Albuquerque is located in central New Mexico, and is its largest city. It covers 190 sq.mi/ 491 sq.km, and is the 32nd largest city in the United States by population. The Albuquerque metropolitan area covers four separate counties - Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance and Valencia, and has a population of approximately 887,000.
The city is divided roughly into quadrants. The north-south axis is Broadway Boulevard. The east-west axis is Central Avenue. City streets often include a quadrant designation that can be critical, as many streets are numbered.
Legislatively, the city is divided into nine districts, each of which has representation in City Council. Ward boundaries are periodically adjusted to accomodate population shifts.
Albuquerque was founded in 1706 as a Spanish colonial outpost and farming community. At different times during the 19th century, it was used by Mexico, the United States and Confederate Civil War troops as a military outpost.
The city's population grew prior to World War II, due to its climate being beneficial to those suffering from tuberculosis, and also to famous Route 66 passing through downtown Albuquerque.
Albuquerque was a key location during the Atomic Age of the late 1940s and 1950s. Kirtland Air Force Base, located on the southeastern edge of the city, was the principal nuclear weapons installation of the United States from 1946 to 1971.
The downtown area entered a period of decline in the 1960s and 1970s, and many historic buildings were razed in an attempt to renew the urban landscape.
The population has grown rapidly in recent years. Construction of new apartment buildings and the restoration of historic structures has helped the city regain its urban character. The Planned Growth Strategy, passed in 2004, helped created a framework for a more sustainable approach to urban growth.
Albuquerque is at the center of the New Mexico Technology Corridor, a concentration of high-tech private companies and government institutions.
Other claims to fame
The Albuquerque area has had its share of notable residents, including businessman Jeff Bezos, race car drivers Al Unser and Al Unser, Jr., singer Demi Lovato, and writer/producer Mike Judge.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, held yearly in early October, is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world.
The Emmy-winning television drama Breaking Bad was set and filmed in Albuquerque. The Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau maintains a map for a self-guided tour of locations from the series.
Albuquerque is perhaps best known for its friendly residents. Newcomers are generally warmly welcomed, and should find living in Albuquerque a pleasant experience.