Breaking Bad movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Breaking Bad filmed?

About Breaking Bad

There’s no denying that Breaking Bad was one of the most successful TV shows of the 21st century. The impact that it had and the cult follower of fans that watched and filled forums with theories were global. It’s also launched a spin off series Better Call Saul and rumors of movies to come.

The show follows a high school chemistry teacher called Walter White, who towards the start of the series discovers that he has cancer. He chooses to keep it a secret from his family to start with and the financial burden that came with his treatment. Walt also wants to make sure his wife and son are looked after once he’s gone.

Unfortunately, his high school teaching salary combined with his part time job at a local car wash isn’t going to begin to cover his finances. Enter an old student of Walter’s, Jesse Pinkman, a local drug dealer and cook who is making some sub par meth and some sub par choices.

Using Walt’s superior chemistry know-how and Jesse’s connections in the seedy world of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s drug dealing, they soon become an unstoppable pair with the best meth on the market.

Quickly, things start to get out of hand. Rival gangs look to move in. Other meth cooks look to try and steal their recipes. Walt and Jesse fall out about 50 times over the course of the show. That’s not even mentioning the fact that Walt’s brother-in-law, Hank, is a Drug Enforcement Agent (DEA). It’s a perfect storm that makes for outstanding television.

It’s no wonder that it’s one of the highly rated shows of recent years and has been watched and rewatched by many people all across the world. It’s launched its stars into the stratosphere and has some must-see moments and quotes that are now pop culture canon - recognizable wherever you go.

City Locations

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Location Types

American, Naturescapes

Location Styles

Americana/Anywhere America

Breaking Bad Locations

Unusually for a TV show or film, Breaking Bad is actually set where it’s filmed, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It of course makes a lot of sense for the Breaking Bad production team to be able to move around the actual location and bring it to life. It definitely brings authenticity to the Breaking Bad filming locations.

There are spots all over Albuquerque that are used throughout the various seasons, designed to show both the nicer and sketchier sides of the city, depending on which characters we’re following.

The diverse landscape of New Mexico meant that it was ideal to film both suburban scenes and vast desert landscapes, which became integral to the plot of Breaking Bad. Being able to access all these location styles in one place was critical to the success and storytelling of the show and the setup of the production team.

It also means that if you want to plan the Breaking Bad holiday of your dreams, you can do it all in one place! So, get ready to book your flights or set your car GPS to Albuquerque, New Mexico and stand where Walt and Jesse famously stood!

Spoiler Alert! Although we know that nearly everyone in the TV-watching world has seen Breaking Bad, if you still haven’t, we’ll let you know some major plot points might get spoiled for you! You’ve been warned!

Walter in his underwear in the desert scene in Breaking Bad

To’hajiilee Indian Reservation

In the opening scene of the entire show, we see a visibly distressed Walter White (Bryan Cranston) wandering around in the desert in his underwear. It’s a bold opening and it’s clear that something has gone very wrong at this point.

He takes out a camcorder and starts recording a message for his family. It feels as if he’s about to die and we’re looking at our main character’s last words even though we’ve only just met him.

He forces out the words, "I only had you in my heart", designed for his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) and his son, Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte).

This particular scene as well as plenty of other desert-based scenes in Breaking Bad were filmed in the To’hajiilee Indian Reservation, which is a part of the Navajo Nation. Lying to the west of Albuquerque, it’s where much of the meth cooking action happens as well as a lot of the other criminal aspects of the show.

The To’hajiilee Indian Reservation offers sweeping desert expanses, canyons and beautiful rock formations. As it’s pretty far out from the city, you can’t use public transport to get here, but if you drive make sure to bring plenty of water and gas to get back!

Walt saves Jesse from the rival drug dealer scene in Breaking Bad

Java Jones in Albuquerque

In the penultimate episode of season three, we see just how far Jesse (Aaron Paul) has fallen and just how much Walt has changed since their meth enterprise has begun.

In this Breaking Bad action scene, Jesse spirals out of control on drugs and tries to take on two rival drug gang members. As an audience, we can see where this is going and it’s not going to end well!

Walter shows up to save the day in a dodgy looking area where Jesse is in trouble and there’s only one thing that can be done. Walt shoots one of the gang members at point blank range, much to Jesse’s surprise.

This scene proves how deep the pair are getting and how they’ve got to start getting their hands dirty to survive - both of them.

After shooting the one gang member, Walter tells Jesse just one word, "Run".

Although in the dead of night with gang members and gun-wielding chemistry teachers on the loose, the area looks terrifying, it’s actually the street outside Java Jones in Albuquerque. It’s where a lot of the rival gang hangout scenes were shot.

The cafe itself is cozy with plenty of delicious brews and snacks, and the surrounding area has loads of independent shops such as comic books stores!

Being in downtown Albuquerque near Robinson Park, it’s a super accessible spot with the 66 bus stopping really close to this popular Breaking Bad filming location.

Walter tears down Jesse scene in Breaking Bad

Vamonos Pest Headquarters

By the time we reach season five, things have gotten seriously dark. Jesse has been on and off the wagon about a dozen times, the pair have killed people, and got into bed with some ridiculously dangerous people. All in all, the situation is not ideal.

