Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Breaking Bad" Filming Locations - Season 4

This post is the fifth of eight posts regarding "Breaking Bad" filming locations and focuses on Season 4 filming locations (last updated March 15, 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: valdezmarc56@gmail.com).


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.”


La Hacienda de Placitas

"Mexican Shootout", by Rich Kelly.

Hacienda de Placitas

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, I was in Bernalillo with my relatives. While they were diverted for a few minutes by a gifts-and-antiques shop at the Range Cafe, I dashed out to check out La Hacienda de Placitas. At the last minute, my nephew Aaron joined me.

Our timing was fortunate. Even though co-owner Laura Bass was leaving on an errand, her husband, Steve Bass, was available, and consented to give us a tour of their Bed-and-Breakfast establishment.

My nephew Aaron, in the parking lot of La Hacienda de Placitas.

Steve Bass of La Hacienda de Placitas shows off a couple of "bullet holes" (on the panel, up above) left by the AMC crew.

The swimming pool at La Hacienda de Placitas.

The swimming pool at La Hacienda de Placitas.

The filming occurred in May, 2011, and it was a bit chilly when they did so.

If you look carefully at the views of the distant WNW horizon, you can see Cabezon Peak, that spooky-looking Devil's-Tower-like mountain (featured in Season 3, episode 1, 'No Mas' - see Part 3 - Season 3 for details)!

The swimming pool at La Hacienda de Placitas.

An area where larger-than-life actor Steve Bauer liked to hold court at La Hacienda de Placitas.

The juniper/piñon studded hillside behind La Hacienda de Placitas.

Doorway at La Hacienda de Placitas.

Inside La Hacienda de Placitas.

My nephew Aaron, on the hunt for las chicas, who were last seen heading this way.

Inside La Hacienda de Placitas.

Bathroom area at La Hacienda de Placitas. The AMC crew placed an insert in the doorway here, and a prop toilet here as well, for Gus's use (this particular room is a room for baths only, and features no toilet).

(If I might be so bold) Steve and Laura Bass are willing to entertain offers on their gorgeous establishment (several million dollar range).

[UPDATE: October 14, 2013.] Apparently two years later, La Hacienda de Placitas STILL hasn't sold! I got this update from Stephen Bass:
Hey there Mark Valdez:

Long time no see. Yes, the final curtain has come down on Breaking Bad. But the Hacienda is still for sale. I am hoping that your blog reaches out to many interested parties. If you will put it out there that the first 1.5 mil gets to own Don Eladio's estate, I will gladly pay you a commission on the sale. Any interest? There is a keen interest in owning Breaking Bad property here in New Mexico and perhaps there is someone you know that may want a piece of history. Not to mention a beautiful property in Placitas, New Mexico. Let me know your thoughts. thank you and have a great holiday.
Can we do this? It is entirely proper and appropriate for this property to fall to a fan of "Breaking Bad". What will it take? Come on, folks, let's get started!

Danger Mouse & Norah Jones "Black"

A musical ode to Breaking Bad's Season Four, and Bryan Cranston's Walter White.

We touched the walls of the city streets and
Dead ends plain, sadly showed us our ways
Of never asking why

Cast down it was heaven sent and
To the church, no intent to repent on my knees
Just to cry

Until you travel to that place you can't come back
Where the last pain is gone and all that's left is black

Grey nights he's coming to me and
Some day they'll punish my deeds and they'll find
All the crimes

But then they ask when they gonna see them
Then they gonna ask to feel the ghosts, the walls, the dreams
Well I've got mine

At last those coming came and they never looked back
With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black

Fooled them hoping to seem
Like a slave of evil but the product of greed and
It's not a mass so be honest with me
We can't afford to ignore that I'm the disease

Practical since we had to be and
When they were old they came back to me and they tried
Oh they tried

And when you follow through and wind up on your back
Looking up at those stars in the sky, those white clouds have turned it black


I was very excited by the return to Don Eladio's Mexican Hacienda in episode 10 - 'Salud'! I also got excited by Gus' gift of a special kind of Añejo Tequila to Don Eladio.

Visiting Puerto Vallarta on Mexico's west coast late in 2010, I took a field trip to the old Doña Engracia Tequila Distillery, NE of Ixtapa, NE of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. In order to catalyze tequila sales, the tour guides presented us with an instructional class; a class that might have been called "Tequila for Idiots" (but out of politeness, probably described as such only in Spanish).

Tequila manufacture is surprisingly complicated. Here, our tour guide Victor explained the differences between Silver, Reposada and Añejo Tequilas. This nomenclature was simplified for novice students like ourselves (it's hard keeping track of more than three things at a time, particularly when tasting and preparing to purchase tequilas).

Doña Engracia Tequilas, like many tequilas from family-owned distilleries, are made from 100% agave, unlike the popular tequila mixes that are more-commonly on sale in the United States (like Patrón).

Blue Agave

The first step in tequila manufacture is removing the Blue Agave's starchy roots (piñas), from which tequila will eventually be distilled.

Wikipedia has more details regarding tequila:
Tequila is usually bottled in one of five categories:

Blanco ("white") or plata ("silver"): white spirit, un-aged and bottled or stored immediately after distillation, or aged less than two months in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels;

Joven ("young") or oro ("gold"): a mixture of blanco tequila and reposado tequila (Ex. José Cuervo Oro).

Reposado ("rested"): aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels of any size;

Añejo ("aged" or "vintage"): aged a minimum of one year, but less than three years in small oak barrels;

Extra Añejo ("extra aged" or "ultra aged"): aged a minimum of three years in oak barrels. This category was established in March 2006.

This particular kind of Breaking Bad 'Zafiro Añejo' (translated as 'Aged Sapphire') is not discussed by Wikipedia, but I must get some for my personal collection ASAP! You never know when guests might show up unexpectedly!

As an aside, I think that Don Eladio may have an interesting name. Eladio’s root is Helas, meaning, “The Greek”.

But “Eladio” is also very close to the Spanish word “Helado”, meaning frozen, or icy. A very appropriate name for a dealer in crystal meth! Which makes me think it’s a nom de guerre, and likely not his real name at all (and what is the real name of a fictional character, after all?)

Meanwhile, TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz loved the episode:
Hell, let's just say it: Gustavo "Gus" Fring is one of the greatest characters in the history of TV crime dramas, as great as Tony Soprano, Vic Mackey, Al Swearengen and Mags Bennett ("Justified"). And yes, he's the equal of Walter White -- as psychologically rich and in some ways more fascinating, because he's so more closed off and mysterious. Walt is emotionally transparent to us even when he's hiding things from other characters. But Gus remains a question mark even though he seems to know himself better than anyone else on "Breaking Bad," with the possible exception of Mike. Even if he'd been played by some other actor he would have been fascinating. But Giancarlo Esposito, with his haunted eyes and droopy-faced, Chuck Jones reactions, gives Gus an almost Shakespearean richness. I could picture this character sitting across a table from Macbeth or Shylock and having plenty to talk about.

