Saturday, my drive home from Tempe, Arizona led me via I-40 through Albuquerque, New Mexico, filming location of the hit television show Breaking Bad. My GPS told me that by leaving Tempe at 6 AM, I would arrive home at 11 PM as long as I did not stop for fuel or food. (It’s a fifteen hour drive, plus an additional two hours in time zone changes.) Even though I knew it would be a long day in the car, I decided to spend 30 minutes driving around Albuquerque and visiting a few of the more recognizable locations from Breaking Bad.
The last time I did something like this was when I visited and documented a dozen or so filming locations from Weird Al’s cult classic UHF. Back then, I used the commentary track from the DVD to obtain the addresses used in the movie and physically found them using a laptop-based USB GPS and a copy of Microsoft MapPoint. That was back in 2003. Ten years later in 20123, to visit Breaking Bad filming locations I used my phone to search Google for “Breaking Bad Filming Locations” and punched a few of them into my car’s GPS. Things sure have gotten simpler. Anyway, on with the pictures.
The Dog House
1216 Central Ave SW
The Dog House has been featured several times in Breaking Bad. In the show, there are rarely cars parked out front. In reality, the Dog House was doing a bustling business when I arrived on Saturday. Because the parking lot was full of cars and car hops were busy running from car to car taking and delivering orders, I did not want to tie up the lone remaining parking spot since I was not ordering food. Instead, I snapped this single photo and drove on to the next location.
A1 Car Wash / Octopus Car Wash
9516 Snowheights Circle
In Breaking Bad, Walter White originally worked at the A1 Car Wash. Later in the show, Walt bought the car wash, which his wife Skyler ran (and used for laundering money). Other than covering up the “Octopus Car Wash” on the front of the building, the car wash pretty much appears in real life like it does in the show. With my DSLR camera I was able to get a shot almost exactly how it appears in Breaking Bad. My “selfie” photo turned out much worse. I am not very good at taking selfies, I’m afraid.
Saul Goodman’s Office / Hooligans Tavern
9800 Montgomery Blvd NE
When you find yourself in over your head in legal matters, what should you do? “Better Call Saul!” Saul Goodman’s legal office is in reality Hooligans Tavern, located in the core of a strip mall. Similar to “Spatula City” in Weird Al’s UHF, without the signage (or the inflatable Statue of Liberty perched on the roof) it looks much like any other strip mall. There wasn’t much to do here except take a picture and keep driving.
Walter White’s House
3828 Piermont Drive
On the television show, the White family lives at 308 Negra Arroyo. The house actually used for shooting exterior shots is located at 3828 Piermont Drive. The house is owned by Fran and Louie Padilla, who have lived in the house since 1973. (You can see a five minute interview with Fran here. Fran is known to come out and greet visitors, which she did while I was standing on front of her mailbox. I felt somewhat awkward standing around taking pictures of someone’s home so I didn’t stick around too long. I don’t know how many people have visited the Padilla’s home but while I was there no less than 10 other cars stopped to take pictures. I had to wait at least five minutes to get a picture of the house without anyone standing in the driveway.
Los Pollos Hermanos / Twisters
4257 Isleta Blvd SW
My final stop was at Los Pollos Hermanos, aka Twisters in real life. Much of the show took place at Gus’ chicken restaurant. In reality, Twisters is a “fast casual dining experience specializing in New Mexican foods as well as American favorites.”
In the show, a large “Los Pollos Hermanos” logo appears on the wall of the restaurant. The logo is still there, and based on the amount of time I was there, is a popular backdrop for visitors taking photographs.
Literally hundreds of Breaking Bad filming locations have been identified and documented, and there are also local tours that will drive you around and show them to you. I’d like to go back, maybe in the spring, and do a bit more sightseeing.