So what's Albuquerque like?

What is it like to live and work in Albuquerque? What’s the economy like there? The weather? (is it really a dry heat? :D). What’s the lifestyle like?

Any and all you can think of will be appreciated. I’m trying out different places in the lower 48 to move to (well, those that have branch offices so I can transfer).

I don’t know, I took a right turn when I got there and didn’t see much…

Giggle! Cute, but you’re no help…:smiley:

I was born there, and have been back several times over the years. I love it. It’s nestled in the mountains, so wherever you are, you’re able to look and see mountains in the distance.

It’s spread-out city, so if you don’t like the feel of big cities, Albuquerque might be different for you. It’s also not *that *large either (only about 500,000 people in the metro area). It’s one of the oldest cities in the country too, meaning there is a lot of history to be seen. There’s a nice Old Town historic district that I’ve been to, but it’s been a while. It’s pretty easy to get around in as well. One thing that distinguishes it from other big cities is that people love to drive themselves around, since the city is so spread out and there is plenty of free parking.

I’m not sure about the economy, but it does have a budding film industry. In Plain Sight, USA’s Witness Protection Program series, is filmed there. I think Albuquerque also handled some of the filming arrangements for The Book of Eli.

I wish I could offer more, but I don’t live there; just wish I did :wink:

I just want to congratulate the OP on spelling the name right. You’ll fit in at least. :slight_smile:

I’ve been living and working in ABQ for the last year.

Although the terrain is mostly desert scrub, it is farther north than you might imagine and higher elevation than you might imagine (about a mile high). I find it to be similar to the climate in Denver in some ways. It’s very dry, and there is a fair amount of snow and cold in the winter. There is some decent skiing in the nearby mountains in winter.

If you like desert scrub, this is the place for you! Full disclosure, I don’t appreciate the terrain AT ALL. They call it the Land of Enchantment, 'cause the Land of Tumbleweed didn’t really sound as good. Their major attraction is the annual balloon festival, where the goal is to get up off the ground and float away, 'cause there’s really not much to do on the ground.

As for the food, they are very proud of the fact that they drown absolutely everything with “Red or Green?” - chili’s that is. Once you’ve numbed your taste buds with this stuff you can’t taste anything anyway. They sell it by the gallon.

As has been stated, the actual area is rather contained, you are never more than a few miles from the edge of town it seems. Once you are out of town, well - desert scrub.

There is at least one major government contractor employer, Sandia National Laboratory, located mostly on the Kirtland Airforce Base. Good work if you can get it. A decent local university - they were in the NCAA Tournament. So, there is some college town vibe around the campus.

I run into a lot of people who moved here so it is an ‘attractive’ place. But for me, it’s just not my bag.

While I wasn’t born there, I was pretty much raised entirely in ABQ, though I haven’t been back on a permanent basis since I left for college 5 years ago.

Weather: I still miss the New Mexico diet of perpetual sun. It does get hot in the summer, but not excessively, and it is dry so it’s really quite nice. But you can probably look up stats for these sorts of things.

Culture: The Hispanic influence is definitely prominent, but generally more so in the less affluent neighborhoods (south, south-west areas mostly). Still, it’s something most Albuquerqueans are proud of, especially the food, which is a somewhat less Americanized Tex-mex. Generally, it’s distinguishable by the heavy green chile (not chili) consumption, as mentioned earlier.

There’s also the Balloon fiesta which really is an amazing event. It’s the biggest in the world, and a huge tourism draw.

Economy: I can’t speak too much to this area, but I’m under the impression the greater Albuquerque area is doing quite well, especially in the tech area. There’s Sandia Labs, and a huge Intel plant in neighboring Rio Rancho. The film industry is growing too, as previously mentioned.

Overall, my experience growing up there was largely positive. Being in Michigan right now, I miss the sun and the huge mountains first, the actually decent Mexican food second. I would not be opposed to moving back in the long term.

I grew up in Santa Fe, about an hour’s drive from ABQ, and we went there quite a bit.

Albuquerque has a great, GREAT zoo, a great museum of natural history, and a pretty decent aquarium. If you keep your eyes and ears open, you’ll encounter tons of arts festivals, ethnic festivals (not just Mexican and Indian; one day we found a Czech festival going on), the previously-mentioned balloon fiesta, and so forth. It’s also pretty central to the state, so it’s an easy drive to other nearby attractions, like the Santa Fe Opera. So there’s always something to do.

I loved the New Mexico climate. Quite mild, occasionally hot but nice and dry, usually some snow in winter. One thing I didn’t appreciate until I moved away was the lack of “natural disasters”; you won’t encounter any earthquakes, hurricanes, or tornadoes in NM, and severe hail or snow are extremely rare. At most, there may be flash flooding after spring rains, which is easy to avoid, and fires in the more wooded areas to the north. Most days are just darn pleasant.

As far as lifestyle, I can’t speak directly for Albuquerque, but when I left Santa Fe, it was beginning to feel like the only people who lived there were either quite rich or quite poor, with not much in between. ABQ has more expansive suburbs than Santa Fe, so the situation there is probably different. A lot of actors have homes in New Mexico, and the cities are small enough that you’ll probably run across a few.