Ana Tijoux's "1977"

Excellent, excellent musical choice by the folks at "Breaking Bad" for their show! And to use the burned-out abandoned gas station on Nine Mile Hill too. Amazing!

Spanish and translated English lyrics to Ana Tijoux's "1977".

The Rail Yards were featured as Dead Drop #2 on Mike and Jesse's meandering drive (Season 4, episode 5, 'Shotgun').

Ana Tijoux's "1977" underscores the scene.

"Major Tom"

One of the most haunting moments in the entire "Breaking Bad" television series came with the unveiling of Gale's "Major Tom" karaoke video. There is something sad and very touching about the idea that Gale didn't actually perish, but that he, like Major Tom, is simply lost, and that he lives still, somewhere, far away, out in space.

Like the Bible says, "for dust you are, and to dust shall you return."

Walter White, Alien

From Breaking Bad Friends.

From a 2011 review in Salon by Matt Zoller Seitz:
"Breaking Bad" is, in its heart, the story of the supposedly respectable, white, upper-middle class becoming the Other. I don't think it's an accident that those quasi-mythic drawings of Walt in the guise of his porkpie-hatted alter ego, Heisenberg, resemble old Project Bluebook sketches of extraterrestrial visitors. Walt is becoming as much an alien -- an undesirable Other -- as the illegals who have periodically sneaked across the border throughout the show's run. The series is set in a state adjacent to Mexico, a country that American politicians habitually invoke as an example of what the U.S. should all be terrified of becoming -- a place where wages are pathetically small, decent citizens toil like slaves to pay for basic amenities, the police are openly corrupt, and rapacious criminal profiteers are unofficial partners in government.

There's no use dreading the de-evolution anymore; it's already happening. Where do the Whites live? In New Mexico. As Jesse would say, welcome to reality, bitches.

Which reminds me of the only time I ever reported a UFO sighting.


New Season 4 Filming Locations 

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

Gale's Apartment. Exterior scenes were likely filmed at Mesa Verde Apartments, 4610 Eubank Blvd. NE (Season 4, episode 1, 'Boxcutter'). This view is in the southern parking lot at the apartment complex. (Apartment interior possibly filmed on set?)

Gale's apartment was said to be located at 6353 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE, #6, (Season 3, episode 13, 'Full Measure'). Nevertheless, Juan Tabo Blvd. extends northwards no further than about the 6200 block. '6353' Juan Tabo Blvd. NE works out to a park located beyond the end of the street.

Gale's Apartment. Exterior is Mesa Verde Apartments, 4610 Eubank Blvd. NE, NNE corner of complex, looking west (Season 4, episode 1, 'Boxcutter').

(35.133690ø, -106.531260ø)

The big tree on the right is barely-visible on TV.

Exterior of Gale's Apartment.

Thoughts on the use of addresses in "Breaking Bad"

Addresses and house numbers are used in interesting ways on "Breaking Bad". When presenting a new location, about 60% of the time, “Breaking Bad” presents no address. About 20% of the time, however, “Breaking Bad” presents an exact address. The remaining 20% of the time, “Breaking Bad” falsifies the address, or presents a small distracting factor, like specifying an incorrect neighborhood. The decision regarding what path to follow is no doubt complex. Some property owners are eager to associate themselves with the TV series, while others are very reluctant to do so.

In the last episode of Season 3 ('Full Measure'), the writers got a bit whimsical. Gale's Apartment’s address was given as 6353 Juan Tabo Blvd., #6. That address corresponds to a park - Juan Tabo Blvd. terminates in the 6200 block. So, why did the writers take the trouble to state that address so clearly?

My thought is that the address suggests a fairly-upscale neighborhood and triggers a subconscious switch in the minds of Albuquerque residents. Along with an elevation gradient as one heads northeast from downtown towards the Sandia Mountains, there is also a class gradient.

Gale had a chemical engineering degree from Colorado State University. Although college degrees no longer have the same income-drawing power they did thirty years ago, Gus Fring made sure Gale was paid unusually-well for his skills. Gus was an increasing rarity in America - a good employer loyal to his subordinates! Thus, Gale could afford the rent at the newer, pricier digs at the north end of Juan Tabo.

You, on the other hand, with your medical coding certificate from CNM and your burden of debt, will simply have to live elsewhere. Just a wry comment on the state of employer/employee relations at the start of the century's second decade.

Parking lot & alley directly behind Saul's office (Season 4, episode 1, 'Boxcutter'). Barrel with Victor in it is trucked away from this location.

Parking circle, 3815 Westerfeld Dr. NE (approximate address). Skyler parks Walt's car here to deflect attention (Season 4, episode 1, 'Boxcutter').

"OldeSaultie" caught this one! It looks like Google is having trouble resolving the address (probably due to the N-S, E-W jog in the road, so Google Earth might call it '9683' rather than '3815' Westerfeld Dr. NE.

Scenes in the vicinity of the car wash were important in Season 4. Here's a view of the wastewater dumping area as seen from the other side of the fence (Season 4, episode 3, 'Open House').

Here's a view of the wastewater dumping area as seen from the other side of the fence (Season 4, episode 3, 'Open House').

Here's a view of the wastewater dumping area as seen from the other side of the fence (Season 4, episode 3, 'Open House').

Car Wash Parking Lot (35.107483°, -106.535284°: Season 4, episode 3, 'Open House'. Skyler instructs Patrick Kuby, Saul's tool (in reality, comedian Bill Burr), to intimidate Bogdan with a bogus water pollution citation threat.

Car Wash Parking Lot (35.107483°, -106.535284°: Season 4, episode 3, 'Open House'. Skyler instructs Patrick Kuby, Saul's tool (comedian Bill Burr), to intimidate Bogdan with a bogus water pollution citation threat.

Skyler observes the car wash (35.108760°, -106.534923°). Skyler learns the business by watching, and taking notes (Season 4, episode 2, 'Thirty-Eight Snub').

The PC Place is visible in the back of the wastewater dumping scene. At first I thought the camera view should be obscured by the presence of Allstate Insurance, but that is not the case.

Comedian Bill Burr on his "Breaking Bad" role:
Yeah man, I am a huge fan. I watched all the episodes, I’ve never missed one episode, and it was the most surreal thing that I got to do. It’s like, if you were into Star Wars, and they made another Star Wars, and you got to play like Boba Fett or a Stormtrooper, that’s how I felt when I was down there. Without a doubt it was like the coolest thing I got to do. All of the sudden, I was somehow inserted into the storylines of these characters. I knew that obviously they weren’t real, that it’s a TV show, but you know when you get so emotionally invested? It’s like if you booked a scene, like you’re watching the Sopranos and you’re following the story and all of the sudden you are in it and you’re standing next to Paulie and you got a scene with him, and you’re just like, how the fuck did this happen?

