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Albuquerque, New Mexico 87111
101 Facts about Albuquerque
Albuquerque was founded in 1706 and is one of the nation's oldest inland communities.
Albuquerque's elevation of 5,326 feet makes it the highest metropolitan city in the United States.
Albuquerque was named for the Duke of Albuquerque, Viceroy of New Spain. The first ‘r’ in the spelling was later dropped.
Albuquerque is surrounded by Indian Pueblo country, which is the oldest farming civilization on the North American Continent.
Albuquerque, geographically, is the hub of the southwest. Between Houston and Los Angeles, over 32 million people live within an 800 mile radius of Albuquerque.
The city of Albuquerque encompasses 188 square miles and is the 33rd largest city in the United States.
Albuquerque encompasses a metropolitan population of over 700,000 people.
Albuquerque, located in Bernalillo County, has over one half the state's population living in it.
The median age of Albuquerque’s population is 35 years old.
Over 4.4 million tourists visit Albuquerque each year, and most come back for another visit.
Albuquerque has two daily newspapers, 32 radio stations, 8 television stations and digital cable television service.
According to the Weather Bureau, Albuquerque receives 78% of all available sunshine.
Albuquerque averages 8.2 inches of rainfall annually. Adding this to low humidity and plenty of sunshine, we have year round pleasant weather.
There are definite changes of season in Albuquerque. Winter is crisp, occasionally cold and snowy, but the sun is usually warm. Summer temperatures go into the high 90s. With over a mile of elevation and fresh, clean air it is seldom an oppressive heat.
Albuquerque receives its water from underground water tables, which are over a mile deep and are recharged from the melting snow in the mountains north and east of town.
The Sandia Mountains at the eastern edge of Albuquerque are the first mountains west of the Mississippi River.
The 2.7 mile aerial tramway located five miles northeast of Albuquerque is the longest in North America. It has the third longest span in the world, and whisks visitors from the base of 6,600 feet to the top of Sandia Peak at 10,678 feet.
The 10,678 foot high Sandia Crest, which is the high point of the mountains, offers a panoramic view of more than 11,000 square miles.
"Old Town", which was founded in 1706, is a favorite spot for both tourists and residents and has many quaint shops and candlelit restaurants.
Old Town Plaza has been a crossroad since it was founded in 1706. Four flags fly over The Plaza: Spain, Mexico, the United States of America, and New Mexico. There are two cannons displayed in the plaza that have been buried by Confederate soldiers after a brief conquest of the plaza during the Civil War. Merchants, soldiers, Indians, explorers, and pioneers have paused for food and drink in this shady, old-world plaza.
Built in 1706, the walls of the San Felipe Church, in Albuquerque's Old Town, are more than 7 feet thick. The church was used as a fortress against the Indians.
The San Felipe Fiesta occurs every spring (late May or early June) and brings back the days of religious procession, dances in the plaza, piñata parties, and gran bailes (dances).
Albuquerque is known throughout the nation for its Christmas decorations. Many homes use traditional “luminaries” – small paper sacks with a layer of sand for weight and a votive candle for light. During Christmas, it is known as the “City of Little Lights.” Typically, there is also a special hot air “Balloon Glow” that occurs in the evenings as well.
Albuquerque is one of the cultural centers of the Southwest. There are many museums to visit, including the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, National Atomic Museum, Albuquerque Museum, University of New Mexico Fine Art Museum, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History.
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque features a varied and interesting display showing the rich tradition of folk art from New Mexico’s 19 Indian Pueblos. The center includes an Indian market, gift shop and restaurant, plus a museum.
The Albuquerque Little Theater was founded in part by I Love Lucy star Vivian Vance, who was not born in Albuquerque but claimed it as her hometown.
In August 2005, Albuquerque hosted the largest, most diverse poetry festival in the world - the National Poetry Slam. The home team won that year out of 75 teams total and over 22,000 fans showed up for the 4 day long competition.
Albuquerque is home to the New Mexico State Fair each September. The Fair ranks number one in the nation in per capita attendance and number six in overall attendance. It includes outstanding exhibits of livestock, agricultural products, industrial improvements, fine arts, Indian and Spanish arts and crafts, and horse racing with pari-mutual betting.
Albuquerque is a craftsmen and central artist center and is the home of the New Mexico Arts and Crafts Fair at the State Fairgrounds each June.
Albuquerque is home to one of the largest outdoor flea markets in the southwest. Every Saturday and Sunday, the State Fairgrounds turns into acres of fun shopping and eating. It takes hours of fast walking to see most of the offerings available, so be prepared to a lot more than one day to see everything.
Albuquerque also has the following facilities for large assemblies: Tingley Coliseum 15,500; Johnson Gym 8,800; University Arena (The Pit) 17,324; Kiva Auditorium 2,300; Convention Center 4,500; and the Sunshine Theater 1,200.
