".

A time-lapse view of the sun passing over the Bernalillo County Courthouse Annex (in the foreground) is viewed from the parking garage attached to the Albuquerque Petroleum Bldg., 500 Marquette Avenue NW (Season 1, episode 6, ‘Crazy Handful of Nothin'’). Time lapse (part 3 - Sunrise).

Downtown West and Old Town

Tuco's Headquarters, 906 Park Ave. SW, (Downtown Java Joe's Cafe).

(Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin'') Colorful mural on this building!

Tuco's Headquarters, 906 Park Ave. SW, (Downtown Java Joe's Cafe).

(Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin'') Colorful mural on this building!

Java Joe's.

Inside Downtown Java Joe's.

Java Joe's detail.

Glass Block Window, Java Joe's interior.

Java Joe's, west-side exterior wall with its Glass Block Windows.

Tuco's HQ (February 2020).

Tuco's HQ (February 2020).

The Express Inn, 1020 Central Ave. SW.

(Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin'') Hank and Gomez meet to exchange information here. Also, Jesse sells drugs here.

Liu's Chinese Fast Food Restaurant, 2056 Central Ave. SW.

(Season 1, episode 4, 'Cancer Man') Combo calls Jesse while standing out in front of this restaurant.

Even as late as February, 2014, this was still Liu's. By July 2014, this restaurant is now called Central Grill and Coffee House.)

Garcia's Kitchen (on Central), 1736 Central Ave. SW.

(Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin'')

(Season 2, episode 5, 'Breakage') Appears here too?

(Season 4, episode 4, 'Bullet Points') Shown in a time lapse sequence.

(Season 4, episode 5, 'Shotgun') Jesse picks up Mike here.

Garcia's Cafe neon sign (2018).

Mural at Garcia's Cafe (2018).

Mural at Garcia's Cafe (2018).

Party house (Season 1, Episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin''). Montage - Part 2.

These casitas are behind Garcia's Cafe. They appear to have been remodeled fairly-recently.

It was amusing to confirm that these two small apartments behind Garcia's Restaurant were indeed the ones used in "Breaking Bad". I parked in front of the apartments and watched as the Hispanic folks who appeared to live in the apartments gathered to repair a car. One woman in particular, seemed to be the leader. She emerged from one apartment, and with her piercings and tattoos, she looked pretty intimidating. Together, her, her familia, and all their friends looked pretty formidable.

I approached them and asked if it was OK to photograph these apartments. The lady was gruff, and said: "No. You'll have to ask the owner, at Garcia's Restaurant, for permission." Then I explained I was a tourist from California and how Garcia's Restaurant had been featured on 'Breaking Bad.' They smiled, and said they were already familiar with that. The lady asked what part of California I was from, and I said Sacramento. She explained she had lived in San Jose until recently, so we had northern California in common. I explained further that these two casitas, in addition to Garcia's, were also featured on 'Breaking Bad.' You could tell from her shocked grin that she did not know this, and that it tickled her that she was living in a famous apartment. We started laughing together, and she said: "Look, I'm going to look away, and I don't know nothin'." And so, I got a photo!

The Dog House, 1216 Central Ave. SW.

(Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin'') Montage sequence.

(Season 2, episode 1, '737') Jesse buys a gun.

(Season 5, episode 9, 'Blood Money') Jesse hands a packet of money to a surprised homeless man.

Kim and Jimmy make plans at The Dog House (“Better Call Saul”, Season 2, episode 8, ‘Fifi').

Wash Tub Laundry, 1105 Central Ave. NW.

(Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin'')

Jesse makes meth sales here in the montage.

Wash Tub Laundry.

Wash Tub Laundry.

Huning Castle & ABQ Country Club

Mr. and Mrs. Pinkman's house, Corner of 11th and Roma Ave. NW (501 11th St. NW). This house is known as the Kate Nichols Chaves House.

(Season 1, episode 4, 'Cancer Man') Pinkman House exterior.

(Season 2, episode 2, 'Grilled')

(Season 2, episode 4, 'Down')

People have noted that Walt teaches at J.P. Wynne High School, and that Vince Gilligan attended J.P. Wynne Campus School in Farmville, VA, when he was young. What I didn’t realize is that Jacob Pinkman, Jesse’s little brother, attends L.C. Byrd Magnet School. Lloyd C. Bird High School is a public high school in Chesterfield, Virginia – where Vince Gilligan attended high school.