The IRS Tax Offices (Season 4, episode 9, 'Bug') appear to be housed in a building at about 8500 Menaul Blvd. NE (Menaul Blvd. & Lester Dr. NE).

This building also houses, among other offices, Webster University's metropolitan Albuquerque offices. (Webster's Albuquerque Web Site seems so minimal. I wonder what kind of campus this could be?)

Last of the three houses Marie visits on her kleptomaniac journey (Season 4, episode 3, 'Open House'). 8503 La Sala Grande NE.

This site reappears in Season 5 - it's adjacent to La Palomita Park (with playground) where Mike is forced to abandon granddaughter Kaylee (Season 5, episode 7, 'Say My Name'). The house is visible in the background.

'Robert' writes:
Where Walt and Walt Jr. drive down a main street and Walt recommends taking a detour to get Walt Jr. the muscle car (S4 Episode 6), that street is Comanche Road near Moon. Right before Walt turns off Comanche Road, you can see Madison Middle School to the left side and Loma Del Ray Park to the right side. You can see a traffic light at Moon and Comanche and some of the children crossing/school zone signs in the vicinity of Comanche and Moon.

Walt turns off Comanche onto Erbbe street (forms the west boundary of the park) and the scene stops there. You could turn right on Harwood (north end of the park) to hit Orlando street and follow it right to Walt's house filming location so it was a nice close and convenient stretch of main street to film that short scene.
Yes, you are completely correct Robert! (Season 4, episode 6, 'Cornered'). The scene starts near Altez & Comanche, with the traffic light at Moon, and the right turn on Erbbe. Thanks a million!

Upper Northeast Heights (E. of Juan Tabo)

Walt calls the cops on Tyrus at Trailhead Road NE and Cumbre del Sur Court NE (named as 4900 Doswell Place), with the view facing south.

This place is very, very close to Hank and Marie's house (Season 4, episode 9, 'Bug')!

Police Substation, James Dwyer Memorial Police Substation, 12700 Montgomery Blvd. NE (Season 4, episode 3, 'Open House').

Location where Marie was taken after her arrest.

Interesting sculpture outside the police substation.

Northeast Heights (N. Of Osuna)

(no new locations offered with this update)

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

Gus Fring's House, 1213 Jefferson St. NE (first seen in Season 3, episode 11, 'Abiquiu'). Seen twice in Season 4

(Season 4, episode 2, 'Thirty Eight Snub') - Walt lurks outside.

(Season 4, episode 9, 'Bug') - Gus answers Jesse's questions.

The tracking device Hank uses in 'Bug' tracks Gus between this home, and the ostensible location of Los Pollos Hermanos, which is given as 12,000 - 12,100 Coors Blvd. SW, 87045, which is not the true location of Twisters, but is approximately the address of one of Amadeo's Pizza and Subs restaurants. Amadeo's succeeded Pudge Brothers at their Lomas location, which was used in the 'Breakage' montage in Season 2.

Albuquerque Indoor Karting, 5110 Copper Avenue NE (Season 4, episode 3, 'Open House'). Part of Jesse's PTSD.

Go Karts.

Go Karts.

Mike's Bar, Louie's Pub and Grill, 5603 Menaul Blvd. NE, (Season 4, episode 2, 'Thirty Eight Snub').

Mike gives Walt a piece of his mind.

Louie's Pub, with Tim Oberle and Kelly Tow.


Affordable Car Sales, 4525 Lomas Blvd. NE (Season 4, episode 6, 'Cornered'). Walt dotes on his son by buying him a muscle car!

Affordable Auto Sales.

Beneke House 2, 1401 Harvard Dr. NE (Season 4, episode 11, 'Crawl Space').

The whole idea of Skyler using Saul’s heavies to make crooked Ted pay his taxes, which he wouldn’t do because it felt dishonorable, just made me laugh and laugh! As was the idea that Walt no longer had enough cash on hand to finance a quick exit, in part, because he and his soul mate Skyler barely communicate.


For Walt driving like a maniac, "OldeSaultie" suggests this location. This sounds right. What is it with Walt and his crazy driving? For the crazy drive it looks like they used four blocks (1400 - 1700) of First Street NW.

NM Bank & Trust Building. This building is adjacent to the Simms Building, where the DEA scenes in "Breaking Bad" were filmed in the first three seasons.

During the last scene of the show where Hank lays out his suspicions against Gus Fring to his colleagues (Season 4, episode 7, 'Problem Dog'), the oddness of the view of Alvarado Square from the windows makes me believe the scene was filmed in the NM Bank and Trust Building.

The scene where the DEA interviews Gus has a little clue. Out the window, you can see a portion of the sign for Anodyne Pool Hall & Cocktails, at 409 Central Ave. NW. A taller building must overlook the site.

As "OldeSaultie" notes, this angled room is in the Old Post Office Building, now Amy Biehl Charter High School, 123 4th St. SW. "OldeSaultie" adds:

I recognized [that building] immediately, because "The Lost Room" did some filming here (Pittsburgh Police Station).

Amy Biehl Charter High School.

Amy Biehl Charter High School.

Here is a picture of a curious statue outside Amy Biehl Charter High School, in downtown Albuquerque.

Vincent E. Griego Chambers, Bernalillo County Treasurer's Office (where Albuquerque City Council meetings are held).

Hank watches City Council proceedings on Cable TV (Season 4, episode 3, 'Open House'). Vincent E. Griego Council Chambers, basement level of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center, 1 Civic Plaza NW.

Rooftop, Gizmo Store, 410 Central Ave. SW (Season 4, episode 12, 'End Times'). Walt's mind is heavy with desperation and dread!

In front of the Gizmo store is this dinosaur.

Parking Garage, Copper Avenue between 4th & 5th Streets (Season 4, episode 12, 'End Times').

Parking lot of Esparza, as seen from the top of the parking structure on Copper, between 4th & 5th Streets.

Parking Garage, Copper Avenue between 4th & 5th Streets (Season 4, episode 12, 'End Times'). Gus can sense the danger with his finely-attuned, spider-like survival skills!

The view south.

In this picture, the NM Bank & Trust Building (DEA), the Simms Building (DEA), and the Gizmo Store rooftop (Walt), as seen from Gus's vantage point, are all visible.

View towards Gizmo Store on the 5th Level of the Copper Avenue Parking Garage.

Top level, Copper Avenue Parking Garage.

Top level, Copper Avenue Parking Garage.

View of the NW corner of the top of the parking structure on Copper, between 4th & 5th Streets.

The parking garage in episode 13, 'Face Off' is the same as seen in episode 12 ('End Times'), but on the top level.

It's also important to note the heavy, overcast sky during the final parking garage scene in episode 13, 'Face Off'. On an Internet forum somewhere, I noticed that someone speculated that the overcast was likely smoke from the huge 'Wallow' forest fire, the largest forest fire in Arizona history, in June, 2011. I think this speculation is correct. That's smoke - not clouds - in the sky. Albuquerque was directly downwind of this immense fire, and it forms an ominous backdrop for Walt's victory over Gus Fring.

