No longer the sleepy bedroom community of Albuquerque, Rio Rancho is one of the fastest growing communities in the Southwest. One of the best 100 places to live, according to Money Magazine, the area is a gateway to cultural attractions, outdoor recreation, competitive sporting events, major state monuments, casinos and annual national competitions.
This high-desert community of more than 82,000 sits at 5,290 feet above sea level, with views of the Sandia Mountains and Rio Grande to the east and near-endless vistas to the west. Many of its residents are employed by major technology companies like Intel and Hewlett Packard who have large operations in town.
Rio Rancho enjoys four distinct but generally mild and sunny seasons. Summer highs in the upper 80s and low 90s are often broken with short afternoon showers. Early-morning winter temperatures in the 20s often climb to low 50s by mid-day.
New Mexico’s best cultural attractions and state monuments are located nearby. Native American attractions include Petroglyph National Monument just south of town, with thousands of images carved into volcanic rock by native Pueblo Indians and Spanish settlers centuries ago. Just a few minutes north in Bernalillo, Coronado National Monument allows visitors to enjoy excavated pueblos and a reconstructed square kiva, along with some of the finest Pre-Columbian murals in the U.S. Less than an hour north, Jemez State Monument features 500-year-old stone ruins of an Indian village and remnants of a 17th Century Catholic mission. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque provides exhibits and artifact collections from more than a dozen communities who inhabited the Rio Grande area for centuries.
Among the top venues in the metropolitan region, Rio Rancho’s Santa Ana Star Center hosts major concerts, sporting events and conventions. The $47 million arena is home to Professional Indoor Football’s New Mexico Stars, a hockey camp and the annual Rio Rancho Pork & Brew festival each summer, where some of the nation’s top BBQ chefs compete, and as many as 30,000 others come for fine food and drink.
Speaking of, Rio Rancho’s Matheson Winery, as well as half a dozen others are within a 20-minute drive. Ready for a bit of wine history? This region was bottling its first vintages decades before California. Large enough to attract national dining chains, Rio Rancho still has plenty of unique locally owned eateries in Rio Rancho. Likewise for lodging – national hotels, as well as one-of-a-kind B&Bs and resorts dot the map.
Almost 40 parks, as well as hiking and biking trails offer ample recreation space through the community. Nearby Cottonwood Mall has major national chains as well as local retailers. The city currently has plans for major retail and entertainment expansion. To learn more about Rio Rancho, please select a topic of interest from the navigation bar on the left.