Jesse Pinkman's house, 16th and Los Alamos SW (322 16th St. SW).

(First seen in Season 1, episode 1, 'Pilot') Jesse returns here in Season 3.

Jesse's house (February 2020).

Tree that Krazy-Eight runs into, at Silver Ave. and 16th Streets (Season 1, episode 2, 'Cat's In The Bag...'). There has been recent confusion between the correct tree and a similar-looking tree north of Jesse’s house.

"Breaking Bad" leaves out a few historical details, like why Jesse's neighborhood is so nice in the first place. It wasn't because of any heavy bureaucratic influence - the Albuquerque Planning Department, for example, did not design the neighborhood. Rather, things look good because of the lasting influence of Franz Huning on the neighborhood's early development.

Castle Huning Plaque in the Laguna Blvd. SW center divider.

Huning was a merchant pioneer of the Old West and he had a will of iron. He was determined not to live in a bad neighborhood, and he pushed aside anything that didn't look like it fit. Huning's absence is keenly felt these days. In Huning's day, Jesse Pinkman would have been drummed out of the neighborhood in minutes!

Jesse Pinkman's house, 16th and Los Alamos SW (322 16th St. SW).

(First seen in Season 1, episode 1, 'Pilot') Jesse returns here in Season 3.

Jesse Pinkman's house, 16th and Los Alamos SW (322 16th St. SW).

(First seen in Season 1, episode 1, 'Pilot') Jesse returns here in Season 3.

Jesse's place.

Gentle arch above door across the street from Jesse's place.

House behind Jesse's house, 314 16th St. SW (Season 1, episode 3, 'Bag's In The River'). I'm thinking this house may have symbolic Christian significance, with an octagonal cupola, and windows (since remodeled) resembling Byzantine crosses. It was shown immediately after Krazy-8's murder.

This house was also where the murder occurred in the 1971 movie, "The Man With Icy Eyes."

According to Vince Gilligan (in commentary on "Better Call Saul", Season 3, episode 5, 'Chicanery'), the name for the episodes 'The Cat's in the Bag' and 'The Bag's in the River' come from the 1957 movie 'Sweet Smell of Success".

Link to video.

Walt & Skyler nervously travel to Elliott’s birthday party on Laguna Blvd. SW, heading southwest, from about Chacoma to about San Carlos Dr. SW (Season 1, episode 5, 'Gray Matter'). Gift-wrapped ramen.

Laguna Blvd. SW, as seen from Chacoma Pl. SW.


(no new locations offered in this update).

Huning Highlands/ Martineztown

(no new locations offered in this update).

University Area & Near Presbyterian Hospital

Yellow Houses, 210 Mulberry St. NE (Season 1, episode 3, 'Bag's In The River').

Hank arrests druggies and talks to Marie. The house in the foreground has been demolished and removed since the "Breaking Bad" episode was filmed.

Driving around on the wrong side of Central Avenue in October, 2011, in an attempt to find these yellow houses, I caught the attention of Presbyterian Hospital Security. They started following me in their dark vehicle. "Why are they following me?" I wondered. Then I turned the corner and saw that the folks at Presbyterian Hospital were loading more than twenty bright red-orange barrels into a transport truck. Even the folks at the Superlab couldn't manage more than one barrel at a time! What do they do over there at Presbyterian Hospital anyway?

Crossroads Motel, 1001 Central Ave. NE, Central Ave. and I-25.

This place makes me laugh! It's across the street from Presbyterian Hospital, where I was born.

Hank warns Walter Jr. about pot (Season 1, episode 3, 'Bag's In The River').

Jesse gets arrested here (Season 2, episode 3, 'Bit By A Dead Bee'). The Associations' song "Windy" (Season 3, episode 12, 'Half Measures').