View looking NE, as seen from the top of the parking structure on Copper, between 4th & 5th Streets.

Hyatt Hotel, as seen from the Copper Avenue Parking Garage.

Artistic efforts have been fostered at this parking garage, not only to provide an outlet for talent, but also to discourage random tagging.

(Van Emery, 6-86)

Van Emery, Copper Avenue Parking Garage.

Gilberto Guzman's "The Harvest" (1984).

Gilberto Guzman's "The Harvest" (1984).

Copper Avenue Parking Garage.

Copper Avenue Parking Garage.

Art at Copper Avenue Parking Garage.

Art at Copper Avenue Parking Garage.

Parking Garage where Gus parks (February 17, 2017).

Downtown West and Old Town

The location where Mike placed his phone call to Gus (Season 4, episode 8, 'Hermanos') is between 7th & 8th Streets NW, approximately at 1885 8th St. NW.

Andrea Cantillo's New Home, 1011 Forrester Ave. NW (Season 4, episode 8, 'Hermanos').

Andrea's more-upscale digs.

This residence is known as the Toulouse House.

Burned-out, abandoned gas station, near 15157 Historic Route 66, near where Central Avenue, Paseo del Volcan, and I-40 meet (see West Mesa locations below: Season 4, episode 5, 'Shotgun').

Huning Castle & ABQ Country Club

"OldSaultie" has succeeded in locating the 'Spoon House': 1701 Chacoma Pl. SW (Season 4, episode 3, 'Open House').

'Spoon House': 1701 Chacoma Pl. SW (Season 4, episode 3, 'Open House').

'Spoon House': 1701 Chacoma Pl. SW (Season 4, episode 3, 'Open House').


The Rail Yards have appeared before in Breaking Bad, but they made a particularly strong appearance in Season 4, episode 5, 'Shotgun'.

On summertime Sundays, the Rail Yards Market is open from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m., allowing public access to the Rail Yards.








Railyards (February 2020).

These walls of glass are really striking. Why were they built this way? According to one reference (Priest, 2001):

The locomotive repair shop was divided into four bays and covered an area of 3.5 acres. The erecting bay was located adjacent to the transfer table. Next was the heavy machine bay, followed by the light machine and bench bays. The most noteworthy feature of the building was the use of glass from sill to cornice on nearly every side. In addition, A-shaped sky-lights were installed at 22 foot intervals over the heavy and light machine bays as well as the balcony floor. This provided both natural lighting and ventilation.

(“Santa Fe Heritage: The Railroad’s Self Portrait, Volume 1,” Stephen and Cinthia Priest, Paired Rail Railroad Publications, Ltd., with assistance from The Kansas State Historical Society, 2001.)

Huning Highlands/ Martineztown

(no new locations offered in this update).

University Area & Near Presbyterian Hospital

Denny's Restaurant, across from the University of New Mexico, at 2608 Central Ave. SE (Season 4, episode 1, 'Boxcutter'; also Season 5, episode 1, 'Live Free Or Die'). Jesse was particularly hungry!

Sadly, this Denny's location closed shortly after Thanksgiving Day, 2014.

The staff at Denny's were particularly excited that they had hosted Breaking Bad, and they eagerly showed me where the camera had been situated and which booth Walt and Jesse had sat at. They were also eager to pump the television show "In Plain Sight", which also features shooting locations on and around the campus of the University of New Mexico.

Denny's Restaurant, across from the University of New Mexico, at 2608 Central Ave. SE (Season 4, episode 1, 'Boxcutter'; also Season 5, episode 1, 'Live Free Or Die').

Denny's Restaurant, across from the University of New Mexico, at 2608 Central Ave. SE (Season 4, episode 1, 'Boxcutter'; also Season 5, episode 1, 'Live Free Or Die').

The old Denny's, June 24, 2016.

Where the Denny's used to be - Jersey Mike's and Chipotle (February 2020).

City Montage, Rooftop of Total Community Care, 904-A Las Lomas Rd. NE (Season 4, episode 6, 'Cornered').

A panorama of Albuquerque at night was filmed from the rooftop here.

Nob Hill

Zia Motor Lodge sign, 4611 Central Ave. NE; Central Ave. & Madison St. (Season 4, episode 1, 'Boxcutter').

Mike and Jesse ate at Loyola's Family Restaurant, 4500 Central Avenue SE (Season 4, episode 6, 'Cornered'). (When does Jesse meet Gus as well as Mike at Loyola's? What episode?)




On the wall of the gun shop across the street from Loyola's.

On the wall of the gun shop across the street from Loyola's.



Both montages (Season 4, episode 9, 'Bug') are located on Central Avenue, and both montages feature a curious and well-known arch that stretches over the thoroughfare. The arch, located at roughly 4416 Central Avenue, is located right near several other Breaking Bad sites, such as the De Anza Lodge, and the Zia Motor Lodge sign. I don't know what the purpose of the arch is, except to look pretty. There is a matching arch spanning Central Avenue just east of Girard Blvd.

The arch on a rare rainy night!

Washington and Central, February 2020.

Montage 1 also features Custom Tattoo, 4519 Central Avenue NE, (Season 4, episode 9, 'Bug').

Montage 2 (Season 4, episode 9, 'Bug') also features the Bank of the West Tower, near San Mateo Blvd. and Central Ave., which used to be the tallest building in New Mexico when I was a kid (when it belonged to First National Bank), and apparently now ranks as 5th-highest.

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

Walt & Hank's drive, Starts near 3901 Martin Rd. SW, with a right turn on Camino del Valle, and another right turn on Isleta Blvd. SW. (Season 4, episode 8, 'Hermanos').

Hank surprises Walt with a detour.

The detour segment ends with a view of this fence in the background.

San Jose Neighborhood and South Valley (East of River)

"Casa Tranquila" Nursing Home, Mountain View Community Center, 201 Prosperity Avenue SE (Season 4, episode 8, 'Hermanos'; Season 4, episode 11 'Crawl Space'). Gus and Tio Hector Salamanca meet to talk about old times.

(Photo by Miguel Jaramillo).

(Photo by Miguel Jaramillo).

(Photo by Miguel Jaramillo).

The Sniper's Nest, just NE of Cal-Maine Foods, the filming site for Los Pollos Hermanos' distribution center (Season 4, episode 9, 'Bug'). My nephew surveilles the Chicken Farm from this huge pile of discarded paving.

Mexican Meth Lab (Season 4, episode 10, 'Salud'), Delta Power Co. LLC, 725 Electric Ave. SE.

That decrepit-looking Mexican meth lab is in the glorious junked-out wonderland of the industrial South Valley.

There is an interesting detail in the way they made up the building for the TV show. The upper floors have a curious, bombed-out look: darkened, maybe with broken windows.

