Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, but the title of the fastest-growing city goes to its neighbor Rio Rancho. Rio Rancho is a young city, incorporated in 1981, but by 2020 had a population of more than 100,000. Rio Rancho’s recent growth can be attributed to several factors, including a strong economy, affordable housing, and high quality of life.
Part of Rio Rancho’s growth comes from being the home of numerous technology companies, including Intel, HP, and Comcast, which provide employment opportunities for residents. The technology sector in Rio Rancho continues to expand, which is contributing to the city’s overall economic growth. Additionally, the city is home to a growing number of small businesses, which are creating jobs and contributing to the local economy.
Rio Rancho’s Affordable Housing
Thinking about moving to Rio Rancho? Compared to other cities in the metropolitan area of Albuquerque, Rio Rancho offers more affordable housing options for families and individuals. This is making the city a popular destination for those looking to purchase their first home or for those looking to downsize.
The affordable housing market is also attracting retirees, who are drawn to the city’s mild climate, recreational opportunities, and low cost of living. The city’s Meadowlark Senior Center offers a wide range of services for seniors 55 and up, including health and wellness programs, social and educational activities, day trips, and a meal program operated in conjunction with the Sandoval County Senior Services Meals Program.
Quality of Life in Rio Rancho
In addition to a strong economy and affordable housing, Rio Rancho is also known for its high quality of life. The city offers a range of recreational opportunities, including parks, trails, and sports facilities, like the McDermott Athletic Center, a 60,000-square-foot arena for baseball, basketball, and hockey. Rio Rancho has published a map of its bicycling and mountain biking routes for those looking to explore on two wheels. There’s even an 18.3-mile OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) loop trail near the city.
Looking for fun? Be sure to check out the Rio Rancho Events Center, which is home to concerts, sporting events, and community events. It offers luxury suites, a VIP lounge, and other accommodations. The city plans to develop 25 acres of retail and entertainment near the events center.
Rio Rancho also has a vibrant arts community, with several galleries and studios that showcase the work of local artists. Longing to have your time in the spotlight? Check out the Rio Rancho Players, an all-ages community theatre group.
The city has recently opened several new schools, as well as a new public library and community center. The library even offers a “library of things” that can be checked out by adult cardholders, including a metal detector kit, a dog agility training kit, a birdwatching kit, and a beginner’s ukulele kit.
The city developed A Park Above, an all-inclusive park for people of all ages and abilities. It includes a park map with a Braille legend, wheelchair swings, a music area, game tables, and an amphitheater, all in a fenced perimeter with self-closing gates encompassing antibacterial and antistatic synthetic turf.
Additionally, the city has invested in its transportation network, with new roads and access to the Rail Runner commuter rail system that connects residents to other parts of the metropolitan area and north to Santa Fe over 13 stops.
Day Trips from Rio Rancho
Visitors and residents can also enjoy nearby attractions, including Valles Caldera National Preserve, Old Route 66, Bandelier National Monument, Coronado Historic Site, and many more. Santa Fe is a short drive away if you want to enjoy the capital city’s summer markets, the Santa Fe Opera, and the city’s many other activities. Of course, with Albuquerque next door, you can visit its many museums and the world-famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October.
With its thriving technology sector, vibrant arts community, and recreational opportunities, Rio Rancho is poised for continued growth in the years to come.