(07/24/11) Recently, I viewed the Season 3 DVD commentary (for Season 3, episode 12, featuring 'Wendy') where some of writers excitedly said that the Crossroads Motel was a real Meth Motel, and noted that they had observed a prostitute in the parking lot there. PLEASE! The Crossroads Motel deserves better! Prostitution has been a sporadic problem on Central Avenue for decades, and sometimes occurs here, as it has occurred up and down Central, and at probably every single motel in the United States, at one time or another. Plus, prostitution does not imply drug troubles! The causality is not established! When I look at the Crossroads Motel, I don't see a Meth Motel. I see a place that caters heavily to people whose relatives are in medical trouble (it's located directly across from Presbyterian Hospital). So please! It's not a bad place. By all means, patronize it when making your "Breaking Bad" trip to Albuquerque. It'll give your acquaintances a thrill to see just how daring you are! You "Broke Bad" (yet risked almost nothing)!

(11/19/17) A very important architectural feature at the Crossroads Motel, which was likely pivotal for its choice as a filming location, is the presence of broad, gentle arches above the office door and window. Gentle arches, wherever they are found, appear associated with a woman in her sphere of authority.

Crossroads Motel.

Crossroads Motel Office exterior, with its two gentle arches.

"Wendy's Alley" is located behind Crossroads Motel, 1001 Central Ave. NE, (Season 3, episode 12, 'Half Measures').

Tri-H Convenience Store, 225 Yale Blvd. SE.

Marie and Skyler pass out 'Walt's missing' pamphlets here (Season 1, episode 5, 'Gray Matter').

Flynn gets caught trying to buy beer (Season 2, episode 4, 'Down').

Walt and Jesse rendezvous; Jesse’s bike is stolen; Skyler smokes (Season 2, episode 5, 'Breakage').

Tri-H Convenience Store.

Nob Hill

Skyler fumes over the stolen tiara as Marie shops for trendy clothes at Revolver Vintage Clothing, 3507 Central Ave. NE (Season 1, episode 7, 'No Rough Stuff Type Deal'). Revolver Vintage Clothing closed this store in 2013, but they still have a presence online.

The former Revolver Vintage Clothing, 3507 Central Ave. NE, in June, 2016.

Nob Hill Shopping center on Central Avenue, as seen on a very rainy night.

Nob Hill Business Center.

Gertrude Zachary Jewelry, 3300 Central Ave. SE, (Season 1, episode 7, 'No Rough Stuff Type Deal'). Marie shoplifts the baby tiara here.

Gertrude Zachary Jewelry.


Kelly's Brew Pub, 3222 Central Ave. SE, (Season 1, episode 7, 'No Rough Stuff Type Deal'). Skyler stands on the corner outside Gertrude Zachary's, with Kelly's sign in the background.

Kelly's Brew Pub.

Kelly's Brew Pub.

Kelly's Brew Pub.

Kelly's Brew Pub.

Kelly's Brew Pub.

South Valley (West of River), Southwest Albuquerque and Pajarito Mesa

Mesa Credit Union, South Valley Economic Development Center, 318 Isleta Blvd. SW. (Season 1, episode 4, 'Cancer Man') Ken Wins takes Walt's parking space.

Mesa Credit Union, South Valley Economic Development Center, 318 Isleta Blvd. SW. (Season 1, episode 4, 'Cancer Man') Ken Wins takes Walt's parking space.

Left: Mural at the South Valley Economic Development Center, 318 Isleta Blvd. SW.

San Jose Neighborhood and South Valley (East of River)

Junkyard, All Mini Trucks, 5500 Broadway Blvd. SE. Heisenberg and Jesse rendezvous with Tuco and colleagues here. (Season 1, episode 7, 'No Rough Stuff') (Season 2, episode 1, '737')

Jesse: A junkyard? Let me guess, you picked this place? Walter: What's wrong with it? It's private. Jesse: This is...This is like a...a non-criminal's idea of a drug meet. This is like, "Oh, I saw this in a movie. Ooh, look at me." Walter: Yeah, where do you transact business? Enlighten me. Jesse: I don't know. How about Taco Cabeza? Half the deals I've ever done went down at Taco Cabeza. Nice and public. Open 24 hours. Nobody ever gets shot at Taco Cabeza. Hell, why not the mall? You know, wait at the Gap. "Hey! It's time for the meet!" You know, I'll put down the flat-front khakis, head on over, grab an Orange Julius. Skip the part where psycho lunatic Tuco, you know, comes and steals my drugs and leaves me bleeding to death.

