Sunny skies, a picturesque desert landscape and centuries of history are just a few good reasons to relocate to Albuquerque, New Mexico. With over 550,000 residents (903,000 in the entire metropolitan area), the most populated city in the state is also the fastest growing city in the state. Known for its high elevation—about 5,000 feet above sea level—Albuquerque is bordered by mesas to the west and the Sandia Mountains in the east , while the Rio Grande runs right through the city.
Albuquerque is home to the state’s flagship school, the University of New Mexico (UNM), and its 35,000 students, most of whom live off campus. But while there’s a definite college culture in the city’s northeast quadrant, Albuquerque is better defined by its ethnically rich mix of active families and young, single professionals. The city’s biggest employers include UNM, Sandia National Laboratories, Kirtland Air Force Base and Intel.
The old Route 66, now Central Avenue, divides the Albuquerque down the center, while the BNSF (Burlington North Santa Fe) rail tracks divide it horizontally, establishing four city quadrants. Central to the city is the walkable, trendy Nob Hill neighborhood, full of UNM students, artists and young professionals who relish the area’s galleries, locally-owned shops and Route 66-era architecture and signage. Many upper-class families occupy Eastside’s foothills, while Westside’s parks, schools, coffee shops and affordable housing make it an attractive neighborhood for young families. Most locals commute by car, but ABQ Ride —the city of Albuquerque’s transit department— provides excellent bus routes around town. The city is also progressively bike-friendly, with over 400 miles of on-street paths and multi-use trails.
From its 18th-century Old Town Plaza, historic adobe buildings and dormant volcanoes to the world-renowned New Mexico Arts and Crafts Fair, Albuquerque satisfies history, art and nature buffs alike. Residents enjoy attractions such as the San Felipe de Neri Church, the Albuquerque Museum and Rio Grande Valley State Park. They city’s annual International Balloon Fiesta is a signature event that draws thousands every year.