"I think New Mexico was the greatest experience from the
outside world that I have ever had." - D.H. Lawrence
Albuquerque and New Mexico
- Wired Magazine has listed Albuquerque as one of
46 leading world-wide high-tech hot
spots. Santa Fe also made the list.
"New Mexico boasts more PhDs per capita than
any other state in the US, many drawn to
Albuquerque by the variety of research
facilities within a 20-minute drive of the
city. (Others head 60 miles northeast to Santa
Fe - see page 268.) Sandia National
Laboratories is best known for engineering
design work in the nuclear weapons industry;
the Air Force Phillips Laboratory specializes
in lasers and space and missile
technology. Local talent has been able to turn
high-level research into commercially viable
products; perceptual computing software maker
Muse Technologies and compound semiconductor
developer Emcore were spun out of Sandia. The
area is also home to one of the world's
largest chip fabs, owned by Intel and lured
here in the '80s in the wake of federal
defense spending cutbacks. Research into
nanomachines and data visualization holds
promise, and new work in photonics at Sandia
may lead to the next revolution: computing at
the speed of light."
Milken's Institute Study ranks Albuquerque
number one in high-tech growth.
"A recent national study published by the
Milken Institute found that the fast-growing
high-tech sector was "increasingly determining
which metropolitan areas are succeeding and
which are failing." By this measure,
Albuquerque can be listed among those that are
succeeding. In the Milken analysis, high-tech
activity could explain 65 percent of the
difference in economic growth among various
metropolitan regions during the 1990s. And it
found that "research centers and institutions
are undisputedly the most important factors in
incubating high-tech industries." The
institutions provide local companies streams
of cutting-edge knowledge, as well as streams
of smart labor. New Mexico is, of course, the
home of two national laboratories, Sandia and
Los Alamos, and Kirtland Air Force Base houses
the Air Force Research Laboratory, Phillips
site. The University of New Mexico is one of
the country's premier research institutions.
In Santa Fe, the Santa Fe
Institute is a hotbed for scientists and
other deep thinkers."
- The popular book The Rise
of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work,
Leisure, Community and Everyday Life by Richard Florida
ranks Albuquerque first among medium-sized cities
in "creativity". Rankings were done according to a "creativity"
index which is a combination of: patents per capita, social
and ethnic diversity, and number of workers in "creative"
jobs (e.g. scientists, engineers, writers, artists). The
book argues that the key to economic growth for cities
in the new economy lies in their ability to attract and
maintain a "creative class". (Santa Fe was also ranked first among
Center for CS Grads
- New Mexico Site Search
"It is all very beautiful and magical here, a quality which cannot
be described. You have to live it and breathe it, let the sun bake
you into it. The skies and the land are so enormous, and the details
so precise and exquisite that wherever you go you are isolated in the
world between the micro and the macro, where everything segues under
you and over you and the clock stopped long ago." - Ansel Adams
"My only regret about dying is not being able to see this
beautiful country anymore, unless the Indians are right and my spirit
will walk here long after I am gone" - Georgia O'Keefe
Year-round good weather and easy access to the outdoors (the Sandia
mountain wilderness is 20 minutes from UNM) make Albuquerque an
incredible area for outdoor enthusiasts. New Mexico has a great
diversity in landscapes and wildlife, containing six of the seven
"Life Zones" on Earth. The Sandia Mountains, for example, contain
arid, rocky areas, high alpine meadows (with lots of wildflowers in
the spring and summers), and forests of aspen and oak.
New Mexico also has many attractions you can only find in the
area including: slot canyons, other-worldly rock formations, Anasazi ruins, and plunging river gorges. Given this, it's not
surprising that Outside
Magazine, has its headquarters in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Popular
outdoor activities around Albuquerque include:
- Hiking and Mountaineering: New Mexico Mountain Club, based in
Albuquerque, is very active, sponsoring a variety of technical
climbing activities along with hiking, skiing and snowshoeing
activities. There is also a Rio Grande Sierra Club which
organizes hikes and is active in protecting wilderness in NM. See also the
the book "100 Hikes in New Mexico" by Craig Martin and the web page Explore New Mexico.