On my New Year's 2012 visit, I noticed that All Mini Trucks has disappeared. An empty field is now at this site. On my August 2016 visit, I noticed new activity at the site.

Sunwest Truck and Auto Salvage, currently at the site of the former All Mini Trucks, 5500 Broadway Blvd. SE (February 15, 2017).

Sunwest Truck and Auto Salvage, currently at the site of the former All Mini Trucks, 5500 Broadway Blvd. SE (February 15, 2017).

Hardware Store, RAKS Building Supply, 205 Rio Bravo Blvd. SW (Season 1, episode 2, 'The Cat's In The Bag'). Jesse checks out the plastic tubs on the store's shelves.

The store personnel here marveled at how the "Breaking Bad" crew virtually-remodeled the entire store, changing the decor and the hardware being offered for sale, all for improving the visual impact of the scene. Guarded industrial facility, Southside Water Reclamation Plant (SWRP), Cogeneration Facility, west side of building, 4021 Second St. SW (Season 1, episode 7, 'No Rough Stuff Type Deal'). Walt & Jesse steal a methylamine barrel from Southwestern Aniline. Hank reviews security camera footage again (Season 2, episode 1, '737'; and also Season 2, episode 3, 'Bit By A Dead Bee'). This location, together with the Railyards, has been used in other movie and television shows (for example, that barrel storage building, and the 2nd St. Sewage Facility were also featured in Jackie Chan's "The Spy Next Door" (2010).

Southeast Heights

(no new locations offered in this update).

Near "Q" Studios

Left: I-25 Overpass, Bobby Foster Rd. & I-25. (Season 1, episode 3, 'The Bag's In The River') Walt reflects here after killing Krazy Eight.

Left: I-25 Overpass, Bobby Foster Rd. & I-25. (Season 1, episode 3, 'The Bag's In The River') Walt reflects here after killing Krazy Eight.

Krazy-8 Bridge on Bobby Foster Rd. - aerial view.

Road scene, University Blvd. SE (Season 1, episode 4, 'Cancer Man'). Paranoid Walt thinks he's being pursued. Walt's heading southbound, towards "Q" Studios, but he looks back to the north, from where the police car is coming. (35.014162ø, -106.634510ø)

Fanciful rattlesnake sculptures can be found in the median of University Blvd. near this location (but not shown on television as of yet).

Desert locations with the Manzano Mountains backdrop. Plains south of Q Studios. Numerous, scattered locations (example - Season 1, episode 5, 'Gray Matter'). Most desert locations, like cook sites, are on that portion of the East Mesa south of Q Studios).

Albuquerque Pugilists

Since the mid-1990's, Bobby Foster Road bears the name of Albuquerque's greatest boxer, Bobby Foster:
In November of ’70, a 188-pound Bob Foster stepped into the ring with a 209-pound Joe Frazier at the Cobo Arena in Detroit, MI. Foster was a 5-1 underdog against the undefeated Heavyweight Champion, who was 26-0 at the time. In the 1st, Foster bombarded Frazier with hooks and straight rights. In the second, Frazier took over—one hook toppled Foster for the nine-count. A second hook dropped him again where he was counted out at :49. “My toughest fight was Smokin’ Joe Frazier. It only lasted two round, but those two rounds seemed like a year with that sucker comin’ at you. He was the closest you could come to facing death. Why’d I take it? Shit, the money!"

And there have been others. Johnny Tapia:

And now, Holly Holm:

And they train at a variety of local gyms:

Fighters In Training/No Holds Barred Fighting Gym, 110 Lomas Blvd. NE. Love the look of this place!

Bad Boy Boxing, on Bridge Blvd. SW. This is one of my favorite-looking Albuquerque businesses!

Warrior Boxing Cutting Edge Youth Empowerment, 1201 San Mateo Blvd. SE. One of the entries in Group C, 48-hour Film Project - Albuquerque, and screened at the Kimo Theater on Friday evening, July 31, 2015, focused on a woman training at this facility. I was so surprised the building showed up in the Film Screening, after I had randomly seen it the day before, I voted for the film entry as among the Top 3 entries, even though there was another entry that was probably slightly-better quality.

"Q" Studios

Left: Albuquerque Studios (aka "Q" Studios) is the home for "Breaking Bad". Many scenes are shot within, or just outside, the studio.

