Moving to Albuquerque? Here's What You Need to Know Before You Go.
Are you planning a long-distance move to the exciting and vibrant city of Albuquerque, New Mexico? Whether you are relocating to the area for a new job, want to enjoy some amazing sunshine, are a fan of world-class museums, or can't wait to try some New Mexican cuisine, there is something for everyone in Albuquerque. Find out for yourself why Albuquerque is a popular place to start again.
Weather in Albuquerque
Albuquerque is known for long, hot summers with plenty of sunshine and cold, short winters. Typical lows in the winter drop down to around 27 degrees, and highs in the summer don't often exceed 95 degrees. The city is dry throughout most of the year.
The warm season runs from May through September, and the short winter season only lasts from the end of November through mid-February. Because of the lack of precipitation and hot temperatures, the area is a popular place for those who want to avoid the cold or suffer from respiratory concerns.
Albuquerque is the 32nd largest city in the United States, with well over half a million residents. It has a population density of 2,975 people per square mile, which is significantly higher than the New Mexico average as well as the nation's average. The median age in the city is 36, and families make up most of the population.
While English is the predominant language in the city, over a quarter of the population speaks Spanish as their primary language. Just over half of the residents were born in the state, with the rest being transplants from other states or countries.
The city is considered fairly diverse, with the largest part of the population identifying as Hispanic. A large number of residents identify as Caucasian, Asian, Black, or American Indian.
History of Albuquerque
Centuries of history have shaped the city of Albuquerque. Native Americans in the area made it their home thousands of years ago. The city was officially founded in 1706 and has continued to grow into a metropolitan area of more than one million people. Signs of the historic Albuquerque still remain today, including rock carvings at Petroglyph National Monument, Old Town Plaza, and the iconic Route 66.
The history of Albuquerque dates back to 2,000 B.C. By the time Europeans came into the area, the Pueblo people had developed a sophisticated culture and mastered a number of skills in masonry, arts and crafts, and ceramics. These traditional techniques have been passed along through generations and are still practiced today.
The first European visitors to the area were Spanish explorers who came in 1540 under the leadership of Francisco de Coronado. By the 1700s, King Philip of Spain granted permission for a group of colonists to build a city along the banks of the Rio Grande. The site they chose provided great protection, a good site for trade, and plentiful irrigation for crops. The city was named by the colony's first governor in honor of the Duke of Albuquerque back in Spain.
Some of the oldest historic buildings in the city that were erected by early Spanish settlers still stand today in Old Town Albuquerque. Many of the thick adobe buildings as well as the church still stand and are the site of many cultural events and local celebrations.
Living in Albuquerque
The city of Albuquerque is a city that is culturally rich and naturally beautiful. It lies at the crossroads of two of the biggest highways in New Mexico and is a popular place for relocations for resident looking to enjoy an ever-growing economy and artists living.
When you live in Albuquerque there, is plenty to keep you busy from day to day. Those who enjoy culture and history will love spending their days in the Old Town area or at one of the many Native American historic sites around. The area also features a zoo, an aquarium, gardens, and other places where you can enjoy some activities with the entire family.
While the nightlife is considered relatively calm compared to other cities, Albuquerque does have a bustling culinary scene. The area is home to nationally recognized breweries and wineries, and local red and green chile peppers feature prominently in the cuisine.
Most residents also take advantage of the outdoor recreation options available in the area, such as hiking, mountain biking, and skiing in the nearby Sandia Mountains. Others enjoy kayaking in the Rio Grande river or walking and cycling along its wooded banks.
Even though the city has one of the highest property tax levels in the state, the cost to live there is less than the national average. This includes lower costs for rent, utility, and groceries.
Hottest Neighborhoods in Albuquerque
Whether you are a foodie, a sports fan, a nature lover, or a history buff, you can find the perfect neighborhood to suit your personality in and around the city of Albuquerque. While it is a very populous city, it is also one of the safest cities in New Mexico, making it the perfect place to relocate to. Below are some of the most popular neighborhoods to check out in the city of Albuquerque.
Located along the famed Route 66 is the Nob Hill neighborhood, which offers access to both the University of New Mexico and a number of restaurants and specialty shops. The area is a mix of uniquely designed homes, condos, apartments, and townhouses. The average price for homes in the area is $260,000. It is the perfect neighborhoods for college students, families, and professionals.
If you are looking for a safe area with great schools to raise a family, North Valley may be the best neighborhood for you. The area boasts extremely low crime levels, large homes, good schools, farms, and even horse ranches. The average cost for homes in the area is significantly lower, averaging around $178,000. The neighborhood is lined with trees and lush green scenery.