I visited Mexico on a cruise in 2010 as part of a wedding party. I noticed (particularly while visiting Puerto Vallarta) that there were a considerable number of buildings (typically buildings with sidewalk-level businesses and apartments above) with functional first and second floors, but bombed-out looking third and fourth floors. Why that would be the case, I can’t imagine (I don’t pretend to understand Mexico at all - maybe it's just a matter of finding the right ladders), but it is interesting that the Breaking Bad set people may have detailed the Mexican Meth Lab building in the same way, probably to lend that extra air of Mexican authenticity to the location. (Or, maybe that's just the way it looks.)

I heard from Jeremy at the Unofficial Breaking Bad Fan Tour (UBBFT) Finale Party that they had removed the old power plant. Sure enough, on my October 3, 2013 swing past this site, the old power plant is gone, and just the new one remains. Another incremental change to the filming sites of Breaking Bad!

Delta Power Co. LLC, 725 Electric Ave. SE (February 15, 2017).

Mexican MASH Unit, about 3301 Second St. SW (Season 4, episode 11, 'Crawl Space'; also Season 5, episode 1, 'Live Free Or Die'). Across from city limits sign on Second Street.

(35.039705ø, -106.658902ø)

"Six miles from 'Texas'"

I met 'WallDruggie' at Barelas Cafe. We had planned to visit the Mexican field hospital site, but I explained we might have trouble because I had passed by the location and the gate was closed.

Nevertheless, on the return trip, the gate was mysteriously open. So we drove on-site and snapped only just a few photos when Irritated Guys In A Large Cab Pickup Truck Towing A Horse Trailer showed up. I quickly explained what we were doing to Irritated Guy #1, and we were firmly escorted from the property.

Railroad, with highway overpass: Interstate 25 and the Railroad, near the Cal-Maine chicken farm: (34.951118°, -106.672459°).

An AMTRAK train barrels south through the overpass, as seen from near the Isleta Railrunner station.

Michael & Jesse's drive to and from Chicken Ranch. 'To' is on Broadway Blvd. SE. 'Return' is on Cal-Maine Foods Road. Drive there starts at about 8500 Broadway Blvd. SE (Season 4, episode 7, 'Problem Dog'). Mike laments Jesse's loyalty to Walt.

Left: A prominent billboard on Broadway Blvd. SE, July 27, 2010.

Southeast Heights

Hospital. The hospital is Gibson Medical Center (formerly Lovelace Hospital), 5400 Gibson Blvd. SE. The interior shots are here too.

Chapel (Season 4, episode 12, 'End Times'). Gus, Jesse and Tyrus meet here.

According to Season 4 DVD commentary on 'End Times', the Chapel is located within Gibson Medical Center, 5400 Gibson Blvd. SE.

The "Tucker! Tucker!" scene (Season 4, episode 6, 'Cornered') was filmed at 1400 San Jose Avenue SE, in the Kirtland Community. That scene was freaky and strange - a real favorite! I love it!

It's probably just a coincidence, but I notice that the UNM Children’s Psychiatric Center is located on Tucker Avenue NE.

I've always wondered why the digging meth head in episode "Cornered" was named Tucker. The name seems to come from nowhere.

I'm thinking Preston Tucker, the innovative, Chicago-based madman, might be the reference:

Walt's Good-News Parking Lot, South of Sunport Blvd. and West of University Blvd. SE (Season 4, episode 13, 'Face Off').

Walt gets good news!

(35.046662ø, -106.631981ø)

Near "Q" Studios

Underpass, Los Picaros Rd. at University Blvd. SE (35.008233°, -106.625899°).

Underpass, Los Picaros Rd. SE at University Blvd. SE (35.008233°, -106.625899°).

The action shifts to Tijeras Arroyo (Season 4, episode 4, 'Bullet Points') and the Underpass, where Los Picaros Dr. SE passes under University Blvd. SE. The Underpass can be readily seen at (35.008233°, -106.625899°).

The last scene of episode 4 appears to also be along Los Picaros Dr. SE, with the camera placed at about (35.011717°, -106.619376°).

The early part of Mike and Jesse's drive (Season 4, episode 5, 'Shotgun') is very close to the location on Los Picaros Dr. SE featured in episode 4, namely: 35.012633°, -106.617243°.

The ambush scenes with the refrigerated truck (Season 4, episode 4, 'Bullet Points', and episode 6 'Cornered') appear to be familiar open mesa scenes near Q Studios, on Bobby Foster Rd. SE. That place seems to be about (34.986424°, -106.637737°).

Certain landmarks are visible, particularly when they open the truck doors, such as Mt. Taylor, on the horizon to the west.

The refrigerator truck reprise (Season 4, episode 6, 'Cornered') occurred at exactly the same place the other refrigerator truck hit occurred, on Bobby Foster Rd. SE.

Jesse Drop-Off Point, La Semilla Rd. SE (or, alternatively, Dragway Rd. SE; Season 4, episode 12, 'End Times').

Power lines and an adjacent rifle range.

(35.011458°, -106.596565°).

I haven't been able to figure out the airplane landing site except in the most-general sort of way (Season 4, episode 10, 'Salud').

(34.988977°, -106.586481°)

Offroading in Tijeras Arroyo

Tijeras Arroyo is a strange place, and has been thoroughly-trashed by the off-road vehicle folks over the years. I can’t imagine why Mike wants to take Jesse down that road, unless he wants someone to accompany him while he watches planes land and take off at the Airport.

Offroader triumphs over a hill.

Oh, I want to be on that hill over there!

View of University Blvd. SE, with Rattlesnake Sculpture in the median.

The viper of University Blvd. SE!

Desecration of the natural environment, by dirt bike. The erosion potential of these steep slopes cannot be overstated!

Natural Beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico's Rio Grande Valley.

I'm heartily sick of the way the subtle natural beauty of the desert is being ruined by the offroaders. All these deserts are precious natural inheritances! Just look!

Four wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), and a yucca.

The yucca is New Mexico's state flower. There are a couple of species. This is likely Fine-leaf Yucca, or Yucca angustissma.

A yucca.

The yucca is New Mexico's state flower. There are a couple of species. This is likely Fine-leaf Yucca, or Yucca angustissma.

Full-grown Yucca.

Purple aster.

A juniper (Juniperus monosperma).

I'm surprised to see this juniper here. This is the extreme lower end of its range, due to the low rainfall, and the only reason it survives here is because it's on a cooler, wetter north-facing slope.

Winter-fat (Eurotia lanata). High forage value for sheep!

