Albuquerque and New Mexico

New Mexico is a gorgeous southwestern state, rich with the cultural history of its Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo residents. Albuquerque, home of the University of New Mexico, combines the attractions of a city with amazing outdoor opportunities.

Quality of Life
Albuquerque is an affordable city with a reasonable cost-of-living for housing, food, and transportation. Fellows can afford to live relatively close to campus in nice apartments or rental homes, and also can find good housing options further away if they have family or want greater privacy or open space. It is easy to get around the city - traffic is low and many fellows and faculty cycle to work. Albuquerque is a friendly community that is welcoming to people who are diverse in culture, ethnicity, religion, age, sex, and sexual orientation. Albuquerque has 300 days of sunshine a year, and cool but mild winters.

Cultural Activities and Dining
Albuquerque and New Mexico are rich in art, culture, and diversity. Albuquerque's main drag, Central Avenue (formerly Route 66) is home to many art galleries featuring contemporary, indigenous, and international artists. The Nob Hill, University District, Edo, International District, Downtown, Old Town, and Uptown neighborhoods are populated with many restaurants offering a variety of types of cuisines, including New Mexican (famous for red and green chile), Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Greek, Bistro, wood fired pizza, diners, American bistro, several micro-pubs, and many other types of cuisine.
New Mexico is culturally diverse; approximately 45% of the population is Hispanic, 40% non-Hispanic White, and 10% Native American; there is also a small but prominent Vietnamese population. This diversity is reflected throughout the city's unique and historically-rich neighborhoods (such as Barelas or the South Valley neighborhoods), shopping centers (such as the Pro Ranch Market or Ta Lin Market), cultural centers (such as the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and National Hispanic Cultural Center), and fiestas (such as the annual Gathering of Nations Powwow, Nizhoni Days, Albuquerque Latino Film Festival, Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and many others).
Several farmers markets are held weekly throughout the city from April to October and feature local produce, dairy, honey, and baked goods grown or produced by New Mexico farmers. Cooperative farming and gardening are readily available. A full-range of top quality music is performed in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, including operas, Broadway shows performed by national touring companies, rock, pop, jazz, blues, and country artists on national tour. There is an excellent salsa and flamenco dance scene; Salsa under the Stars at the Albuquerque museum is a summer favorite.
Native American history in New Mexico dates back to the first millennium; New Mexico now is home to 19 pueblos and 3 tribal reservations. Many of the pueblos are open to the public to share in the celebration of their feast days; some of the pueblos provide historical and educational tours on an on-going basis. The Gathering of Nations, the largest Native American Powwow in North American, is held in Albuquerque every spring.
Santa Fe and Taos also are homes to major art colonies and art galleries. The art of Georgia O'Keeffe, who made her home in New Mexico for many years, can be seen in her Santa Fe gallery, as well as at Ghost Ranch on Abiquiu, where she lived and painted for many years.

Outdoor Activities and Sports
The breathtaking Sandia Mountains punctuate the Albuquerque landscape to the East, and are accessible via a 15-minute drive from the University of New Mexico campus. A variety of outdoor activities are available in the Sandia mountains, including hiking, rock climbing, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, camping, and many others. The beautiful New Mexican high desert and Colorado plateau borders the city to the West, and includes Petroglyph National Monument where designs and symbols were carved into volcanic rocks by Native Americans 700 years ago and are viewable today. North of the city are the great mountains of the Jemez and Pecos Wilderness, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Bandelier National Monument, and numerous other national monuments and parks, most of which have are available for recreational activity, including backpacking and camping. South of the city one can explore the Manzano mountains, White Sands National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns, Lincoln National Forest, and the Gila mountains, which include ancient cliff dwelling remnants of the Anasazi people. Our high-desert climate makes outdoor activities enjoyable year round. In the winter, outstanding skiing is accessible for day or half-day trips; one can literally ski in the morning and golf, cycle, run, or ride in the afternoon. There are hundreds of miles of paved, gravel, and mountain bike paths in Albuquerque and the surrounding areas, which combined with Albuquerque's sunny climate make the location ideal for outdoor recreation almost any time of the year. The Albuquerque Metro area also boasts over 400 miles of designated cycling trails and paths, making it one of the most bike-friendly cities in the United States.
Albuquerque also has something to offer to sports enthusiasts. The Albuquerque Isotopes, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, make their home at Isotopes Park, one of the best minor-league baseball stadiums in the country. The University of New Mexico also boasts several nationally ranked athletic programs, including men's basketball, men's soccer, baseball, and volleyball. UNM is also home to the world-famous basketball arena, The Pit. The Pit and its atmosphere have been ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top Twenty Sporting Venues of the Century.

Other Attractions
In Albuquerque one can visit the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the Albuquerque Biological Park, numerous museums, art galleries, performance halls, and great restaurants. An hour north of Albuquerque is the capital city of Santa Fe (an easy drive or train ride on the Railrunner), known for its world class opera house, art, culture, and cuisine. Within Albuquerque one can take a ride on the Sandia Tram (longest tram in the U.S.), visit the Petroglyph National Monument, and explore the biodiversity along the banks of the Rio Grande. New Mexico also is home to the Roswell International UFO Museum and Research Center, a must-see for UFO aficionados. Fodor's ranked Albuquerque among the top 25 travel destinations for 2013, and it has been ranked among the top 10 US cities for clean air.

Photo by Kevin Hallgren