Another safe neighborhood in the city with a smaller population and heavy community feel is the neighborhood of Tanoan. Homes in the area are in gated communities, providing more of an exclusive feel. Homes are significantly more substantial and more expensive than those in other Albuquerque neighborhoods, with a median home cost around $366,000.
By far one of the largest neighborhoods in the city, Heritage East is a family-friendly neighborhood with one of the lowest unemployment rates around. Homes run around $300,000, and the neighborhood is known for its safe streets and beautiful natural surroundings.
If you are looking for a quieter and more peaceful area that is suitable for both families and up-and-coming professionals, Bear Canyon may be the best fit for you. The typical single-family home is considered reasonable, with an average price of around $240,000. The area also has many apartment options, shopping centers, schools, and numerous outdoor activities.
Best Schools in Albuquerque
Many highly rated schools in the city of Albuquerque have offerings for vocationally inclined students as well as those who are college-bound. Even though the schools are quite large, there are still many extracurricular opportunities for them to take advantage of. The following are some of the highest-rated schools in the area:
- North Start Elementary School: North Start Elementary School scores well above other schools in the area, with most of the students exceeding expectations on tests. The school is also known for its broad diversity and favorable student to teacher ratio.
- Explore Academy: Explore Academy is a public charter school known for excellence in reading and science. It offers grades 6 through 12.
- ABQ School of Excellence: The ABQ School of Excellence is a public charter school that covers grades 1 through 12. The school boasts over 50% AP course preparation, high test scores, and advanced STEM courses.
- La Cueva High School: This highly rated public high school in the city of Albuquerque offers racial diversity and a range of advanced college-prep courses for over 1,200 students. Students at La Cueva High School test higher than average for the state.
Albuquerque Job Forecast
The job outlook for the city of Albuquerque is extremely promising, which is great news if you're relocating for a job. It is the largest city in the state of New Mexico with only a 4.7% unemployment rate. While that is slightly higher than the national average of 4.1%, for the size of the city, it is very good. The average paid hourly wage in the state is just over $22.00 per hour. The average hourly rate for architects and engineering workers is over $44.00 per hour, which is higher than the average in these fields.
The many large employers in the city span the areas of healthcare, education, aviation, research, and law enforcement. Some of the top employers in the city include the following:
- The University of New Mexico.
- Presbyterian Hospital.
- Sandia Corporation.
- Da Vita Medical Group.
- Albuquerque Police Department.
- US Veterans Medical Center.
Service-related careers, especially in the health care industry, are some of the fastest-growing occupations in the area. Some of the positions seeing the highest level of growth in recent years include the following:
- Personal care aides.
- Physical therapists and assistants.
- Home health aides.
- Nurse practitioners.
- Operations research analysts.
- Preschool teachers.
- Occupational therapists.
- Medical sonographers.
- Machine feeders.
Public Transportation in Albuquerque
While the city of Albuquerque is primarily a commuter town, it does offer some forms of public transportation, especially through the downtown areas.
One of the most popular modes of public transportation around the city is the ABQ Ride bus line. You can enjoy monthly passes at a discounted rate, pay as you go, or be part of the business transportation program if you work for a qualified employer.
If you are looking for transportation to and from Albuquerque, the Rio Metro Transportation system takes you from the city to Santa Fe or Belen, with 15 stops along the way. The commuter train is one of the quickest ways to move between cities in the area.
Bicycling is a popular mode of transportation throughout the city, which provides numerous bike racks to safely store your bike. The public bus also allows you to transport your bike for longer distances.
Festivals and Fun
You'll find no shortage of events and festivities in and around the city of Albuquerque. Whether your passion extends to music, food, film, art, or dance, you can find something for yourself or your whole family at one of the many area events held throughout the year.
Albuquerque Summerfest Series
All summer long, you can join in some community fun in the downtown area. Throughout the summer, the city hosts a number of musical contests as well as dance events, food and drink offerings, and children's activities. The Summerfest Series is not reserved exclusively for the downtown area though; some events are also held on Route 66, in the Westside area, and in the Heights.
During the summer, you can enjoy the exciting activities and celebrate the country's independence at Balloon Fiesta Park as part of the city's Freedom 4th event. This popular event includes a wide range of entertainment performers and a nightly fireworks display. Kids can enjoy rock walls, face painting, and jump houses. You can also spend the day tasting the sweet and savory options from local area food vendors. Popular favorites include roasted corn, hot dogs, burgers, fried chicken, and ice cream.
Albuquerque Renaissance Faire
Take yourself back to the Middle Ages at the Renaissance Faire put on by the Society for Creative Anachronism. The event takes place at the Ballroom Museum and includes areas such as The Tavern, a Commoner's Food Court, an Artisan Village, Living History, and the Children's Realm. Other attractions include live music, a royal procession, a pet fashion show, a Crawl to the Crown baby race, and armored combat league battles. Bring the kids to enjoy some fun for the whole family.