On 7/21/14, during the summer monsoon season, and a few miles further south, I took another hike:

Patch of unusual bushes on north-facing slope.
Juniper on a north-facing slope.
Some strange-looking beetle/cicada.
Close-up of that unusual bush.
Many of these arroyos have protected banks that fill up with tumbleweeds (Salsola kali) that get blown in. These things are fire traps!
Gus Fring drives past this  small stock tank at the beginning of the 'Sunset' scenes in "Breaking Bad" (Season 3, episode 6, 'Sunset').  The disaggregated tank in the distant background was not shown.  Historic Google Earth imagery shows the distant tank had a top until fairly-recently. Sacred Datura (Datura meteloides) clusters around the base of the stock tank.
Descending towards the Rio Grande, along an arroyo, here are more junipers.
Purple nightshade.
Spectacle pod? (Dithyrea)
Goldenweed, or Yellow Daisy (Aploppapus gracilis).
Spectacle pod?
Hymenoxys; aka Actinea; Perky Sue (Hymenoys argentea).

I was impressed to learn mucilaginous but edible Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea), nearly as rich in omega-3 fatty acids as fish, can be found in sidewalk cracks all over the western U.S., and especially in Albuquerque.

The plant has many uses, but I've used it to short-circuit orations by tedious people by reaching down, grabbing a bit, and unexpectedly start chewing.

It's greatest enemy is morons with Roundup.

"Q" Studios

Motel Room (Season 4, episode 2, 'Thirty Eight Snub'). Supernatural's Bobby Singer.

According to Season 4 DVD commentary for 'Thirty Eight Snub', this set was located at Q Studios.

New Beneke Office, Likely "Q" Studios (Season 4, episode 10, 'Salud').

Unusual red feature surrounding building is present at "Q" Studios.

Interrogation Room (Season 4, episode 13, 'Face Off'). Jesse calls for Saul's help. In the series, this place is portrayed as the Bernalillo County Courthouse. According to Assistant Locations manager Alex Gianopoulos, this site was at the studio.

The Superlab

Workplace dynamics were a bit awkward in the Season Four premiere episode, 'Boxcutter'. Reminded me of workplace dynamics wherever you go in America.

Which may have been one of the points of the episode.

Regarding the fate of dear Victor, it reminded me of Albuquerque New Year's Eve, 1995, when I witnessed something along the same lines.

Life in Albuquerque can end abruptly. As it can wherever you go in America.

Regarding the Moth symbol, "OldeSaultie" notes:

[T]he drum in the super lab that Walt was trying to move with the forklift had the same moth/butterfly as the the warehouse sign where Mike used the balloons.
The moth symbol is a repeating motif. And there is an Asian subtext too, with what appears to be Japanese characters. I wonder what it all means?

In Season 5, such as on Hank's evidence bulletin board, they've started referring to the symbol as "Golden Moth". Presumably Chow ran the "Golden Moth Chemical Warehouse", and supplied the Superlab with methylamine. I've searched on the Web for "Golden Moth", and come up with Tarot references.

(Image from imdb)

I am glad that, with Jesse's kidnapping, the interior focus of the drama (e.g., on the Superlab, epitomized by 'Fly') changed. It was time to get out into the light again, and get even more filming locations. I was getting a bit claustrophobic and depressed, to tell you the truth! Now, how to do all this and keep Jesse alive too? That is the question!

I-25 Corridor, North

Auto accident, Girard Blvd. & Los Arboles Ave. NE (Season 4, episode 11, 'Crawl Space'). Walt's crash judgment.

I could tell they had shifted location from near the laundry – safety in mind, primarily, since Candelaria Blvd. is quite a busy street - but I didn’t know where, and I knew they shouldn’t have moved very far away, in order to keep fidelity with the neighborhood. This location works!

White, Many-Windowed Building, Approximately 3421 Pan American Frontage Rd. South NE (Season 4, episode 13, 'Face Off'). Saul and Walt chit-chat here.

What an interesting looking place! What was its purpose?

This is where my dad might have helped. When he was a kid, in the 30's, he used to live in Hahn, NM, which was swallowed by ABQ as it grew (Google Earth points to Griegos Rd. & the railroad as the neighborhood of Hahn). This hall could have served that area. But alas, my dad passed away two years ago, so no questions.

"WallDruggie" talked to someone who worked nearby who said it used to be a girl's school. That is plausible, but there may have been other purposes as well.

I sat on the matter for seven years, then posed a question in the "Albuquerque Memories" Facebook Group about the matter. I figured, these antiquarians might already know.

Initially, the antiquarians were stumped. Since the building lies off the beaten path, many of them hadn't seen it. Group member Meredith Edwards worked particularly hard at tracking down leads.

One member did a tax assessment map search. The entire area is labelled 3411 Pan American Fwy NE, and the tax records show the owner as the NM Girls School.

The current bureaucratic entity appears to be New Mexico Youth Diagnostic Development Center (YDDC-NM Girls School).

Interesting. Still leaves many questions open, though. If NM Girls School is current owner, what is their connection to YDDC? What is the history here?

Another "Albuquerque Memories" Facebook Group member noted "Born Innocent" was filmed nearby.

Born Innocent

"Born Innocent," starring Linda Blair, and Number 1 TV movie of the year, was filmed at the youth detention center nearby. According to imdb:
A constant runaway is given over to the care of the state and finds herself in a remand centre for girls. She is soon caught between the uncaring bureaucracy, the sometimes brutal treatment from her peers and her own abusive family, and only one care worker sees her potential to rise above her tragic circumstances.

Here is Linda Blair's escape-attempt sequence. The white, many-windowed building can be seen in the background as she tries to flee.

The full movie "Born Innocent" has Albuquerque scenes. The runaway scene featuring the white building is at 34:40, there is a nice drive on what might be Broadway at 45:40, with suburban scenes too, and the cemetery scenes at 1:22:00 are at Algodones Cemetery. https://youtu.be/hgBi5W9paxA

Finally Meredith Edwards found an authority:

UPDATE: Francelle Alexander, author of the new NORTH VALLEY books, answered my question about the building today at her book-signing/slideshow. She said the building WAS the NM Girls Welfare Home, said it was in the 1930 census, so probably built in the 20s. Joe Sabatini said it was used into the 60s

And so, for the moment, that's how things stand.

North side.

Well-assembled concrete and rock retaining walls (e.g., supporting tree base) show loving construction.

North side.

Front side.

South side.

Well-made concrete-and-rock foundations to support wooden picket fences (since collapsed).

Fire pit on south side.

Windows seem to display solid bars, making escape from upper floors difficult, if not impossible.

Back side of building, on east side, displays label: "Book Alliance Program". It may be that even as the rest of the building was abandoned, that some function lingered on in this anteroom.

Interior of lower floor, showing fireplace.

Interior of lower floor, showing living space and kitchen. Electricity was available here. It couldn't have been abandoned THAT long ago.

Modern-day Juvenile Reintegration facility sprawls to the west of this building. Shown is a recreational area with basketball hoops, surrounded by tall banks of razor wire.

Return visit on September 28, 2013. North side.

Interestingly, a side door had been kicked in, so my nephew Aaron and I went inside to visit.

Upstairs, in what might have once been a girl's school.

My nephew Aaron, as Saul Goodman.