The Journal Pavilion, which seats over 12,000 concert attendees, has become a regular venue for many famous names. This outdoor theater is known to have sold out shows and is often the location for many day long multiple band festivals.
The Sunshine Theater is a now concert venue converted from Albuquerque’s first large movie theater, built and designed in 1924 by architect Henry C. Trost. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Albuquerque boasts the 2,200 seat Popejoy Hall, located on the University of New Mexico campus. It is acoustically outstanding and is the site for musicals, lavish stage productions, and touring company productions.
Albuquerque is home to the University of New Mexico, founded in 1889, and is centrally located in town. The approximate enrollment is 33,000, which includes the Main Campus as well as the three Branch Campuses.
The University of New Mexico (UNM) is probably best known for its departments of Medicine, Engineering, Anthropology and Romance Languages.
UNM has regular newspaper called the Daily Lobo, which is written and distributed by the journalism degree students attending the university.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid in honor of UNM Scientist Barbara Cohen.
At the end of May in 2006, The Anderson School of Management MBA team from UNM won first place for the second year in a row at the Cadillac Case Study Competition in Detroit, MI. They are the first team ever to have achieved this honor.
Architecture at UNM is perhaps the most unusual of any college campus in America. All of the campus buildings integrate traditional Pueblo with ultramodern design.
The Lobos of UNM are consistent leaders in football, basketball, track, golf, swimming, and other intercollegiate sports, both nationally and in the Mountain West Athletic Conference to which they belong.
The UNM basketball arena, The Pit, has a capacity of over 18,000. It is not unusual for there to be only standing room at most games.
Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) offers a variety of classes at five campuses. It specializes in vocational and technical training, but also offers general core curriculum courses and awards both certificates and Associate degrees. It also works in conjunction with the CNM Workforce Training Center to offer career enhancement courses and workshops.
CNM has a weekly newspaper named the CNM Chronicle that features written articles and photographs from various students attending the college.
The Albuquerque Public School system (APS) provides educational services to over 87,000 children across the city, and is one of the largest school districts in the United States.
In addition to Albuquerque's public schools, there are over fifty private and parochial schools at nursery, elementary, middle, and high school levels.
Albuquerque is home to the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute. It offers comprehensive programs in business, electronics, engineering, lithography, drafting, food preparation, telecommunications, and optical technology for young American Indian men and women.
The Albuquerque Public Library System includes a multi-million dollar main library and 17 branch locations.
Albuquerque was the home of famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle who wrote, "If we could have only one house, then it has to be in New Mexico, and preferably in Albuquerque." Pyle's home in Albuquerque is now a memorial library.
Virtually all nationally affiliated adult and youth groups or organizations are represented by at least one branch or chapter in Albuquerque.
At 351 feet tall, the Bank of Albuquerque tower is the tallest building in Albuquerque. It has 22 floors and is located in the Downtown area of the city.
Albuquerque's Rio Grande Zoo is one of the best in the Southwest. It has elephants, monkeys, cats, giraffes, polar bears, sea lion, and much more. It also has a children's zoo, fowls, reptiles, rain forest and an exhibit of near extinct animals.
Albuquerque is located at the junction of two interstate highways: East/West Interstate 40 (Coronado Freeway) and North/South Interstate 25 (Pan American Freeway).
The Albuquerque Ride and Rapid Ride local bus lines have regular service 7 days a week, minus key holidays, that provide mass transportation for the city. There is also a special weekend bus line that runs an 11 mile route from Downtown Albuquerque to key areas in the Northeast Heights and the Westside.
Albuquerque is on the Amtrak System, providing fast railway service.
The NM Rail Runner Express is in Phase 1 of 2 in its development. Currently it runs from Albuquerque to Belen and Bernalillo, but is expected to eventually also run all the way to Santa Fe.
Albuquerque is serviced by both the Continental Trailways and Greyhound bus lines.
Albuquerque is the hot air balloon capital of the world and annually holds international competitions where a minimum of 700 hot air balloons come to compete.
Albuquerque was the home of Larry Newman, the late Maxie Anderson, and Ben Abruzzo, all three of which were pilots of the world famous “Double Eagle II,” the first manned balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
In October of 2005, the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum was opened. Owned by the city of Albuquerque, it is dedicated to presenting the history, science, and art of the hot air balloon.
The Albuquerque International Sunport has U.S. Customs facilities for international charters and general aviation.
The Albuquerque Sunport is serviced by American West, American, Delta, Continental, Frontier, United, Southwest, and Northwest Airlines. Interstate service is provided by Mesa Airlines and Shuttle America.
Albuquerque is the location for the Federal Aviation Air Route Traffic Control Center responsible for air traffic in a five state area.
Albuquerque’s airport terminal building is most distinctive with its handcrafted tin and woodwork, mosaics of Indian ceremonial dancers, floor tiling in Navajo rug designs, and traditional pueblo architecture.