- Downhill Skiing: Skiing is good at Sandia peak, great at Santa Fe, and amazing at Taos (chosen as one of the top 10 resorts
in North America by Skiing Magazine). There are also several great
"undiscovered", family-friendly ski resorts. Sipapu, nestled in the mountains of
Northern New Mexico, about two hours from Albuquerque, is one of the
nicest of these. Ruidoso, about
two hours southeast of Albuquerque, and Red River about 3 hours north
of Albuquerque is another. See also the comprehensive web site Ski New Mexico
- Cross Country Skiing: New Mexico Cross
Country Ski Club has headquarters in Albuquerque. Also check out
the book "Cross Country Skiing in Northern New Mexico"
- Rock climbing: World-class sites are within a short
drive of Albuquerque. Bernard Moret has online guides to Palomas Peak and U-Mound Bouldering
and some pictures. If you
want to take a class, check out Stone Age Climbing Gym. Also
check out the book "Hikers and Climbers Guide to the Sandias" by Mike
- Mountain Biking: There are many scenic and challenging
mountain biking trails very close to UNM. It's possible to bike from
the University area to the Sandia foothills, bike on the foothill
trails for a hour or two, and get back to UNM in time for an 11
o'clock class. Sandia peak ski area
rents bikes and hosts races during the summer season (you can take a
lift up the peak and then bike down). The store Two-wheel Drive lists
trails and events in the area. Also check out the book "Mountain
Biking in Albuquerque" by Nicole Blouin for trails along the Rio
Grande and in the Sandias.
- Cycling: New Mexico Touring
Society is a bicycling club of recreational riders based in
Albuquerque. GASP is an
Albuquerque-based advocacy group for bicycle transportation. Critical Mass rides also occur
here. See also the Albuquerque city page on cycling and the UNM page
- Rafting and Kayaking: This page
gives information on rafting and kayaking in New Mexico, which ranges
from challenging to pretty mellow. Adobe Whitewater Club is an
Albuquerque-based organization dedicated to kayaking and
- Caving: Sandia Grotto
is an Albuquerque-based organization for exploring the many caves of
"Every calculation based on experience elsewhere fails in New
Mexico" - Lew Wallace, Governor of Territorial New Mexico,
- For the section on event listings, click here
Museums, Galleries, and Art Venues
The music scene in Albuquerque is very eclectic, encompassing
pop (the Shins), ska (Giant Steps), jazz, goth, alternative
and classical. Some major links:
The Southwest Film Center on the UNM
campus shows a great selection of alternative movies, short film
festivals and student movies. Admission is $3 for students so you've
got no excuse not to go. (phone is 277-5608)
The Guild (address: 3405 Central NE , phone: 255-1848)
is a great art house cinema. They usually show only one or two
independent films at a time but their taste is impeccable.
14 Downtown is a great place to see more mainstream movies
Flicks on 66.
Premiere magazine called this "the strangest little film
festival in the world". Aspiring filmakers are given one digital
camera and seven days to create a short film on any topic. These
films are then screened on the Eighth day at the 66 premier night (in
Albuquerque, with a population of about 500,000 contains about 1/3 the
population of New Mexico. The two greatest strengths of the city are
its diversity and its proximity to the great outdoors. Albuquerque is
ethnically, culturally and economically diverse and the cost of living
is low enough to support a surprisingly large population of artists
and writers. The city has a certain funkiness and authenticity that
you won't find in most other cities of its size.
Albuquerque also borders the Sandia
Mountain Wilderness, the Rio
Grande (which has a 20 mile bike path through the forest of
cottonwood trees that borders it), and the Petroglyph National Monument. All of
these areas are within a 20 minute drive of UNM.
- Bike Map
of the city. The city of Albuquerque has started spending
1 million dollars a year to build and maintain bike trails
and bike lanes. If we use these new trails for transit
and advocate for more spending, this amount will increase.