View of the Volcanoes from the Many-Windowed White Building.

"Casa Tranquila" Nursing Home (2), Valle Norte Caring Center, 8820 Horizon Blvd. NE (Season 4, episode 13, 'Face Off'). Gus & Hector meet one last time. This facility is rapidly being renovated for some other purpose.

"Armed Response". Sounds serious. Then again, more people than you realize may be armed, so it might just be a tedious daily occurrence. In any event, if I'm looking for loose copper, I probably won't try here first.

The former Valle Norte Caring Center, 8820 Horizon Blvd. NE, after the renovation.

This fine place entered our hearts as Casa Tranquila.

The front door was sealed and a new front door was created - for The Medical Resort, Fiesta Park.

Inside The Medical Resort, Fiesta Park.

Inside The Medical Resort, Fiesta Park. "The whole schmoly!"

Inside The Medical Resort, Fiesta Park.

On December 10, 2015, Vince Gilligan spoke about his career in television at University of California, Davis’ Mondavi Center. In the context of a discussion about the role of science in “Breaking Bad”, particularly as represented by Walter White, Vince Gilligan had nice things to say about Albuquerque and New Mexico. Gilligan noted that, of the 50 U.S. states, New Mexico has the highest per capita number of Ph.D.'s, due to the presence of Los Alamos and Sandia Labs. (Gilligan also noted that there are more sheep than people in New Mexico.)
Like many people, Vince Gilligan tries to straddle the divide between Religion and Science. Gilligan is attracted to the stories of others who, like him, seek after Truth. Gilligan said he based the idea of Gus Fring getting half his face burnt off on the life history of Jack Parsons, a particularly-colorful seeker after Truth. Fulminate of mercury was the cause:

John Whiteside Parsons (born Marvel Whiteside Parsons; October 2, 1914 – June 17, 1952), better known as Jack Parsons, was an American rocket engineer and rocket propulsion researcher, chemist, inventor, businessman, expert witness, writer, socialite, and Thelemite occultist. Parsons was associated with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and was one of the principal founders of both the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Aerojet Engineering Corporation. He invented the first rocket engine using a castable, composite rocket propellant, and pioneered the advancement of both liquid-fuel and solid-fuel rockets.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Parsons was raised by a wealthy family on Orange Grove Avenue in Pasadena. Inspired by science fiction literature, he developed an interest in rocketry in his childhood and in 1928 began amateur rocket experiments with school friend Ed Forman. He was forced to drop out of Pasadena Junior College and Stanford University due to financial difficulties during the Great Depression, but in 1934 he united with Forman and graduate student Frank Malina to form the Caltech-affiliated GALCIT Rocket Research Group, supported by Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory chairman Theodore von Kármán. In 1939 the Group gained funding from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to work on Jet-Assisted Take Off (JATO) for the U.S. military. In 1942 they founded Aerojet to develop and sell their JATO technology in response to American involvement in World War II; the Group became JPL in 1943.

After a brief involvement with Marxism in 1939, Parsons began practising magick and converted to Thelema, the English occultist Aleister Crowley's new religious movement. In 1941, alongside his first wife Helen Northrup, Parsons joined the Agape Lodge, the Californian branch of the Thelemite Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO). At Crowley's bidding, he replaced Wilfred Talbot Smith as its leader in 1942 and ran the Lodge from his mansion on Orange Grove Avenue. Inciting criminal investigations into allegedly illicit activities, Parsons was expelled from JPL and Aerojet in 1944 in part due to the Lodge's infamy, along with his quixotic working practices as a scientist. In 1945 Parsons separated from Helen after having an affair with her sister Sara; when Sara left him for his friend L. Ron Hubbard, he conducted the Babalon Working, a series of rituals designed to invoke the Thelemic goddess Babalon to Earth. He and Hubbard continued the procedure with Marjorie Cameron, whom Parsons married in 1946. After Hubbard and Sara defrauded him of his life savings, Parsons resigned from the OTO and went through various jobs while acting as a consultant for the Israeli rocket program. Amid the climate of McCarthyism, he was accused of espionage and left unable to work in rocketry. In 1952, Parsons died at the age of 37 in a home laboratory explosion that attracted national media attention; the police ruled it an accident, but many associates suspected suicide or assassination.

...On June 17, 1952, a day before their planned departure, Parsons received a rush order of explosives for a film set and began to work on it in his home laboratory. An explosion destroyed the lower part of the building, during which Parsons sustained mortal wounds. His right forearm was amputated, his legs and left arm were broken and a hole was torn in the right side of his face. Despite these critical injuries, Parsons was found conscious by the upstairs lodgers. He tried to communicate with the arriving ambulance workers, who rushed him to the Huntingdon Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead around thirty-seven minutes after the explosion. Parsons' last words are frequently said to have been "I wasn't done", but Cameron recited them as "Who will take care of me now?" When his mother, Ruth, was informed of the events, she immediately committed suicide by taking an overdose of barbiturates.

Jack Parsons is memorialized in “Breaking Bad”.

Club 505

Here is the television show Hector Salamanca is watching in Casa Tranquila ("Breaking Bad", Season 4, episodes 10 & 13, 'Hermanos' and 'Face Off'). It's the same show for both encounters with Hector, with Fritz's Polka Band from Verona, New York playing both times: Big Joe's Polka Show on RFD.

I had a separate reason to think Vince Gilligan was trying to stress a connection to Chicago. (I was confused, since Fritz's Polka Band is more Slovenian style, not Chicago style - some chaff Vince Gilligan tossed off to confuse me.)

So, why any "Breaking Bad" connection to the world of Chicago polka? What earthly connection could there ever be between Chicago polka and Albuquerque, New Mexico?

Well, according to Wikipedia's article "Polka in the United States":

"An important venue for live performances of polka music was Club 505 at 13505 S Brainard Ave in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the Southeast side of Chicago."

Of course. Club 505! New Mexico's telephone area code is 505!

Big Joe Polka Show on RFD

More Club 505

North Valley

(no new locations offered with this update)

Northwest Albuquerque

(no new sites offered with this update)

Rio Rancho

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West Mesa Locations (except Pajarito Mesa)

(Season 4, episode 1, 'Boxcutter') Time lapse of Albuquerque at night. The Interstate-40 Bridge over the Rio Grande, looking east.

The view on "Breaking Bad" is much closer to the bridge than this one. There is a walkway down to the river, but it was gated and locked when I made my visit.

The bridge has been remodeled in recent years, with the pedestrian Gail Ryba Bridge built adjacent to it. Around 1973, I remember disobeying the posted signs and crossing the bridge on foot as semi-trucks roared past. I discovered that the bridge actually bounces a few inches as the semi-trucks pass. I hope that this nauseating and disorienting bounciness has been removed from the remodeled bridge.

