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Albuquerque, NM

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Hi, Geo. I told my apartment that I would be visiting Albuquerque and that I would like to meet some people. They then offered to cover some expenses, so I guess my answer to your questions is that a little of both happened. 

 

My fiancé and I are going to see some apartments while we're in town, but these are ones that are 20 minutes or so from campus by bus (so maybe 10 minutes or less by car) as we're looking for a new-ish two bedroom. 

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Reviving this topic. I'm going to be visiting Albuquerque in two weeks to meet with people from UNM as well as hunt for apartments. Does anyone have recommendations for places to look? I don't mind a commute so long as it's bike-able or I can take public transit. My fiancé and I are looking for a two bedroom that's nice enough to stay for about five years--after jumping around a lot in undergrad and grad school, I'm looking to stay in the same place the whole time for my Ph.D. 

 

I don't know where you're planning to live, but I wouldn't bank on using public transit/biking alone. If you're moving to ABQ you're gonna need a car, period. Based on what you're saying (and I know others have said this) you should think about living right around campus. That being said, that place can be sketchy too. The (awesome) diner "Frontier" across the street from UNM is no longer open 24 hours because of fights that broke out in the wee hours.

 

Basically it comes down to this: ABQ can be an awesome place to live but you definitely have to be careful in ways that, if you're coming from another city, you may not be used to. Biking is dangerous because of the astronomical number of drunk drivers, public transportation is mostly not the greatest - not like "big" cities, and gangs are a real and prevelant thing so be careful.

 

The upside is everything is dirt cheap. Housing, gas, everything. Of course, I live in California now so everything is about 1000x more expensive. :(

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Oy, I can't imagine living in California--too expensive for me. Thanks for the advice, though. I went to undergrad in a school that's in one of the top 10 most "dangerous" cities (and frequently visit Detroit, the most dangerous city in the country, arguably), so I'm pretty familiar with the whole "street smarts" thing. I don't plan on riding my bike at night and I don't really mind public transit (after living in London near a rough area, I'm pretty practiced). I do appreciate the head's up, though. I will, more likely than not, have a car, but I would like the option of living somewhere that I could get to another way in case of emergency. 

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I will be re-locating to UNM for graduate school in the fall as well, and as an avid bike-commuter who has really enjoyed being car-free for the last few years, I have been looking for any bit of hope that I could get by without a car in ABQ...  

 

When I visited campus I asked ~8 different grad students about getting around by bike / without a car... 8 of 8 INSISTED that it was impossible, or at least a terribly unsafe idea, despite the growing bike infrastructure (new bike lanes, etc.) in downtown/old town and near campus.

 

At the moment I'm still stubbornly insisting on attempting to bike commute and rely on public transit or ZipCar (there are 2 cars located south of campus) when necessary.  I would love some company in bike advocacy/solidarity when we get to ABQ.  I've read that there is a monthly Critical Mass ride, too.   :)

 

PS: If you're looking at apartments downtown, my brief experience was that downtown becomes a ghost town on the weekends (excepting the bar and restaurant strip on Central between 2nd and 7th).  In the small sample of grad students to whom I spoke, most live and socialize either just south of campus, or in Nob Hill.  

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StarStuff, I'm feeling the solidarity. I want to commute via bike to and from school, but I also have the option of having my fiancé drop me off (his office will be less than a football field away from campus). I'm not sure if maybe these aren't bike riding people, or the situation is that bad. Hmm...

 

The bus situation looks good. I don't mind a bus ride (I hadn't even thought of ZipCars). I'll likely end up bringing my car, but she's getting old and it's a long drive from Ohio to New Mexico. 

 

We're looking in the "northeast quadrant" area as well as Nob Hill. Do you know of any housing around there? 

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I don't know much about the 'northeast quadrant', other than that my initial scouting (via 'walkscore') indicated that it was less walkable than other neighborhoods.  Nob Hill is a walkable, pleasant, more upscale neighborhood; housing is more expensive than elsewhere, but it comes with close proximity to a lot of ABQ's retail and dining.  If you have a chance to check housing in either place out, I would love to hear your impressions! 

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Hey StarStuff. I'll let you know my findings--I'll be there this coming Thursday-Sunday in hopes of finding a place to live. I think we're going to end up closer to the Sandia foothills as the places seem bigger and I want a second bedroom for a home office. Plus, a pool would be nice as well as a gym facility. I'll definitely inform you of my impressions, though!

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How did the visit go?

 

From what I've heard about biking, it's totally possible AND a lot of people do it.  There is a Walmart maybe a block off Central to the east of campus.  So even if you can't find what you need at the plethora of stores that are located on Central close to campus, you can find it there.  And crime does look pretty bad when you check out the crime maps, but from what I've read it's not THAT unsafe. 

As for me, I will have a car, but I refuse to drive.  I'm tired of driving. I'm tired of parking.  I'll bike to school or take the bus.  I'm currently living in the middle of crack central (In a NICE neighborhood with LOW crime rates 1 block from a police station) so I don't rely on the statistics all that much. 

