Albquerque – A Spanish-flaired Metropolis Steeped in Desert Beauty
Location: A Modern Desert Oasis in the American Southwest
Straddling the Rio Grande in central New Mexico, Albuquerque is a desert metropolis with a warm, dry climate. This “great river” has been the city’s lifeblood since it was founded by the Spanish in 1706, though the arrival of the railroad in the 1880s boosted regional growth dramatically. To the east, the Sandia Mountains rise above the desert floor and provide a stunning view, especially at sunset. The most popular hiking destination in the state, these peaks are also accessible by North America’s longest aerial tram.
Business: A Technological Haven and Travel Hub
Though sometimes overshadowed by the state capital of Santa Fe, Albuquerque is New Mexico’s only true urban center and hosts its only major airport. With a metropolitan area population approaching one million, the city sits in the middle of the New Mexico Technology Corridor, and is a hot destination for high-tech energy and engineering companies. Major employers in the region include Sandia National Laboratories, Kirtland Air Force Base, and the University of New Mexico. Albuquerque is frequently ranked amongst the top American cities for business and technology in publications including Forbes and US News & World Report.
Culture: A Distinctive Blend of Civilizations
Centuries of history have left Albuquerque with some truly unique sights. Many buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries remain today, and much of the newer construction has been done in the Pueblo Revival style, taking inspiration from the Spanish missions of old. Those looking to bring a piece of local charm back won’t be disappointed. The city is home to numerous artists, and owing to its unique heritage, you’ll find a wide selection of Native American and Southwestern art, jewelry, and crafts. Albuquerque is also well-known for the International Balloon Festival, the world’s largest hot air balloon festival, which takes place over nine days every October.
Activities: Get the Full Southwest Experience
Take a stroll or guided tour through the original settlement of Old Town and appreciate the adobe architecture, or brush up on your regional knowledge at one of the interesting museums. Shops and galleries are never far off, and downtown (or “New Town,” as the locals know it) features some of the city’s best nightlife. Adventurers may wish to escape the urban bustle and make for one of the many nearby hiking trails, or strike out into the desert for camping and exploration.