Twinkle Light Parade
If you enjoy the holidays most of all, you will want to make sure to head down to the annual Twinkle Light Parade. The Twinkle Light Parade was voted the second best parade in the country and features floats, bands, and antique cars all lit up in the spirit of the holiday. Bring the kids down to Nob Hill so they can catch a glimpse of Jolly Old St. Nick himself.
International Balloon Fiesta
If you are looking to enjoy a one-of-a-kind event in the city of Albuquerque, you need to make sure to put the International Balloon Fiesta in your event calendar. The event is the largest of its kind and features more than 500 balloons being launched and floating through the city skies. There are also a number of events and competitions to witness during the festivities, making it a truly unforgettable experience.
Albuquerque is known as one of the best Southwestern states for what is now known as New Mexican cuisine. The cuisine is a fusion of Pueblo Native American foods, Hispanic classics, and Mexican dishes. The cuisine has also been influenced by other cultures, including those of France, Italy, the Mediterranean, and Portugal. These influences combine with the cowboy chuck wagon and saloon offerings to create a global cuisine that people come from all over to try.
The food in Albuquerque is unlike any other Latin cuisine, with an emphasis on Mexican spices and flavors, red or green New Mexico chile peppers, or a combination of both. In fact, the chile peppers are so prevalent in the cuisine that red or green is a common question asked when you place an order. If you are not a fan of spice, don't worry — it is totally acceptable to ask for your chile peppers on the side. Don't forget to order some of the sweet treats as well such as the deep fried sopapillas.
If you aren't a fan of spicy food at all, there are plenty of other popular food offerings. You can travel throughout the city and enjoy fresh brick-oven pizzas and pit-smoked barbeque as well as Vietnamese, Mediterranean, Italian, Greek, Spanish, and Chinese cuisine. The city also has a number of steakhouses serving prime cuts and perfectly aged beef.
So what is the ideal way to try the best cuisine that the city has to offer? Check out one of the many food festivals and events held throughout the year, which can allow you to get a taste of New Mexican cuisine and find your own personal favorites.
Fun Facts You Might Not Know About Albuquerque
Even if you think you know everything that there is to know about the city of Albuquerque, you might just find some facts below that surprise you.
- The city is home to the longest aerial tramway in North America, which runs along the Sandia Mountains.
- The peak of the mountains, known as Sandia Crest, will provide you with a view of 11,000 square miles.
- With an elevation of 5,314 feet above sea level, Albuquerque is the highest metropolitan city in the United States.
- It is home to Cohiti Dam and Reservoir, which is a wakeless lake that is popular for fishing and wind sailing.
- Racing greats Bobby and Al Unser, Jr. call Alburqurque home.
- It has two major highways that intersect at the center of the city.
- The University of New Mexico has the most unusual architecture of any college campus in America.
- It is home to the 6th largest Air Force Base in the country, Kirtland.
- There are more than 172 city parks in Albuquerque, all with hiking and biking trails.
- The largest lake in the state is south of Albuquerque and boasts 240 miles of shoreline.
- In an effort to preserve the city's underground aquifer, the city practices strict water conservation practices.
- The New Mexico state gem is the turquoise.
- The city only sees an annual rainfall of 8 to 9 inches.
- Route 66 was originally used for riding camels.
- It is home to the Best Friends Pet Cemetery, which allows owners to be buried alongside their pets.
- There are not any tall buildings in the city because the fertile Rio Grande Valley makes it hard to build high rises.
- In the 1920s, the New Mexico Lobos actually used a wolf pup as their mascot, until it bit a child.
Things to See and Do in Albuquerque
Whether you are looking for the perfect outing for a date night or are trying to find the perfect family outing, there is something for everyone in the city of Albuquerque.
Go for an Afternoon Fishing Excursion
If you are looking for a fun and exciting day of fishing, you can stop by Tingley Beach, which is a series of ponds that were built to divert water that ran through the Rio Grande. The area was originally a popular swimming hole but was closed off in the 50s and is now one of the most popular fishing spots. The lake is the perfect spot to spend the whole day. The area has a restaurant, nature trails, paddle boats, and a model boat pond.
Take a Ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway
If you are a fan of heights, you have to take a ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway. You can get high enough above the city to see amazing views of both the mountains and the cityscape below. The tramway runs along the top of Sandia Peak and is the longest in the world. Once at the peak, you can get some fantastic pictures from the observation deck, which is over 10,000 feet above sea level.
Take a Stroll Through Old Town
A must-see attraction in the city of Albuquerque is the historic Old Town Centre. The area was founded in 1706 and is home to San Felipe de Neri Church, the oldest building in the city. The area also features a host of shops, restaurants, museums, and beautiful old adobe buildings. To see all there is to see, you should plan to spend the day. Be sure to stop by the Candy Lady store and the Rattlesnake Museum.
