I grew up in New Mexico, and the older I get, I have less need for contemporary culture and big cities and all the stuff we are bombarded with. I am happier at my ranch in the middle of nowhere watching a bug carry leaves across the grass, listening to silence, riding my horse, and being in open space. -Tom Ford
The Best Thing About Albuquerque.
New Mexico Lifestyle for Less
Sometimes known as The ABQ, Albuquerque is deeply southwestern. Green Chilis are the staff of life here and it's not uncommon to eat them at all three meals in a day. The beautiful New Mexico culture is also deeply woven into the city experience with pueblos inside and outside the city borders. Nestled in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains (Spanish for watermelon due to the color) the surrounding landscape is stunning and those who love the outdoors get to experience this southern extension of the high plains area on a daily basis.
Here's a list of pros about living in Albuquerque from a local:
- Relatively low COL
- No real traffic
- Not too big of city but definitely not too small with plenty of room for growth.
- Pretty good food options for a city this size
- The abundance of easily accessible hiking trails
- Best weather I've experienced outside of CA and Hawaii, the summers and winters are both tolerable.
- If I get bored, LA is only a 90 minute flight away.
For more reviews of what living in Albuquerque is like from locals check out: The Buzz
The Worst Thing About Albuquerque.
Public Schools are ranked low and crime is high across some neighborhoods. It’s also fairly remote. The ‘International’ in The Albuquerque International Sunport is a fib. There are no international flights out of the ABQ and direct flights to big US cities are limited. The drive to Santa Fe is under an hour but driving to any other cities (Denver, Phoenix, Texas cities etc.) is quite a haul. Speaking of driving, the sprawl of the city makes a car a necessity.
Here's a review of Albuquerque from a local with more cons than pros:
Cons - Bad job market, crime, lack of true 'big city' amenities like international flights or IKEAs, public schools are very hit or miss (mostly miss) compared to most other metro areas, places like restaurants/bars/shops close really early and many aren't open on Sundays, drivers here are a dangerous combination of unskilled+fast+road ragey
Pros - weather, breweries, hiking, lack of traffic, LCOL, lots of fun road trippable places within a couple hours drive
Lifestyle Of Albuquerque
Albuquerque is well known for its polarizing suburban vibes that people either love or despise. If you’ve had unpleasant experiences with suburbia, check out other cities. This family-friendly suburban culture brings with it more zoos and museums than nightlight spots.
Outdoor recreation is unsurprisingly big in this part of the state due to the beautiful surrounding countryside. Hiking, mountain biking, and even skiing, when the weather permits, are available in the local Sandia Mountains. The Rio Grande River runs through the city center and is popular with kayakers and river hikers.
Finally, as was mentioned, New Mexico culture is deeply woven into the city with green chilis your new best friend.
Check out the calendar of city events: https://www.visitalbuquerque.org/abq365/events/
Workstyle Of Albuquerque
While known as a big destination for retirees, people certainly find work in Albuquerque as is demonstrated by its low unemployment numbers. Healthcare and education are big in this part of New Mexico, with Sunbridge Healthcare and The University of New Mexico big employers. An increasing number of startups have also started to relocate to the area recently, taking advantage of the low costs and local vibes. The commercial district running along the old Route 66 has plenty of service jobs. Generally, low costs of living and relatively high wages provide residents a way to make it work.
Why You Should Move Here Now?
High Desert Experience
If a suburban atmosphere with access to a wide range of outdoor activities sounds appealing, Albuquerque should be on your list when considering your next move. Just remember the sunscreen and a car with good mileage.