Located in Northern New Mexico, Albuquerque is the most populous city in the state and the seat of Bernalillo County. Its attractive mountain landscape and range of pleasant seasonal temperatures make it popular for active adults seeking a serene retirement. Retirees can enjoy the larger scale shopping and outdoor recreation of a large urban center as well as the small-town charm of small boutiques, craft breweries and wineries, and local festivals.
Climate & Geography
Albuquerque is at the crossroads of several ecoregions and experiences a warm, dry desert climate. Summers are long, warm to hot and with very little rain. Due to Albuquerque having one of the highest elevations of any major U.S. city, hot summer temperatures are made tolerable by the air movement. Winters are shorter but can reach freezing temperatures, and measurable snowfall reaches about 10 inches per year. Residents can expect nearly 300 days of sunshine each year, with most cloudiness in the winter.
The Sandia Mountains are the predominant feature visible in Albuquerque, and the Cibola National Forest is to the east of the city while the Petroglyph National Monument is to the west. The city is divided into four distinct quadrants, with the northeast experiencing rapid housing expansion since the 1950s.
Recreation, Culture, & Entertainment
Albuquerque has a distinctive combination of urban amenities and natural outdoor recreation. The Cibola National Forest just east of the city is a 1.5 million-acre park with an elaborate trail system include the popular La Luz Trail, which climbs over 3,300 feet in nine miles. The Petroglyph National Monument is a 17-mile canyon with a variety of prehistoric rock art images. Outside of hiking, the Sandia Peak Tram is a 2.7 mile tram ride through the Sandia Mountains, making it easy to view the pristine mountainscape without the strain of hiking.
Residents can also enjoy a variety of options at any one of the city’s many central shopping districts. Old Town, founded in 1706, is now a plaza with local shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Nob Hill also has local boutiques, while Downtown’s Gold Avenue hosts specialty shops and street fairs throughout the year. ABQ Uptown is a high-end shopping mall, and Coronado Center has over 150 brand-name stores.
Outside of these amenities, the city has four public golf courses, nearly 20 Farmers markets, several history and science museums, and a variety of craft breweries and wineries. Besides this, residents can enjoy the famous Albuquerque Balloon Festival, a nine-day event with hot air balloons, live music, and local food.
Cost of Living & Taxes
Albuquerque’s cost of living falls just below the national average. Indexes like groceries, utilities, and health care are all below average, while housing is similar to the rest of the U.S. and transportation hovers just slightly above.
New Mexico is moderately tax friendly to retirees. Social Security and all forms of retirement income are taxed, though they are all eligible for deductions. While property taxes in New Mexico are very low, Bernalillo County has some of the highest property taxes in the state. The state does not technically have sales tax, but they have a very similar gross receipts tax, and Albuquerque’s rate is 7.9 percent.
Gallup’s Well-Being Index ranks Albuquerque as one of the top 100 communities in the country, and New Mexico as one of the top 30 states.
There are no nationally ranked hospitals in Albuquerque, but there are two high performing hospitals according to U.S. News. Presbyterian Hospital is the No. 1 hospital in New Mexico, and University of New Mexico Hospitals is rated as high performing in colon cancer surgery.