Rio Rancho New Mexico

Rio Rancho New Mexico is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. The main hub of Sandoval County, it is found immediately north of Albuquerque and figures as part of the Albuquerque Metropolitan Statistical Area. Between Rio Rancho and Albuquerque alone, finding fun things to do isn't difficult, and visitors can also plan side trips to other regional destinations and attractions. This is part of the reason why Rio Rancho tourism numbers are up, and it certainly helps to attract new residents as well.

When it was incorporated in 1981, Rio Rancho New Mexico was basically a suburb for Albuquerque. The move to become more of a city in its own rite began in the 1990s with the establishment of things such as a local school and library system. Steady growth has been the norm ever since. Among the more recent additions to the Rio Rancho skyline is the Santa Ana Star Center. Opened in 2006, this entertainment arena plays host to all kinds of events, including concerts and minor league basketball games. 3001 Civic Center Circle Northeast is where you can find the Santa Ana Star Center.

Rio Rancho New Mexico visitors who are looking for things to do might venture over to the J&R Vintage Auto Museum. Found at 3650 State Highway 528 NW #A, this museum displays around 70 total vehicles, and the admission fees are more than reasonable. Going hot air ballooning is also an option when it comes to keeping busy in Rio Rancho NM, thanks to at least one local operation, and in nearby Bernalillo, it is possible to arrange guided canoeing and kayaking trips that take to the waters of the famed Rio Grande.

Outdoor enthusiasts should find that Rio Rancho can make for an excellent vacation base. Within easy reach are some of the best New Mexico hiking trails, the likes of which include the Jemez Mountain Trail, and the Albuquerque region in general is a big time bicycling hub during the summer season. Both mountain biking and road biking are popular. Fishing at area destinations such as Shady Lakes is just one more option when it comes to things to do during a Rio Rancho escape, and during the winter, the New Mexico ski resorts to the north can prove to be very tempting.

Rio Rancho is only about an hour's drive from the New Mexico capital of Santa Fe, and this provides visitors with a great side-trip option. There is certainly plenty to see in Santa Fe proper, and not far from the city is the famed Bandelier National Monument. Back down closer to Rio Rancho itself are a number of golf courses, so teeing it up for a round can also be added to the agenda. Among the best public courses is Championship Golf Course at the University of New Mexico. The address for this course is 3601 University Blvd SE. As a side note, a number of the golf courses that are found in the Rio Rancho area have formed special partnerships, and customized golf packages that highlight these courses are available.

Getting bored during a Rio Rancho escape is difficult, especially if you choose to include a special event on the itinerary. The top local event is arguably the Pork & Brew festival, which is held at the Santa Ana Star Center. A sanctioned Kansas City BBQ Society event, it attracts thousands, and the competition winners get to participate on the national level in Kansas City. While it isn't exactly a local event in the technical sense, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta also helps to attract scores of tourists to Rio Rancho NM. You can surely bet that the Rio Rancho hotels fill up fast when this early October event is going on, as do the regional hotels in general.

Image: Rio Rancho Convention & Visitors Bureau (flickr)

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