"It was in the town of Griffin, the year was '83.It was there an old cow puncher, stepped up and said to me: / How do you do young fellow and how would you like to go / And spend a pleasant summer, out in New Mexico." - Johnny Cash
Who wouldn't want to live in a place dubbed "The Land of Enchantment?" While witches and wizards may be hard to come by in this unique state, there's magic here all the same thanks to breathtaking scenery, palate-pleasing local cuisine and an abundance of other offerings from rich history to modern buzz. New Mexico is the country's fifth largest state, but is the sixth least populated meaning there's plenty of wide open spaces to roam. If you value punctuality, New Mexico may not be for you: the people who live here are notoriously laid back. But while you can't set your watch by them, they more than make up for it with their friendly and welcoming attitude.
New Mexico is a big state with comparatively few residents. From pet-friendly apartments to premier apartments, you are certain to find the right fit for your living needs. Keep in mind that New Mexico's cities and towns each have their own distinct vibe, so visiting before making a commitment can help you narrow down the field. And even though some cities like Albuquerque are more expensive than others within the state, housing for rent in New Mexico is still a steal compared to the rest of the country.
Before you get too excited, just remember to bring all the proper documents. It's important to have copies of your ID, rental history, bank statements, letters of references (personal and business), and a blank check -- yep, there will be a deposit to pay! What'd you expect?
Okay, now that you've figured out all the logistics of finding a place, it's time to figure out where in New Mexico you want to live. Take a peek at the list below for some of the more popular cities in the state.
Albuquerque: As the state's most populous city located smack dab in its middle, Albuquerque is home to a variety of institutions from the Sandia National Laboratories to the Petroglyph National Monument. The people here are open minded, friendly and outdoorsy. Residents are big on walking, and also enjoy a vast network of trails, bike routes and paths as an alternatives to driving. In fact, "Men's Fitness" magazine once named Albuquerque as the country's fittest city. Albuquerque is also home to two airports, making it convenient for travel.
Las Cruces: Also called "The City of the Crosses," Las Cruces is New Mexico's second largest city. This laid-back and friendly town is growing quickly, and is celebrated for its bustling downtown. The monthly Downtown Ramble, during which galleries open their doors to art lovers, is a popular event embraced by the local community. From the COAS Bookstore -- one of the Southwest's largest -- to the historic Rio Grande Theatre, Las Cruces is rich in arts and culture. And locals know where to go to get a bite: Chope's Bar and Restaurant. It may look like a dive, but there's no place better for a cold cerveza on a hot day. The long lines are just part of the experience and besides, if you're going to live in New Mexico, be prepared to start living like the New Mexicans.
Rio Rancho: Once considered the younger stepsister of Albuquerque, Rio Rancho has risen to star status of its own -- even claiming a coveted spot on "Money Magazine's" list of best places to live. Apartment hunters can score a great deal on apartments for rent here as the area is bouncing back from the housing market crash. People in Rio Rancho enjoy an equal mix of outdoor and indoor pursuits thanks to a winning combination of downtown bars and restaurants and parks, trails and paths.
Santa Fe: A mecca for everyone from New Age spiritualists to startup wunderkinds, Santa Fe boasts more artists per capita than any other American city, as well as more than it's fair share of Ph.D.'s thanks to the world-famous Santa Fe Institute. You'll pay more for house rent here, but you'll reap plenty of rewards: "The New York Times" once referred to Santa Fe as an "adobe gem."
New Mexico continues to be an epicenter of Native American culture with the museums and organizations to show for it. From the Institute of American Indian Arts to the New Mexico Museum of Art, the state delivers endless opportunities for enrichment. Chief among them is the Sky City Cultural Center & HAAK'U Museum. This unique experience offers a one-of-a-kind welcome to visitors to the Pueblo of Acoma and serves as the gateway to "Sky City" -- the country's oldest inhabited settlement.
In the tradition of great artists like Georgia O'Keeffe, and countless Native American artisans throughout history, many artists still choose to work and play in New Mexico. The Albuquerque Arts Alliance consolidates the region's amazing offerings into one central place to get your arts and entertainment fix. New Mexico is also home to a thriving performing arts community, including Globalquerque, the Spencer Theater and the Santa Fe Opera.
Underneath the Big Sky
If discovering an enchanted land is something you've only dreamed about until now, New Mexico offers the chance to turn your dreams into reality with plenty of opportunities to discover this magnificent region -- whether you're exploring at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo or attending the annual Balloon Fiesta. The area's Indian, Folk Art and Spanish markets offer an up close and personal look at this remarkable culture.
Outdoor enthusiasts in New Mexico enjoy everything from rafting and birding to golfing and road biking. New Mexico is rich with national forests, and millions of acres are protected by the government. The author D.H. Lawrence drew bountiful inspiration here and once wrote of New Mexico, "Touch the country and you will never be the same again."
And while skiing may not come to mind when you first think about life in New Mexico, eight alpine and three Nordic ski areas say otherwise.
Chowing Down in New Mexico
If you're moving to New Mexico, be prepared to pack on a few pounds: the cuisine here is irresistibly delicious. Luckily, New Mexico also offers plenty of trails and hikes for working it off. New Mexico has had over 400 years to perfect its unique blend of cuisine merging Native American flavors with Mexican and Spanish influences. The result is something truly unique and entirely delicious.
You'd better like your food spicy though, because the New Mexican chile keeps things hot, and can be found in everything from entrees to desserts. From undiscovered roadside dives to James Beard award-winning restaurants, residents enjoy more than a taste of the region's culinary delights. But it's not just Southwestern fare that makes life in New Mexico such an epicurean experience: from sushi to Italian to Persian to Irish pub fare, New Mexico is a foodie's paradise.
Good Day, Sunshine
New Mexico's desert climate is generally high and dry, but varies from arid to semi-arid depending on where you live. Overall, New Mexico is known for its remarkable year-round weather that makes it an ideal place with a four seasons climate. While summers do get hot in the Southwest, low humidity provides welcome relief. Still, you'll want to invest in some sunscreen: cities like Santa Fe see more than 300 days of sun every year.
Those looking to escape the sun's strong rays can revel in the rainy reason that comes every July and August -- afternoon showers help keep things cool when thermometers rise. Do you know what's even more astounding? Because of New Mexico's varied climates, it's possible to ski and play a round of golf on the very same day.
Multiple professional sports teams give New Mexicans something to cheer about. The Santa Ana Star Center is home to both the New Mexico Mustangs ice hockey team and the New Mexico Stars, a professional indoor football team. Minor League Baseball team the Albuquerque Isotopes are also a local favorite.