Oncology Clinic (1), (Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin''). Walt returns to this location in Season 5b (Season 5, episode 9, 'Blood Money'). The wall visible through the doors appears to be the fence surrounding Albuquerque's "Q" Studios.

I-25 Corridor, North

Long shot of the Big-I, Intersection of I-40 & I-25 (Season 1, episode 1, 'Pilot'). Walt's ambulance trip passes through the Big-I. The Big-I is also seen in a time lapse sequence (Season 5a, episode 1, 'Live Free Or Die').

The Big-I, as seen from the Spearmint Rhino Gentleman's Club, on University Blvd.

The Big-I.

The Big-I.

The Big-I.

The Big-I.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Park is a "Breaking Bad" filming location (Season 1, episode 3, 'Bag's In The River').

According to reader 'OldeSaultie' the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum is the location of both the shoe store where Marie shoplifts a pair of shoes, and the location of the 'Human Body Classroom', where Walt and Gretchen discuss the composition of the human body.

Pugash Hall (seen here from the east) is the location of both the shoe store where Marie shoplifts a pair of shoes, and the location of the 'Human Body Classroom', where Walt and Gretchen discuss the composition of the human body.

Human Body Classroom (Pugash Hall).

Human Body Classroom (Pugash Hall).

Human Body Classroom (Pugash Hall).

Nighttime freeway view (1), Odelia Rd. NE and I-25 (Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin''). Time lapse (part 4). North side of overpass, looking north.

Nighttime freeway view (2), Odelia Rd. NE and I-25 (Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin''). Time lapse (part 4). This view is on the south side of the overpass, looking east (Breaking Bad featured a similar view, but on the north side of the overpass, looking east.

I-25 Studios, 9201 Pan American Fwy NE. Vince Gilligan said something interesting in "Better Call Saul" Season 2 DVD commentary. In the Breaking Bad Pilot episode ("Breaking Bad", Season 1, episode 1, 'Pilot') Vince Gilligan said some scenes in the Walter White home (such as the hand job scene) were filmed in a warehouse somewhere near the HHM Office - walking distance is what I recall him saying.

This is the first time I've heard this story. Nothing nearby seems to match - at least, not anymore - but I'm wondering, was he referring to I-25 Studios, which is along the freeway 1.5 miles north of the Hamlin offices? He says that if you listen carefully to the scene, you can hear the sounds of distressed birds trapped elsewhere in the warehouse.

North Valley

Birthday Party, 5001 Rio Grande Lane NW, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM (Season 1, episode 5, 'Gray Matter'). The Whites attend a birthday party for Walt's old colleague, Elliott Schwartz. Please note this is NOT the same place as Elliott and Gretchen's new Tesuque home (Season 5b, episode 16, 'Felina': see the Season 5b post).

Birthday Party, 5001 Rio Grande Lane NW, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM (Season 1, episode 5, 'Gray Matter'). The Whites attend a birthday party for Walt's old colleague, Elliott Schwartz.

The gentle arches at Elliott and Gretchen’s house (“Breaking Bad,” Season 1, episode 5, ‘Gray Matter.’)

(Photo by Adam Ramirez.)

The gentle arches at Elliott and Gretchen’s house (“Breaking Bad,” Season 1, episode 5, ‘Gray Matter.’)

(Photo by Adam Ramirez.)

Railroad view (looking north), near Griegos Rd RR Crossing (35.129232°, -106.635109°) Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin''). Part of montage sequence.

Northwest Albuquerque

Cancer Support Group (Season 1, episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin''). This is the CNM Westside Campus, also (and confusingly) known as the CNM Main Campus, at 10549 Universe Blvd. NW. Also, J.P. Wynne High School (2), Mr. Archuleta gets arrested (Season 1, Episode 6, 'Crazy Handful of Nothin'').

The Cancer Support Group scene with Walt, Skyler, and Flynn appears to have been filmed in this foyer, in the central part of the building on the east side of the campus.

Rio Rancho

Jesse & Emilio's Sage House, 3416 Lockerbie Drive, Rio Rancho, NM (Season 1, episode 1, 'Pilot'). The 'sage' house is a one-story bldg near end of the block. Following the lead provided by JC in Rio Rancho, who lives on Lockerbie Drive and left a message in blogpost comments, I came to this location near the Golf Course to see what's up here.