One of these ridiculously dangerous people is an unhinged man called Todd, played by the excellent Jesse Plemons. He’s definitely got a murderous streak, having killed a boy on a bike who was just riding past the trailer where Walt and Jesse cook.

This unwarranted killing of a child has clearly shaken Jesse to the core and he starts questioning everything that they’re doing, but Walt quickly manipulates him into staying and cooking by reminding him that they’re no angels either.

Walt famously says, "If you believe that there's a hell, we're pretty much already going there".

Harsh, but probably true.

At this point, the pair are cooking their pure Blue Sky meth at the old Vamonos Pest headquarters, which also serves as a front for the business.

This fumigation business is actually in an unassuming building in the Parkland Hills neighborhood of Albuquerque. Honestly, if you didn’t know, you’d probably walk past it, which is probably a good idea as a front for cooking meth!

Just off Gibson Blvd SE, it’s surrounded by fast food joints and is opposite a massive medical center. As such, there are plenty of bus stops all around it, depending on where you’re traveling from.

Skyler and Walt’s tapped phone call scene in Breaking Bad

3828 Piermont Dr. NE

In this pivotal Breaking Bad scene, we see a little bit of Walt’s humanity still intact. After Hank (Dean Norris) is shot by Jack (Michael Bowen), Walt comes back to tell Skyler and Hank’s wife, Marie (Betsy Brandt).

Skyler finally loses it and comes at Walt with a knife, there’s a struggle and their son, Walter Jr. calls the police. Panicking, Walt grabs his baby daughter, Holly (Moira Bryg MacDonald), and makes a run for it.

When Walt calls her from a safe place, he knows that the police are listening. That’s why he gets so nasty with her so that it sounds like she didn’t know anything about his numerous crimes and offenses. He’s giving her the alibi that she so desperately needs.

Walt says, "I told you Skyler, I warned you for a solid year: you cross me, and there will be consequences."

This pivotal and emotional Breaking Bad scene obviously takes place in two locations, but the main bulk of the action is in the White household. Of course, this place is used throughout the seasons and is one of the main Breaking Bad filming locations.

The White household can be found at 3828 Piermont Dr. NE, Albuquerque and is one of the most visited Breaking Bad locations. The elderly couple that lives there is very polite and friendly by all accounts, but if you do visit this Breaking Bad location, please be mindful that it is someone’s house.

Located in the Loma Del Rey neighborhood, you can get to this filming location via the number 2 or number 13 bus.

Walt quits the car wash scene in Breaking Bad

Octopus Car Wash

The pilot episode of Breaking Bad was full of amazing twists and turns that got viewers hooked on the series. In season 1, one particularly funny Breaking Bad scene was the one where Walter finally quits his terrible job at the car wash.

Obviously, he’s had a lot of bad news up to this point – the cancer diagnosis, the financial burden of it all, the decision not to tell his family – and really he’s handled it pretty calmly. Our impression of Walt is that he’s a mild mannered, Ned Flanders lookalike.

That’s why when he loses it with his boss at the car wash, it’s such a surprise – and a mark of things to come. Suddenly we realize that there’s a lot more to Walter than meets the eye!

When he’s quitting his job, Walt shouts the now immortal lines, “F–– you and your eyebrows”. Poetry.

The car wash features in later seasons as a potential front for the meth business. After all, how else is he going to explain all this extra cash coming into their accounts? Skyler suggests buying the car wash as a solution that wouldn’t raise any eyebrows – excuse the pun.

If you’re road-tripping to Albuquerque, and want to hit up a Breaking Bad filming location at the same time, head to what was the Octopus Car Wash, now Mister Car Wash in the North Easterns neighborhood.

Of course, you can drive and get a wash and wax, but if you’re just looking to stop by without your wheels, the number 8 and number 2 bus routes go past this site.

Walt teaches chemistry scene in Breaking Bad

Rio Rancho High School

In addition to setting the mood for the rest of the show, the pilot has some pretty heavy-handed foreshadowing. No more so than when we see Walt explaining the magic of chemistry to his very uninterested high school class.

We can see that he knows his stuff and that he’s passionate about chemistry, but that he’s wasted teaching to kids who would literally rather be anywhere else. Walt tells the kids, "Well, technically chemistry is the study of matter. But I prefer to see it as the study of change."

This serves as powerful foreshadowing because, over the course of the next few seasons, we’re going to witness Walt himself go through some pretty drastic changes as he becomes Heisenberg - drug legend of Albuquerque.

J. P. Wynne High School is used time and time again throughout the series. Not only is it where Walter teaches and gets some of the lab equipment for the meth cooking, but it’s also where Walter Jr. goes to school.

The real J. P. Wynne High School is actually Rio Rancho High School which is located on the northern outskirts of Albuquerque in Rio Rancho. As it’s pretty far out from the city center, there isn’t any public transport, so driving is a necessity to visit this Breaking Bad filming location.

Conclusion

All in all, there’s a reason why Breaking Bad was as popular as it was. From drama to crime to comedy to action, it had something for everyone and you were rooting for the characters from the get-go.

It also shows the diversity and beauty of New Mexico and has created some new popular tourist destinations for the local economy. So, if you’re a fan of Breaking Bad and want to walk in the footsteps of Walter White, Jesse Pinkman and more, head straight to Albuquerque, New Mexico!