Albuquerque is home to tons of stores, cutting-edge research facilities, and of course, the state’s largest university. But if you’d like to live out of the hustle and bustle — while still being close enough to enjoy everything that the center of town has to offer — consider renting an apartment either in Rio Rancho or Westside.

Technically, Rio Rancho sits outside of the Albuquerque city limits. In fact, it sits just over the border between Bernalillo and Sandoval counties. But don’t let that fool you. Rio Rancho sits just west of I-25, so your apartment will be less than 30 minutes from downtown Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico.

In fact, Rio Rancho’s proximity to Albuquerque has turned it into one of the state’s most thriving suburbs! It’s actually the third-largest city in New Mexico, and with nearly 100,000 residents at last count, its population is growing faster than most other cities in the Land of Enchantment.

Rio Rancho is home to a large number of families, so if you’ll be sharing your new apartment with your kids, this is a great place to apartment-hunt. And, both of the public high schools here have an A rating with the New Mexico Public Education Department.

If you’re looking for a job in the technology industry, an apartment in Rio Rancho may be perfect, since this city is home to large facilities owned by Intel, Hewlett Packard, Sprint Corporation, and Alliance Data.

What about Westside?

The name “Westside” actually refers to a group of villages inside the Albuquerque city limits — including North Valley, Los Ranchos, and Corrales. Like Rio Rancho, it sits along the Rio Grande, so you’ll see plenty more “non-desert” stuff here than in other parts of town. In fact, Westside has a ton of green space, which has made it a popular location for golf courses, wineries, mountain bike trails, bed and breakfasts, and spas. You’ll see plenty of green pastures and orchards here — two things you’ll be hard-pressed to find in other areas around Albuquerque!

Originally, the Westside area was used as farmland by Spanish colonists, and today, it still has that quiet rural feel. And because of its rich farming history, there are some terrific farmers markets here, so if you enjoy cooking with the freshest produce and other local goods, you’ll enjoy having an apartment nearby. Westside also offers spectacular views of the Sandia Mountains, so if you’re a nature-lover, you will definitely love it here!

Bottom line — the apartments in Rio Rancho and Westside are quieter, more peaceful, and tend to be more in tune with nature than other apartments around Albuquerque.