Left: (July 27, 2010) I was fortunate enough to get a picture of the gas station on Nine Mile Hill used for Dead Drop #3 (Season 4, episode 5, 'Shotgun') before it burned down, and before it was used in a time-lapse sequence on "Breaking Bad" (accompanied by Ana Tijoux's excellent music, entitled "1977").

The western leg of the drive followed by Mike and Jesse (conveyed as a time-lapse sequence) still is unclear to me - probably headed west on Central and onto Interstate 40, and back again - but one stop is clear: the burned-out abandoned gas station at the top of Nine Mile Hill (35.063113, -106.785035). The location is at the top of Nine Mile Hill, near 15157 Historic Route 66, where Central Avenue, Paseo del Volcan, and I-40 meet.

I returned to the gas station on October 9, 2012. All gone, but for the concrete!

(August 2015) A new fueling station is rising from the rubble of the previous fueling station. But if the diversion of Route 66 traffic onto I-40 killed the old station, why would this newer, larger station succeed? I don't know. That's why I'm not a businessman.

Love's Truck Terminal, June 24, 2016.

Left: When I was young, it was a special treat to descend from the west into Albuquerque from Nine Mile Hill on Historic Route 66. At night, with all the city lights blazing, this view was (and likely still is) spectacular!

Sandia And Manzano Mountains

For the roadside stop - "You are NOT the guy!" - (Season 4, episode 5, 'Shotgun'), that location is likely Coyote Springs Rd. SE, somewhere close to this location: (35.041702°, -106.453010°).


(no new locations offered in this update)

Zia, San Ysidro, and Cabezon Locations

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Santa Ana Pueblo & Algodones

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Bernalillo and Placitas

The swimming pool at La Hacienda de Placitas. (See Hacienda de Placitas section, at top of this post).

One of the most interesting sites in the entire TV series (Season 4, episode 8 'Hermanos' and episode 10 'Salud') was Don Eladio's Mexican Hacienda, with pool. That kind of hillside, with a look like it belongs to the Upper Sonoran vegetative zone, is more common in the Santa Fe area than Albuquerque. My guess was that it was located somewhere in the newer neighborhoods that have become established between Bernalillo and Placitas, along Highway 165, in the approximate general location of 35.307637°, -106.454509°.

Confirmation came later in an unexpected E-Mail:

Roger wrote:
Thanks for providing the BB locations. Your location for the pool scene is correct. It is an old bed and breakfast called Hacienda de Placitas. I pass by it every day going to and from work. They were there earlier this year for several days at least. -Roger
Thank you very much, Roger! I couldn’t read the business sign off of Google Earth. Having a name helps immensely!

Hacienda de Placitas Inn and Gallery, 491 Highway 165, Placitas, NM 87043.

Santa Fe & Lamy

(no new locations offered in this update)

Near Los Lunas And Belen

That windmill place (Season 4, episode 4, 'Shotgun')! There are several possible candidates south of Q Studios, but my favorite candidate is just back from the edge of the East Mesa, directly east of Los Lunas: (34.804438°,-106.658829°).

Did they build an extra access road just for this shot? Or is it all CGI?

Unfortunately, I can't seem to get any closer to the windmill than Meadow Lake Road without trespassing. Frustrating!

More Distant Locations

Skyler's flight to Four Corners (Season 4, episode 6, 'Cornered') represents the first time the main action of the show has left the state of New Mexico. Characteristically, that flight was very tentative, leaving the state by only a few feet. Nevertheless, it is the perfect place for a quandary!

Just like the Superlab represents a dungeon, New Mexico represents a sort of trap or prison too. This is true despite the illusory wide-open spaces of the American Southwest.

In my gateway "Breaking Bad" post (Part 1 - Season 1) I wrote that "Albuquerque tends to attract impractical dreamers. ... People who don't understand why their plans never worked out." And the way you know you are a true New Mexican is that claustrophobic trapped feeling you get just by living there. Skyler, it's time to flee to Denver! Skyler! Skyler, do you hear me?

I thought the brief vista shown in the episode 'Cornered' represented the area in the immediate vicinity: e.g., the descent into the valley of the San Juan River, which runs nearby. Nevertheless, I looked at it recently, and realized a lot of the geographic features are actually quite far away. The view looks FAR into Colorado. Some of the features, like the San Juan Mountains near Telluride in southwestern Colorado, are seventy miles away, or more, from Four Corners.


  1. This blog is awesome. I am a huge Breaking Bad fan, and am about to go to ABQ for a quick business trip, so the background about both BrBa and ABQ are really great. Thanks so much.

  2. Planning a trip to ABQ next week to try and catch some Season 5 filming... this blog has been invaluable in mapping some previous locations to visit. Thanks so much for all the effort you put into this!

    1. Thank you! Have a great experience!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I'm a long time resident of ABQ, but relatively new to Breaking Bad - I don't get AMC so I'm finally catching up on Netflix. Obviously, many of the locations are quite familiar, but a couple places on this section surprised me. My boss lives on La Sala Grande across from the park and one of my coworkers lives right next to the APD substation on Montgomery. I'll have to share it with them tomorrow. Thanks for all your work.

    1. That's the cool thing about the series: trying to figure out why they used this location, but not that location. The logic seems quirky and inscrutable to me. There is a kind of a broad, southeast-city bias to the choices (I'm from the NW quadrant, so I notice it), no doubt, because Q Studios is on the SE side. For a long time I thought the APD substation chosen was the one on N. Second, but that was not the case. They probably liked that sculpture out front of the Montgomery station (even though they didn't show it on the series).

  4. Liking the site! Do you know the location for the scene where Jesse Pinkman gets abducted after he's released by the police in the episode Face Off?

    1. Hi Bob:
      If memory serves, that should be about the corner of 4th & Tijeras.

    2. Google Maps confirms it, thanks for the quick response!

  5. Hi Marc,
    Thanks for the amazing post, soooo awesome! Just have one question though... I was listening to the Insider BrBa Podcast and Vince mentioned about hiring wranglers to get rid of snakes and dangerous critters before shooting a scene (e.g. the train robbery location). I'm going to ABQ tomorrow and kinda concerned about my own safety in the wild... is there any location we should tread lightly? Thank you!!

  6. Hi Allen: Sorry not to get back to you in a timely way. No, I wouldn't worry about it at all. November near Santa Fe is cold enough that snakes would be underground. Rattlesnakes all but harmless under such circumstances.

  7. Michelle10:12 AM

    I am going to ABQ November 2nd, taking my son for his birthday to do a BB and BCS vacation. The book looks like it will come in handy? Does anyone know when 5th edition is coming out or should I just order the 4th edition?

    1. Hello Michelle:

      The update to the book is complete, and should be available shortly.

  8. Hi Michelle! That's a hard call. I have a target date of November 1st, but I'm already well into the project. It might be ready as soon as October 15th. I will post a notice here when it's ready. If it's not ready in time for you, the Fourth Edition will still be satisfying. There are days' worth of sites for everyone.

  9. Here is the link to the revised version.