Call 768-BIKE for a free laminated bike map.
is info on bus route maps, schedules and transit planning
info. All busses are equipped with bike racks.
- Motorcycling is also a popular, fun, alternative
way to travel in the southwest. Southwest
bike is a popular magazine and Easy
Riders is a popular store and repair shop.
has a train station in downtown Albuquerque. There is a sightseer
lounge and Native American tour guide for the trip
between Albuquerque and Gallup. Service extends to
all major east and west coast cities.
Shopping and Commerce
"In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico one sprang
awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly, and the old
world gave way to the new." - D. H. Lawrence
Rio Grande Sierra Club
A great organization for exploring the natural beauty of New Mexico.
Also active in combating urban sprawl.
1000 Friends of New Mexico
Education and advocacy group for growth management in New Mexico.
Grassroots organization advocating for growth management in New Mexico.
Revitalization Although some of the projects planned in this
article have already come to fruition, the article still gives a good
overview of the long-range plans and goals for a vibrant,
pedestrian-friendly downtown Albuquerque.
NM Wilderness Alliance
Excellent group devoted to wilderness protection in New Mexico.
NM Rails Community based action
group to bring rail service back to New Mexico
"On the license plates in New Mexico it reads: "The Land of
Enchantment". And that it is, by God ... Everything is hypnagogic,
chthonian, and super-celestial. Here Nature has gone Gaga and
Dada." - Henry Miller
- Turqoise Trail -
national scenic byway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe
- Ojito Wilderness Study Area
"Imagine a place where goblin shaped hoodoos sit side by side with
three hundred year old Ponderosa pine trees. A place where ancient
Pueblo ruins hide in the rough geography and dinosaur fossils and
petrified wood sometimes reveal themselves to the watchful eye. Now
imagine that this place also boasts rare plants that haven't
even been described by science, unique horizontal petroglyph panels,
stunning redrock mesas, multi-colored badlands, and wildlife as
diverse as golden eagles, porcupines, and mountain lions. If you are
willing to go hiking in the proposed Ojito Wilderness, you won't
need to imagine such a place. It will be burned into your memory
- Santa Fe - voted second
favorite arts destination in the U.S. after New York City in a poll by
"AmericanStyle" magazine. (Recently Albuquerque has also made the top
- 10,000 Waves in
Santa Fe is an authentic Japanese-style onsen (hotsprings
resort). They offer hot tubs, massage, facials, spa treatments, Watsu
aquatic massage, Japanese hot stone massage, Thai massage, Anma Hand &
Foot, Yasuragi Hair & Scalp, and Four Hands, One Heart. This is a
great place to go after a day of skiing, snowshoeing or hiking at Ski Santa Fe (it's right off the
road back into town).
- Taos - a city with breathtaking
natural beauty. Nearby Taos Pueblo has been continuously inhabited
for about a thousand years.
- Madrid, NM - an old ghost
mining town between Albuquerque and Santa Fe which is currently
undergoing a revitalization
- Gallup, NM is 2 hrs east of
Albuquerque. It's location between the Zuni and Navajo reservations
makes it one of the most authentic centers for Indian arts and crafts.
Also has a great historic downtown and lots of outdoor activities.
For info on outdoor adventures, check out the book, "The Gallup Guide:
Outdoor Routes in Red Rock Country", which you can buy at "Coyote
Books and Scoreboard" in downtown Gallup.
- El Morro National Monument
or Inscription Rock is 2 hrs east of Albuquerque. This rock has a
watering hole at its base which made it an important stopping point
for early travelers. Countless Native Americans, Spanish
conquistadors, and wester settlers all left records of their travels
carved into the rock.
"Here was the General Don Diego de
Vargas, who conquered for our Holy Faith and for the Royal Crown all
of New Mexico at his own expense, year of 1692."
