While the state bird of New Mexico is indeed the roadrunner, there’s more to the Land of Enchantment than miles of lonesome highway and cartoon coyotes getting up to no good. In addition to bountiful scenic lots to build on, Rio Rancho, New Mexico, offers homebuyers with a taste for green chiles and garish sunsets a mix of modern and traditional single-family homes as well as the chance to nurture a family or develop a business in the fastest-growing city in the state.
With approximately 90,000 residents, Rio Rancho is the third-largest city in New Mexico. It rests at 5,290 feet above sea level and is only 15 miles from Albuquerque. Since the 1990s, Rio Rancho has proudly grown into an independent city by establishing its own school system and library network, and they even opened a new city hall as part of a downtown redevelopment in 2007. Intel is the largest employer in the city, which also has a thriving service industry and a healthy government sector. Albuquerque’s transit system makes for an easy commute to both Albuquerque and Santa Fe, the state capital, via the New Mexico Rail Runner. Central New Mexico Community College has a Rio Rancho campus, as does the University of New Mexico.
Rio Rancho is replete with recreational opportunities, including dog parks, bike paths, and hiking trails. These are maintained by a busy parks department that also oversees four community centers, an aquatic center, and three outdoor pools on top of a full program of adult sports leagues and fitness classes. The library provides meeting rooms, hosts art exhibits, and offers a unique "Book a Librarian" program that lets residents reserve a 30-minute one-on-one session with a librarian for help with research or basic computer skills. Residents rely on the Albuquerque Journal for their daily news, but they also have their own weekly paper, the Rio Rancho Observer. The city has seasonal community programs for kids, there’s a vintage auto museum, and the Santa Ana Star Center hosts sporting events, concerts, and the annual pumpkin patch. Once a month in the fall and winter, Rio Rancho parents can take a breather during Kids Night Out, in which kids go on fun evening outings like putt-putt golf and bowling. Now that Friday night is free, parents can visit a favorite local restaurant that serves New Mexican, Indian, Italian, or brew pub fare. If you can see yourself living in New Mexico’s "City of Vision," check out our listings of homes for sale in Rio Rancho.