In Breaking Bad, events rarely jump from one location to the next in a rapid manner. Each scene sticks to the place where it’s set for a couple of minutes, allowing viewers to note and digest every little detail. But that doesn’t mean the locations are limited. The dozens of characters are all based in different places, eliminating any form of monotony.
The numerous locations are all home to key subplots but a few places are embedded in the hearts of fans because of their value to the characters and them hosting some of the most defining events in the show. These locations also help highlight some of the common themes that are plastered across the plot.
A1A Car Wash
Early in the series, Walt works part-time at the A1A car wash in order to supplement the income he gets from teaching. As soon as he starts manufacturing meth, he and Skyler buy the car wash and use it to launder money.
Without the humiliating experiences at the A1A car wash, the criminal version of Walt would likely not exist. It takes Walt being laughed at by his student Chad and getting bullied by his boss Bogdan Wolynetz for him to realize he needs a career change. The A1A car wash also sheds a light on Walt’s growth. In just a few months, he morphs from a man being forced to wash his students’ cars for an extra buck, to a man who can afford to pay $800,000 for the business.
Los Pollos Hermanos
Gus Fring uses his restaurant chain, Los Pollos Hermonos (the Chicken Brothers), to launder drug money and in the process, he portrays himself as a genuine businessman. Though it’s owned by Gus, the German multinational conglomerate Madrigal Electromotive GmbH has invested heavily in Los Pollos.
It’s at Los Pollos where Walt and Jesse graduate from small-time dealers to two of the most prominent criminals in America. Their meeting with Gus at the restaurant’s main branch puts them on a path to earn and manufacture more meth than they ever dreamt of. The restaurant benefits Gus greatly too since it’s like a mask to him, making him look like an upstanding citizen even in the eyes of the DEA yet he moves drugs worth hundreds of millions each year.
The White Residence
Located at 308 Negra Arroyo Lane, Walt’s home is as important as the characters on the show. Many memorable moments take place in it, including the pizza throwing incident and the attempted hit by The Cousins.
The residence’s purpose on the show is mostly to underscore Walt and Skyler’s troubled marriage. Rarely is there a happy moment involving the two inside the house. It’s thus a surprise that Walt tries so hard to get back there when he and Skyler separate. On a positive note, the home boldens some of Walt and Skyler’s positive traits, including their ability to be good parents despite their personal wrangles.
Hector’s Nursing Home – Casa Tranquila
Casa Tranquila is the Albuquerque retirement home where Hector Salamanca lives after his nephew Tuco gets killed by Hank. It’s also where Hector suicide bombs himself with Gus, resulting in one of the most shocking deaths in Breaking Bad.
For the most part, Casa Tranquilla symbolizes victory for Walt. Hector being forced to live there means Walt and Jesse have finally squeezed themselves out of Tuco’s tight claws. In another life, they’d be slave cooks in Mexico. Gus Fring’s death is also Walt’s biggest triumph since it’s he that convinces Hector to blow himself up together with his long-time adversary.
Saul’s Office – Goodman & Associates
Saul’s office is located in an Albuquerque strip mall. Over the course of the series, it serves as the meeting point for Walt, Jesse, Saul, and Mike whenever business needs to be discussed.
Saul Goodman & Associates is home to some of the show’s most hilarious moments. Walt pretends to be a Mr. Mayhew, one of the best aliases in Breaking Bad, when he first goes to see Saul at his office. Meeting Saul is the best thing that happens to Walt’s criminal career. It’s in this office where Walt gets his first-ever tutorials on how to not “suck at peddling meth.” Saul also keeps dishing out joke after joke while talking to his clients at the office.
Located under the Lavandería Brillante industrial laundromat, the Superlab is where Walt and Jesse manufacture methamphetamine for Gus Fring. Thanks to its huge size, it’s reported to produce 100 – 300 pounds of meth each week.
The period during which the Superlab exists also marks the time when Walt is in the form of his life as a criminal. While working at the Superlab, Walt earns more money than he has ever seen in his life. He also comes up with the evilest of schemes. The Superlab is also the hallmark of Gus Fring’s intelligence as a villain. Building the lab below an industrial laundromat is genius, and so is employing a Chemistry guru and engaging in large-scale production instead of buying and reselling meth from low-level cooks.
Jesse’s Apartment Unit
After Jesse’s parents evict him from his late aunt’s house for using it as a meth lab, he rents an apartment unit. It’s at this unit that viewers get to witness some of Jesse Pinkman’s most tragic moments.
Jesse’s decision to date his landlord’s daughter, Jane Margolis, kickstarts an unfortunate streak of events. The two enable each other’s drug habits, causing them to sink further and further into addiction. The Wayfarer 515 plane crash can also be traced back to the apartment unit since it’s Jane’s decision to blackmail Walt that makes him refuse to save her life when she overdoses. Consequently, Jane’s father Donald, an air traffic controller, causes the crash when his judgment gets affected by grief.
J.P. Wynne High School
Walt starts out as a chemistry teacher at this J.P. Wynne High School before choosing to cook meth. It’s revealed that Jesse also used to be a student at the school and that’s how he and Walt were introduced to each other.
The high school serves as a reminder that poor choices come back to haunt those who made them. Walt walked out of Grey Matter Technologies, a company he founded, only for it to grow to be worth a billion dollars. Despite being overqualified, he is now forced to work as a Chemistry teacher. The high school also plays an important role in connecting Walt and Jesse. If there was an alternate world where Walt never met Jesse at J.P. Wynne, then he probably wouldn’t have become a drug lord.
Mexico is the home of the Juarez Cartel, whose members, Don Eladio, Bolsa, The Cousins, and Tuco, sure do a great job of terrorizing both Walt and Gus Fring. It’s also where Tortuga, the unluckiest turncoat of all time, hails from.
Due to Mexico’s constant association with the drug trade in real life, it was important for it to be included on the show. Mexico is always seen as the source of threats. Walt and Jesse attempt to kill Tuco because he wants to take them to Mexico. The Cousins also come from Mexico in order to kill Hank. Luckily, Gus eradicates the menace by wiping out the entire cartel using poisoned tequila.
Unspecified Desert Near Albuquerque
Before getting a permanent lab, Walt and Jesse keep driving their RV to the desert to cook from there. The desert is also where “Ozymandias,” what fans refer to as the best episode in Breaking Bad is set.
Places where the grind began always hold special places in the hearts of those who’ve made it and that’s the desert for Walt and Jesse. Working from there allows them to make their first few batches in peace without interference. It’s no surprise that Walt chooses to hide all his money there in the final season. Sadly, it all ends badly as Hank gets killed and Walt’s money gets taken away.