The nuclear capital of the United States is Albuquerque, and much of the nations nuclear research is conducted or supervised here.
The Federal Government maintains approximately 70 agencies and departments in Albuquerque.
In 1971, Albuquerque was designated a Port of Entry by the US Treasury Department Bureau of Customs.
The charming city of Santa Fe, only 62 miles north of Albuquerque, claims the distinction of having the oldest capitol building in the United States – The Palace of the Governors, which was built in 1610.
Albuquerque has an elected full-time mayor and nine part-time city councilors with a chief administrative officer. Bernalillo County has five elected commissioners.
Kirtland Air Force Base, the 6th largest Air Force Installation in the U.S., is located in Albuquerque.
Albuquerque has an abundant supply of natural gas for fuel supplied by the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) from rich oil gas fields in the San Juan Basin in the northwestern part of the state.
Approximately 40% of the uranium reserve in the United States is found in deposits 70 miles west of Albuquerque.
More than 700 manufacturing companies are located in Albuquerque, producing everything from food products and electrical components to industrial heaters and heavy trailers.
Over 100 Albuquerque firms are directly concerned with research, sales, development, and production of space age contractors.
Microsoft was founded in Albuquerque by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975. They lived in the Sundowner Motel for a period of time while they developed the basic operating system and later shared office space in the downtown area with the Bank of the West.
Also from Albuquerque is Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.
Albuquerque is home of the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes, which play at the recently built Isotopes Park located at Avineda Caesar Chavez and University Avenue.
The Albuquerque Isotopes were named partially because of the city’s nuclear contributions but also because of a Simpsons episode where the Springfield Isotopes threaten to relocate to Albuquerque.
Albuquerque is home to the Scorpions, a professional hockey team, which play at the Santa Ana Star Center completed in the fall of 2006.
Albuquerque also has a professional basketball team, the Thunderbirds.
The University Arena, The Pit is consistently ranked one of the top venues in the country to see a sporting event. Recently Sports Illustrated named it the 13th best sport’s venue of the 20th century.
Albuquerque has more than 150 parks. Los Altos Park is the largest with an enclosed heated pool, baseball and softball diamonds, tennis courts, a lighted golf course and children's recreational area.
Golf is virtually a year-round sport in Albuquerque. There are courses in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and the East Mountains.
Albuquerque is one of the few cities in the nation where you can play tennis in the middle of the winter in the city, or ski on excellent mountain slopes less than 30 minutes away.
Sandia Peak Ski Area, located on the eastern slopes of the Sandia Mountains, contains 200 skiable acres and is serviced by four chairlifts.
For hunters, the State Game and Fish Department has imported animals from Africa. Deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and other varieties of game are abundant.
Ditch fishing for trout is available year-round in many of the irrigation and drainage ditches in the city and suburbs. The state keeps these waterways stocked for “easy” fishing.
The Jemez Mountains, one hour from town, has trout fishing its crystal streams.
Cochiti Dam and Reservoir, located 45 miles northwest of Albuquerque, offers water sports and recreational facilities.
Elephant Butte, located 150 miles south of Albuquerque, is the largest lake in the state. The reservoir has 240 miles of shoreline and is open to recreational activities.
In the Sandias, you can go hiking to explore the wreckage of the TWA Flight 206 that occurred in 1955. It is also possible to see this from the Sandia Tramway Aerial line.
Albuquerque has over 350 bike trails, routes, and lanes, many of the trails over 20 miles long.
Albuquerque is known worldwide for being a great location for endurance training because of the high altitude.
On the Albuquerque Westside is Petroglyph Park. Spanning 7,236 acres, it contains the world's oldest art form and serves as a fascinating natural art gallery.
Sandia Cave, 25 miles northeast of Albuquerque, contains artifacts of primitive men dating back approximately 25,000 years.
Prehistoric Man lived and hunted at the Folsom Campsite near Albuquerque more than 10,000 years ago.
The pueblo, which Coronado conquered and used as winter headquarters in 1541, is a state monument and is located 20 miles north of Albuquerque.
Situated on the north bank of a huge arroyo at the base of the Sandia Mountains lie the archaeological remains of the Spanish Colonial Village of Carnuel. It is the only stabilized ruins of a community from this period in the United States. The site is now controlled by the city and is called “Singing Arrow Park.”
Located on the top of a 350 foot mesa, 60 miles west of Albuquerque is Acoma, the “Sky City,” which is home to the Acoma Pueblo Indians.
The five extinct volcanoes that appear on the horizon west of Albuquerque are a rare and distinct landmark.
Within a few hours of Albuquerque are nine national monuments (Aztec Ruins, Bandelier, Capulin Mountain, Salinas, Ft. Union, El Morro, Pecos, White Sands, and Gila Cliff Dwellings) and a national park (Carlsbad Caverns National Park).
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