Visit the Albuquerque Zoo
The 64-acre Albuquerque Zoo is part of the city's Biopark, which is home to a number of other attractions. The zoo features an abundance of wildlife and exotic species from all over the world. It is known for its many big cat exhibits and African wildlife, including multiple zebras.
Explore the Rio Grande Nature Centre
If you enjoy viewing wildlife, especially rare bird species, you will want to plan a trip to the Rio Grande Nature Centre State Park. You can walk through a multitude of trails to see hummingbirds and other amazing aviary creatures, as well as the other wildlife that inhabits the Rio Grande area. If you want to learn more about a particular species, you can talk to the knowledgeable staff.
Soak Up Some Knowledge at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
If it's culture and education you seek, a trip to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center will help you learn more about the native Pueblo Indian Culture. You will be mesmerized by the unique collection of pottery and art representing the Pueblo people. The center also has numerous hands-on activities and hosts traditional Native American dances that honor Mother Earth. You can take a pottery class or learn more about gourd painting. Before you leave, make sure that you try one of the award-winning Tewa tacos.
View Over 15,000 Prehistoric Petroglyphs
Nothing is more unique than witnessing the first types of communication and storytelling in the area. The Petroglyph National Monument is home to more than 15,000 prehistoric petroglyphs from the Native American and Hispanic cultures that inhabited the area. They are a unique pictorial representation of human life dating back more than 12,000 years. It is the perfect place to take the kids for a day of history.
Check Out the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
What could be more fun and exciting for the kids and adults alike then taking a trip back through time to discover the beginning of the universe more than 13.6 billion years ago? Check out more than eight exhibitions at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science that takes you from the beginning of time through the ice age. You will see the giant dinosaurs that once ruled the earth and see the aging effects on a volcano.
And that's not all you will get to experience! The museum is also home to a planetarium and two full floors that are dedicated to the exploration of space and astronomy. A section funded by Microsoft takes you through the history of the personal computer.
Moving to Albuquerque
Moving to the city of Albuquerque comes with many perks, but knowing a few things will help you fit in and better enjoy all that the city has to offer.
Sunshine As a Mainstay in the City
To live in the city of Albuquerque, you better enjoy the sunshine — and lots of it. The city sees an average of 310 sunny days during the year. Even though snow is rare in the city, you can enjoy some sunny days skiing in the winter by traveling up the Sandia Mountains, which can receive up to 11 inches in any given year.
It Can Be an Extremely Affordable City
The cost to live in the city is about 5% lower than the national average, allowing its residents to enjoy a high quality of life. Median home prices run around $185,000. Monthly rent, meanwhile, averages around $800, which means Albuquerque has a 14% lower cost of rent than the national average. It is an affordable place to settle down and raise a family.
It Is Home to Many Startups and Tech Companies
Funding programs like the Technology Research Collaborative and the State Investment Council's Catalyst Fund make Albuquerque a great place to start a business, especially for tech companies. Many of the tech startups are software companies for industries such as healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and government. The city is home to RiskSense, Lavu, Inc., and TriLumina.
The Film Industry Is Growing Too
Due to its abundant sunshine and attractive tax incentives, Albuquerque is becoming part of the ever-growing film industry. It has been the site of such blockbusters as "The Avengers," "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot," and "Independence Day: Resurgence." It is also the location of a few popular televisions shows, including "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul."
Residents Are Proud of Its Indigenous Heritage
There are over 23 Native American tribes in the state of New Mexico, and the central location of the city makes it the hub of local tribal heritage. Many of the tribes will offer tours or provide one-of-a-kind day excursions for an inside look at their culture and rich history. There are 19 pueblos in the area that feature museums, shopping centers, and Native American cuisine.
It Is the Perfect Place to See the Stars
Due to its high elevation above sea level, clear skies, and light pollution, you can stargaze in the city almost any night of the year. If you are looking to get the best view of the sky, you can view it through a telescope at the University of New Mexico Campus Observatory, which is free to the public every Friday night. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science hosts stargazing events every month to provide you a gorgeous view of the starry sky.
You Can Find Art Almost Everywhere You Go
Albuquerque is celebrated as one of the top local art scenes. Galleries like the 516 Art Gallery provide artists with a place to hold exhibitions, take part in events, attend workshops, and listen to lectures. The Richard Levy Gallery alone hosts over 700 events every year, meaning you can always find something you are interested in. You also can discover art by simply wandering around the city, thanks to its many colorful murals and public art displays.
No matter what is pulling you to the city of Albuquerque, it is the perfect place to settle down and raise a family, find employment, or bring your art to the masses.
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