Breaking Bad fans can visit the location of Los Pollos Hermanos during a visit to Albuquerque. // © 2012 BreakingBad.Wikia.Com
Meth labs and drug-related violence are typically the scourge of any tourist destination — but this is not the case in Albuquerque. The city, as well as other parts of New Mexico, is the location for the Emmy-winning AMC television series “Breaking Bad,” which follows Walter White’s evolution from a science teacher diagnosed with cancer to a villainous and violent meth producer and supplier. Fans of the series, which is now in its fifth and final season, are visiting the city, which has become a key feature of the show.
“Albuquerque itself has become a character in our show — a really important character,” said Bryan Cranston, who plays Walter White, in a Johnjay and Rich radio interview. “It gave it a justifiable location — a sound, solid place that not many people have related to. They’ve seen Los Angeles, they’ve seen New York, but they haven’t really seen Albuquerque and New Mexico.”
Visitors to New Mexico can experience locations filmed in “Breaking Bad” while enjoying the state’s cuisine, arts, culture and outdoor activities thanks to a self-guided interactive map created by the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau. The map can be found at www.itsatrip.org and includes information about each sight, such as which season featured the sight.
For those who would prefer to have a guided tour of the locations, The Albuquerque Trolley Company (ABQ Trolley Co.) offers three-and-a-half-hour tours of Breaking Bad locations. ‘The BaD Tour’ includes exterior visits to Walter White’s house; Jesse Pinkman’s duplex; Gus' house; The Car Wash; The Laundry; Saul Goodman’s law office; Tuco’s hideout; The Railyards; The Crossroads Motel; and more. Tours stop in Los Pollos Hermanos — which is the real fast food restaurant Twisters.
“We are seeing a younger demographic than our typical visitors contacting us and taking our tours because they found out about Albuquerque through ‘Breaking Bad,’” said Jesse Herron, co-owner of the ABQ Trolley Co.
The last public “Breaking Bad” tour for the year has passed, but travel agents can inquire about booking clients on private tours by contacting the company directly.
In addition to seeing locations featured on the show, visitors can try and spot their favorite actors traipsing around town. Aaron Paul, the actor who plays Jesse Pinkman, and Bryan Cranston, the actor who plays Walter White, have homes in New Mexico.
“Film projects like ‘Breaking Bad’ and blockbusters movies like ‘The Lone Ranger’ and ‘Terminator Salvation’ bring money into our city,” said Dale Lockett, president and CEO of the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Those that are set here can help us dispel misperceptions about our area. The beautiful landscape shots show the gorgeous Sandia Mountains and other vistas that pique the interest of viewers. We are reaching a new potential visitor audience that may not have considered Albuquerque for vacation in the past through shows like ‘Breaking Bad.’ People want to come here and see the actual locations where the filming is taking place.”
Recent projects filmed in New Mexico include the upcoming “Lone Ranger,” “In Plain Sight”, “The Avengers,” “The Book of Eli,” “Terminator Salvation,” “Crazy Heart” and others.