Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico and it is the seat of Bernalillo County.
In 2017 it had an estimated population of 558,545, and the Albuquerque metropolitan area has a population of over 900,000.
Albuquerque is well-known as a vibrant, colorful city with deep roots in Spanish and Native American cultures, and it can be said to have a distinct Southwestern character.
The city sits 5,312 feet above sea level in a part of the Rio Grande rift in the high Chihuahuan desert, offering gorgeous views of the Sandia Mountains.
The city has four-season weather with 310 days of sunshine, allowing year-round enjoyment of outdoor recreational opportunities and the extraordinary scenery in the surrounding areas.
Albuquerque has had a very varied history. Not the least interesting time was when America’s World War II nuclear weapons project was situated nearby.
The cost of housing in Albuquerque is considered to be relatively affordable by U.S. standards, with properties for a large range of prices for potential home buyers to choose from.
State: New Mexico
Nickname(s): "Duke City"
Population: 558,545 (2017 estimated)
Land: 187.7 sq. miles
Urban: 189.5 sq. miles
Metro: 9,297 sq. miles
The city shows its historical Spanish influence in its culture, architecture, arts, and cuisine. While there is never a shortage of activities, Albuquerque might be said to have a slower pace than many similarly-sized U.S. cities. Native Americans have had an impact on Albuquerque and still do—they make up 5 percent of the city’s population.
The Old West can still be found in Albuquerque—cowboy hats and boots are a common sight, even in the city center—and horseback riding is a popular activity, with many horse shows taking place here. Residents have other opportunities for relaxation as one-quarter of the city is covered with public parks.
Perhaps Albuquerque’s most famous event is the annual International Balloon Fiesta, the largest gathering of its kind in the world—watching over 500 balloons fill the brilliant blue sky is a visual treat for residents and tourists alike. Many museums here provide a look into the past, for example The Petroglyph National Monument which features Native American rock carvings that date from the 1300s.
Route 66, the first highway to connect Chicago with Los Angeles, runs through Albuquerque, and guided tours along the highway visit historic spots. There are the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, and the city also has performing arts venues and galleries. The New Mexico Philharmonic calls Albuquerque home.
Albuquerque has a total of 242 neighborhoods with a variety of types of housing—including many structures made of adobe. The city is sometimes divided in four quadrants: Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest. Here are a few significant areas.
Downtown Albuquerque has been undergoing revitalization that has improved the quality and aesthetics of the area. Anybody wanting active nightlife should look no further, and restaurants, bars, clubs and theaters are to be found in abundance. The area also doubles as the city’s central business district, and there are several high-rises here.
Old Town, located in the Northwest Quadrant, is the original Albuquerque, the heart of the city. The historic significance is persevered by the museums in the area. Residents and tourists enjoy the area’s many restaurants, art galleries, historic sights, and shopping opportunities. Perhaps the most noteworthy building here is the San Felipe de Neri Church, dating from 1793.
Nob Hill is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Albuquerque. It is centered on Commercial Avenue, which was formerly part of Route 66. It is a great place in which to eat at interesting restaurants or just to take a walk. It is also a popular destination due to its well-deserved reputation for fascinating stores and trendy night spots.
High Desert is a master-planned community in the Northeast Quadrant at the very edge of the city’s urban area. Being at the foot of the Sandia Mountains, and at quite a high elevation, it commands some excellent views. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the most affluent areas of Albuquerque, with some fancy houses having price tags approaching the $1 million mark.
From 2012 to 2014 the Albuquerque real estate market dropped substantially, but it managed to pull out of the slump and continue to climb. It was very strong in 2018, with record prices, and it is predicted that this will continue, with homes not staying on the market for long. The proportion of home owners in the city is higher than the national average, and housing here is considered to be relatively affordable. It may help that New Mexico’s property taxes are among the lowest in the U.S.
Among the most popular Albuquerque neighborhoods, Downtown, Old Town and Nob Hill score pretty highly, but even here you may find some properties that suite your budget. Other districts that are tipped as good places to live include Peppertree-Royal Oak, Tanoan East and Vista Del Mundo which have some spacious and luxurious properties on offer. Heritage East and Seven Bar North are two of the many recommended neighborhoods with less expensive options.
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Property sales figures source: the Greater Albuquerque Association of REALTORS®, January 2019.
Albuquerque Public Schools is the largest public school district in the state, and as of 2010 it had a total of 139 schools and an enrollment of 95,000 students. It manages 13 high schools and many middle and elementary schools. There are also several charter schools here, for example the Career Enrichment Center, which is a magnet school, and La Academia de Esperanza, which was founded to help local ‘at risk’ youngsters.
Albuquerque is the main location of University of New Mexico, which had more than 26,000 students in 2017 and is a public research university. The city is also home to other educational establishments such as Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, Central New Mexico Community College and theological school Trinity Southwest University.
Albuquerque is reported to be one of the slowest-growing large cities in the USA, based on a range of factors. However, as it lies on the New Mexico Technology Corridor, there are probably enough high quality employers here to keep the economy buoyant. For example Sandia National Laboratories is based here, and aerospace and technology leader Northrop Grumman operates a factory not far from town. There are also lumber mills and work connected with the nearby Kirtland Air Force Base.
In May 2018 the unemployment rate in Albuquerque was below both the state average and the national average. New Mexico as a whole, which its rich natural resources, is expecting a steady future, and Albuquerque will see a piece of that. In recent years Albuquerque has seen high ratings in some lists of good cities in which to live and do business.