The house with Jesse's female companion. It's hard to tell exact locations in this neighborhood, where Emilio and Jesse had their drug lab, because AMREP, Rio Rancho's ticky-tack developer, loves to use interchangeable floor plans everywhere they build! There is at least one other house on this street that looks exactly like this house does, and maybe many more look identical to it in the immediate neighborhood.

Since 2007, when the pilot for "Breaking Bad" was filmed, the trees along this street have grown considerably. The street no longer has that "raw" look it did on TV.

J.P. Wynne High School (1) was originally filmed at Rio Rancho High School (see 'The High Schools of Breaking Bad', above).

Mesa Credit Union, Loma Colorado Library, 755 Loma Colorado Dr. NE, Rio Rancho. (Season 1, episode 1, 'Pilot') Walt withdraws his cash and gives it to Jesse, in order to buy an RV. (Season 3, episode 5, 'Mas') A reprise.

Rio Rancho High School, and neighboring buildings such as the library, aquatic center, and skating rink, didn't exist when I lived in New Mexico (I left in 1980).

When I attended West Mesa High School, in the early 1970's, I loved leaving my Corrales home to take long hikes into Rio Rancho's backcountry. Loma Colorado is about the farthest I felt comfortable hiking in one day. I loved Loma Colorado; the large, red hill! Archaeologists have found campsites in Rio Rancho, suggesting that Ice Age hunters with Folsom points used the area as a hunting ground.

Even though the Rio Grande now runs several miles to the east, the river used to wander out here. The exact timing is unclear. The best reference I have on the subject (Kelley, 1969) suggests several hundred thousand years ago: let’s say 300,000 years. Loma Colorado is apparently a cliff where the Rio Grande used to form an oxbow, similar to what it has done in recent years in the vicinity of St. Pius High School (formerly St. Joseph's College, aka University of Albuquerque). The ancient, red Rio Grande river mud is frozen into rock on the hillside there, and looks absolutely identical to modern mud in the Rio Grande. It's a thought-provoking place!

Much has changed in the area over the last four decades. Seeing how rapidly Rio Rancho is growing, I feared for the future of Loma Colorado, and worried whether the off-road vehicle people would destroy the place. Indeed, as you can see in the background of the scene, they've certainly damaged the hill, but with these new structures in place, and with more fences and less off-roading, maybe some of the damage will heal.

It never occurred to me back in high school that the area would ever feature a school! And it never occurred to me that it would be dramatized as the place where Walter White, a desperate chemistry teacher diagnosed with lung cancer, would take his life savings and hand them to Jesse Pinkman, a small-time drug dealer, to initiate a new, bold venture!

Adam Ramirez and William Dickey had the great good fortune to tour Rio Rancho High School!

Recently in rewatching the classroom scenes, I was surprised to see a bit of quantum physics on a poster (E = hc/v), which strikes me as too advanced for high school chemistry (but which Mr. White tried to force down the students' throats anyway).

Library at Loma Colorado, 755 Loma Colorado Dr. NE, Rio Rancho.

Library at Loma Colorado, 755 Loma Colorado Dr. NE, Rio Rancho.

Loma Colorado.

Driveway outside Oncology clinic, (Season 1, episode 4, 'Cancer Man'). Presbyterian Primary Care Clinic, 4005 High Resort Blvd., Rio Rancho, NM, (35.250746ø, -106.656049ø) Interesting pillars and building! The four-wing saltbush adjacent to the building seemed unusually-healthy (probably due to focused drainage. I even saw a jackrabbit here!


(no new locations offered with this update)

West Mesa Locations (except Pajarito Mesa)

Hank's TV Interview (Season 1, episode 1, 'Pilot'). Meth Lab Seizure. Likely near 2708 Vista Grande Dr. NW (at Westcliffe), with the Meth Lab seizure at approximately 4958 Paseo del Rey NW (where it intersects with Vista Grande).

This isn't quite the view, but it's close. (I wanted to photograph from the rear wall of the Paseo del Rey residence, but the owner appeared to be in the back yard at the time I visited.)