In one of my favorite lines ever observed on this board, somebody made the analogy of Albuquerque: The Poor Man’s Mos Eisley

…whenever Hollywood needs a post-apocalyptic landscape for filming, where do they go? Albuquerque! :smiley:

If you were to ask my wife we will never be home until we are back in Albuquerque. I transferred out to Chandler 2 years ago but we want to go back eventually.

To the Op, The best way to describe Albuquerque is to call it a town which thinks it is a city. The Metro area is pretty spread out because the only thing stopping growth is the Indian reservations to the north and south and the mountains to the east. There are lots of little communities and the demographics vary with each. There are country club areas within a couple of miles of farms. Whatever your lifestyle there is a neighborhood for you.

Economy: Cost of living is fairly cheap compared with the Phoenix metro area where I am now. Housing is fairly affordable still and there is whatever you can afford. From million dollar homes to 70K homes to 300K homes on multiple acres of land. It all depends on where you want to live. Albuquerque has a pretty good rep for high tech with Sandia National Labs, Intel, Solar cell manufacturing companies and Biopharmaceutical companies being there. A lot of manufacturing plants moved to NM for what I believe was cheap labor and cheap water.

Weather: Being at the base of the mountain there is snow in the winter and temps can reach low hundreds (rare) in the summer. It is a “dry” heat and swamp coolers are standard for cooling in the summer as opposed to refrigerated air. Albuquerque itself sits in a valley and the west side of town is higher and sits on a mesa or plateau. Because of this on the west side there are predominant winds in spring and fall which cause the tumbleweed invasion which everyone hates but once they die down the weather is great.

Wow. I kind of rambled there but I still consider Albuquerque home and look forward to returning one day.

I used to go out to Sandia National Labs pretty frequently back when they were managed by Bell Labs. Seemed like a pretty nice place. We too the cable car up to the top of the mountain once for dinner. Intel has a fab in Rio Ranchos. I actually own land in Rio Ranchos - if you want to buy a lot at the corner of Cactus and Cactus, PM me. I’m sure if you dig a well deep enough you can get to water.
My father bought this 45 years ago. It might be worth something to my grandchildren or maybe great grandchildren.

Love your username and sorry to all of you who answered that I took so long to get back and thank you!

Thanks, that’s actually a big help. Actually it sounds a lot like Anchorage, the “People like to drive themselves around” and “spread out” parts especially.

You may also like my choice of footwear. :smiley:

What are the good and bad neighborhoods, please? I’ve been doing some research on apartments and home prices and some of them don’t seem very expensive. A lot of them seem downright inexpensive, $2000 bucks for a 4 bedroom with a pool? Wow. Has to be in a semi-yucky neighborhood, yes? No?

I had no luck googling “neighborhoods to avoid in Albuquerque” and so on. Thanks again all!

You’ll want to avoid the south valley. I think the area just east of the fairgrounds is something to avoid too (Might be called the Trumbull area). The University slums are just south of UNM, it’s not particularly bad, but lots of students/congestion. Nicer areas are Nob hill and also along the foothills of the Sandia mountains, but that’s not cheap). I’m sure that there are plenty of other nice and not so nice areas.

I don’t think $2000 is particularly cheap rent in Albuquerque. If that’s your budget, you’ll be able to get a pretty nice place.

It speaks volumes about the state of the housing market that I had to think for a second to make sure it wasn’t $2000 for the whole house. Add one more zero there and you can get an okay house in many parts of the country.

$2000 rent for a house is cheap? Maybe it is for CA people but not for most of the US.

My mom’s side of the family is almost entirely in ABQ, so I spent quite a bit of time there on prolonged visits, particularly when I was looking for work in an off-school term. It is spread out and, IME, the transit system sucks, but at least there is one. Culturally it’s growing too. When I was growing up, it was mostly caucasian, hispanic and Native American, and the only place you’d see any flavour of Asian was at the the Chinese food buffet, but the diversity of the city is definitely expanding.

If you’re into outdoor activities, it’s a fantastic place to be particularly if you’re into rock climbing, hiking, cycling and, in the winter, skiing (although I’m not sure about cross-country trails). Bonus: unlike Alaska and most of Canada, it’s so dry that the bugs aren’t nearly as abusive, so you can actually really enjoy the outdoor activities without being slathered in deet. There are also some top-notch public pools and plenty of soccer and baseball, and I can recommend a martial arts club (if it’s still there). There is a weekly newspaper that carries The Straight Dope, which we all know is critical. When I was there last there was also a rep cinema, so you could still get your dose of foreign film if you’re so inclined. I think it was in the Nob Hill area.

If you’re really into foreign foods that niche is still growing. There are a few food co-ops where you can find more exotic ingredients though. Santa Fe is a reasonable drive away and that’s where you’ll find a great opera facility and a bit more challenging theatre fare.

Coming from a super-diverse city of 2 million, I must confess that I get a little stir crazy in ABQ over time because it still feels small townish, but the pros certainly outweigh the cons and I could happily retire there.