 

Anyway, I've been checking padmapper obsessively for a couple of weeks.  I keep waiting for a big surge of available places, but it hasn't happened yet. 

 

As for the people who are moving a long way, what are your plans?  Because my boyfriend's parents are possibly the most awesome parents ever, they're going to "road trip" with us which will allow us to rent a trailer instead of a UHaul.  I'm still worried about finding a place seeing as I can't really afford the $600 it would take to visit. 

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Has anyone else moved yet? I've been here for about 2 months and I love it! And it's totally bikeable so I don't know what those grad students were going on about.

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So great to hear that you're loving it, 'geographyrocks'!  I'm doubly excited to hear about how bikeable ABQ is.  I'll be moving there in just under 2 weeks, and I do expect to be biking a LOT once I arrive.  What part of town did you end up in?  Any other insider tips/highlights, now that you're already there!  

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I ended up moving just South of the University in University Heights.  I'm actually right next to CNM.  I highly recommend this area because there is easy access to everything.  Smiths is just minutes away as is a surprising number of really good restaurants.  Most streets have bike lanes that are larger than I'm used to.  Cars also tend to give you a wide berth...which can be both good and bad.  There are tons of side streets which makes taking short cuts really easy.  There are a lot of bike racks which is also nice. 

A couple of things:

The Smiths on Yale has all your basic food stuffs, but if you're use to a wider selection (like I am), you might be disappointed.  I tend to go to Sprouts once a week which is a local natural/organic market.  It's a little further from UNM, but I'm not sure the exact distance.  The prices on their fresh food tend to be cheaper than Smiths.  There is a huge farmers market downtown.  Even though the transportation system (bus) isn't great here, the most reliable routes are from Nob Hill/University to downtown so it's easy to get there via mass transit.  And since UNM students There is also a farmers market near the University at Presbyterian Hospital and one that is actually on campus when school starts. 

There is a Walmart on San Mateo which is 1-2 miles from UNM.  I heard it called the ghetto Walmart.  Avoid it at night.  The lines are RIDICULOUS.  I'm talking 10-15 people per lane with huge carts of stuff.  Also, I've had some bad luck with buying things that are missing parts. 

There are quite a few bums that hang out on campus.  I don't know if they'll still be there when school starts or if they go elsewhere.  I haven't been hassled (much).  There are also a LOT of bums downtown.  I've never felt unsafe though. 

If you are on the ground floor, be sure to pick a favorite roach spray.  Those suckers are HUGE here.  They wander their way inside through any cracks.  I have an organic/non-toxic spray that seems to keep them out for the most part.  I'd read about the roaches, but I don't think I was really prepared for how big and fast they are. 

Gas is cheaper in the SE compared to the NE.  It's generally $0.15 more expensive in the NE. 

BONUSES:

The zoo and museums have free and half price days.

The Isotopes have fireworks after a lot of their games.  (The stadium is right behind CNM). 

There are an amazing number of festivals.  I haven't been disappointed yet. 

They have both Chicago and New York style pizza here.  My favorite so far is Amadeo's.

There is a lot of food diversity around UNM. 

Nob Hill has all sorts of shops that are fun to go through.

There are cheap movies on campus (whoo!).

 

I think I've rambled long enough. lol

 

Edit: One last thing.  There are several weekly bike rides.  One starts at UNM.  A couple of weeks ago, there was a clothing optional one.  I didn't see it, but I'm sure it was amusing. 

Edited by geographyrocks

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This cockroach talk is going to haunt my dreams tonight.

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Anyone have insights on what ABQ is like for families with middle-school and high school aged children?

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Anyone have insights on what ABQ is like for families with middle-school and high school aged children?

 

You must, must, MUST be prepared to pay for private school. ABQ can be a great place for kids as long as you do the normal parenting thing and keep an eye on them to make sure they're not getting into trouble. But the public school system is among the worst in the country. I say this coming from 2 higher degrees in education and a stint as an educational researcher who has both family and a SO from ABQ... send the kids to private school!

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Yikes.  Are there any you'd recommend in particular? I wonder what cost is like for private schools out there.

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I don't think I agree that private school is the only option.  I'm from Santa Fe, and two of my siblings live in Albuquerque and have kids.  I don't think the public schools are all bad, although public schools in the state are going through kind of a crisis because of testing and teacher evaluations.  I work for the Santa Fe Public Schools, and I know APS has a huge number of openings.  But, schools like La Cueva and Rio Rancho in richer areas have decent reputations.  There may also be some interesting charter schools.

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Any suggestion on finding a place to live in ABQ? Are there any real estate agents that deal with renters in the city, or rental finders? I’ve got to find a place near campus, that will fit and allow me, my husband, our dog, and two cats. All while selling our home in Arkansas. I’ve been looking on Zillow, etc., but I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. 

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