Back in the 70's, when my friends and I were attending nearby West Mesa High School, and sometimes passed through this neighborhood, my friend Walt often made a point of stopping at the nearby intersection of Vista Grande NW, and Grande Vista NW. The dyslexic coincidence of street names seemed too perfect: as if maybe a wormhole to another dimension were to be found here. And perhaps he was right; this place, after all, is where Hank Schrader makes his first appearance in the TV series!

Krazy Eight's Place (Season 1, episode 1, 'Pilot'). 4900 El Aguila Place NW.

This neighborhood has some of the best views in Albuquerque, but because the views didn't figure into the story, they weren't seen in "Breaking Bad".

High above the river!

Krazy Eight's Place, as seen from the bike trail on the east side of the river.

Sandia And Manzano Mountains

Sandia Crest, Shot near Tramway's top (Season 1, episode 7, 'No Rough Stuff Type Deal'). Time lapse shot near tramway's top, (35.196356ø, -106.434221ø).


See To'hajiilee Locations, at top of post.

The area used in the opening scenes of "Breaking Bad" is about 1.4 miles west of To'hajiilee Community School. On Google Earth, the road is labelled Trail 7039. The turnoff is unmarked, however, so caution is required to avoid getting mixed up. When you turn onto Trail 7039, you are immediately confronted with choosing three, diverging, unmarked roads. The road to the left leads to private residences. The road in the middle leads to the hilltop church. You want the road to the right.

Locations Near Zia, San Ysidro, and Cabezon

(no new locations offered in this update)

Santa Ana Pueblo & Algodones

(no new locations offered in this update)

Bernalillo and Placitas

(no new locations offered in this update)

Santa Fe and Lamy

(no new locations offered in this update)

Near Los Lunas And Belen

(no new locations offered in this update)

More Distant Locations

(no new locations offered in this update)

The Haunting Impact Of Meth

James McMurtry "Choctaw Bingo"

Life in Meth-klahoma. New Mexico has been hit by the scourge of methamphetamine addiction, but it is not the worst-hit place in the United States (Indiana may be). The Greater Ozarks area has been hit hard too, as James McMurtry's song illustrates. Here's a wonderful article in the New York Times:
Walter may have wanted us to believe — and may, at moments, have convinced himself — that he was a decent man driven by desperate circumstances to do terrible things, but that notion was either wishful thinking or tactical deceit. ... “Breaking Bad” reveals itself as the story of a man mastering his vocation and fighting to claim his rightful place in the world. Its dark, morally scandalous vision has been imposed on the kind of tale that is, more conventionally, an inspiring parable of entrepreneurial gumption. This formula turns out to be well suited to the times.
This fellow suggests the song should be our new national anthem:
Here's where this song is so amazingly prophetic. Looking at it now, through the lens of the crash, you can see how it envisions the American economy as nothing more than an elaborate Choctaw bingo enterprise, with lots of flashing lights to lure in the unwary and the unlucky, a system that, for all its fancy formulas and talk of risk assignment, is nothing more than a sucker's game. And later in the song, McMurtry explicitly names the scam at the heart of it: subprime mortgages.


  1. Anonymous7:12 AM

    thanks for all this leg work on the locations we will have fun checking some of them out-does Hank and Marie's house have an address?

  2. Yes, it's 4901 Cumbre Del Sur NE. The reason it's not on this page is because it first shows up in Season 2.

  3. Anonymous4:35 PM

    Wow, this is so cool. You're awesome!

  4. Anonymous11:50 PM


  5. Anonymous3:31 AM

    I'm looking for floor plans of Jesse Pinkman's house.

    1. I've never seen such a floor plan, but if I hear of one, I'll reply here.

    2. Anonymous7:58 PM

      I love Jesse's house.

  6. Location of the set matters in shooting a great scene. A Residential Filming Locations can be one of a great location if they can be used properly.

  7. Thanks so much for all this info! It was really helpful. We visited a few locations to do some sceneframing - you'll see what that means if you visit our blog :) I've added thanks & a link to your blog:

    1. AWESOME! Glad to have been of help!

  8. I just watched the entire Breaking Bad series for the 5th or 6th time (sigh). It's great to revisit your blog! Thanks.

  9. Such a good TV series! May "Better Call Saul" be just as good!