- Las Vegas,
NM Quaint town with many old victorian houses and hotels and a
- Acoma Pueblo - the oldest
inhabited city in the United States - located on top of a spectacular mesa
- Jemez is a beautiful town with
some great hiking and hotsprings. There are some hotsprings you can
find out in the woods and there's also a great bathhouse
- Corrales is an old
farming community just on the edge of Albuquerque
- Quarai is a huge, beautiful
Spanish church and mission dating back to the 1600's (~1 hour drive
"An edifice in ruins it is
true, but so tall, so solemn, so dominant of that strange, lonely
landscape, so out of place in that land of adobe huts, as to be simply
overpowering. On the Rhine, it would be a superlative, in the
wilderness of the Manzano it is a miracle" - Charles Lummis's comments
on Quarai, 1893
- Gran Quivira is another Spanish
mission also dating from the 1600's. The main church there was never
- Very Large
- The Lightning
Field near Quemada, New Mexico. (Description here)
- Los Ojos is
an ancient Hispanic town in beautiful Northern New Mexico that is now
the home of a sheep raising and knitting cooperative. There is a also
a quaint general store, coffee house and bed and breakfast.
- Gila National Forest in
Southwestern New Mexico is one of the first wilderness areas
established in the world. This is a very large, beautiful
and remote wilderness. Make sure you watch your gas gauge carefully
when driving in the area as towns are few and far between. While
there, make sure you do the Catwalk
- Silver City is a great
little town near the Gila Forest with many historic shops and hotels.
- Ruidoso - home of Billy the Kid
- Flagstaff, AZ , gateway to
the Grand Canyon is about 6 hours from Alb. by train.
- The Grand Canyon - what more can be said about it?
To get there, you can take Amtrak from
downtown Albuquerque to downtown Flagstaff and then take a bus from
Flagstaff. Driving directly takes about 7 hours.
- Best of the
West lists attractions throughout the west. Many of these are
less than a day's drive from Albuquerque.
"There is something in the air of New Mexico that makes the blood
red, the heart beat high and the eyes to turn upward. People don't
come here to die - they come here to live and they get what they come
for." - Francis Aubrey, a famous traveler on the Santa Fe trail
Events around Albuquerque
Events around New Mexico
This section lists selected events for each season in Albuquerque and
Santa Fe. Many of these events are also found in the book "City Smart
Guide to Albuquerque" by Brendan Doherty. All phone numbers are for
area code 505. To find events for a particular date, first try these
Festival Internationale Since 1984, the National Institute
of Flamenco has presented this annual festival of flamenco
music and dance which is the largest of its kind in the U.S.
The festival occurs in mid June.
- Every Thursday from June to August is Summer Music Nights in the
Shakespeare in Santa Fe is New Mexico's oldest professional theatre
company. Every summer they perform in the
beautiful outdoor setting of St. Johns College.
The New Mexico State Fair
takes place in Albuquerque in early September. This is surprisingly fun.
Burning of Zozobra
occurs on the weekend following labor day in Santa
Fe. The general fiesta event on this day dates
back to 1712 but the burning of Zozobra started in
"Zozobra is a hideous but harmless
fifty-foot bogeyman marionette. He is a
toothless, empty-headed facade. He has no guts and
doesn't have a leg to stand on. He is full of
sound and fury, signifying nothing. He never
wins. He moans and groans, rolls his eyes and
twists his head. His mouth gapes and chomps. His
arms flail about in frustration. Every year we do
him in. We string him up and burn him down in
ablaze of fireworks. At last, he is gone, taking
with him all our troubles for another whole
year. Santa Fe celebrates another victory. Viva la
Fiesta!" - A.W. Denninger
- Balloon Fiesta Annual
ascension of thousands of hot air balloons on the
outskirts of Albuquerque, occuring in late
October. This is an ongoing event since 1971 and
is the largest mass ascension of hot air balloons
in the U.S.
Every Sunday in May is Arts in the Park (call
768-3483 for details)
Spring is the time to view wildflowers in the alpine meadows on the
peak of the Sandias (Bring a windbreaker).
Spring is also the main season for city-sponsored music and art events.
Gathering of Nations
Powow takes place in mid-April at "The Pit" at UNM