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colin

Tucson vs. Albuquerque

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For a long time, I've found the similarities between the two cities to be very interesting. There also some really strange ones. First, the obvious:

Both cities:

  • Are surrounded by desert

  • Sit on a river (although Tucson's is dry)

  • Are around 500,000 in population

  • Are home to the largest state university in their respective state

  • Are old railroad towns

  • Are at the junction of two interstate highways

  • Have skylines defined by large mountains

  • Have an air force base in town

  • Rely heavily on tourism

  • Have a large and definitive Hispanic population

Now the weird stuff:

Both cities:

  • Have a bar/entertainment street in their Downtown areas named "Fourth" (Avenue in Tucson, Street in ABQ)

  • Have a bar called Maloney's (a chain) on that Fourth-named street

  • Have an old school diner which serves beer on their main drag (The Grill on Congress in Tucson and Lindy's on Central in ABQ)

  • Have no professional teams, but both have a Triple-A minor league baseball team

  • Have Indian Reservations to the south and west of the city

  • Are less developed on their southern and western sides, but more developed on their east side

  • Have the state universities just to the east of their Downtown areas

There's certainly more.

The big difference is that Albuquerque has a larger metro area (although really not that much larger), but mainly that it is the cultural center of New Mexico, whereas Tucson is the sort of "secondary" metro area in Arizona.

Any thoughts?

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Very interesting points colin. I didn't realize that. Although it's hard for me to make a lot of comments because I haven't been to Tucson. Tucson doesn't have a Old Town does it? I suppose you could also say they have some similar trends in architecture. Although Tucson seems to use more color and a bit more curves from what I've seen in your pics. Albuquerque does have a lot to do with tourism. Although in a lot of instances many people fly into Albuquerque and then rent a car and drive to Santa Fe and Taos. But as you mentioned perhaps one of the biggest differences is the fact that Albuquerque is pretty much the 'center' of NM even though Santa Fe is the capitol. I imagine Albuquerque has Tucson beat in elevation too. Albuquerque is higher up than what a lot of people think. I think parts of it actually are higher than Denver.

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The entrance signs say Albuquerque is 5000', but it may get higher than that in places. But I'm not really sure what part that measures since the city changes elevation so much between the outskirts and the area right by the river.

Yeah, I forgot about Old Town! Tucson doesn't have anything like that yet, but hopefully the Rio Nuevo old mission/convento reconstruction project will put something like that here. It's certainly a nice feature in that city, although I've always liked La Mesilla in Las Cruces much more.

But wait, that would be a good thing for Phoenix to look into!

One part of Rio Nuevo that got scrapped was an aquarium, which would have been yet another similarity between the two cities. An aquarium doesn't make much sense in a waterless city though (and a city that has a lake called "Lakeside Lake").

Yeah, most people coming to AZ fly into Phoenix, or even Vegas, which I think is a damn shame. Not to belittle the northern part of the state, but the southern portion gets overlooked so often yet there's such cool stuff down here.

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The entrance signs say Albuquerque is 5000', but it may get higher than that in places. But I'm not really sure what part that measures since the city changes elevation so much between the outskirts and the area right by the river.

Yeah, I forgot about Old Town! Tucson doesn't have anything like that yet, but hopefully the Rio Nuevo old mission/convento reconstruction project will put something like that here. It's certainly a nice feature in that city, although I've always liked La Mesilla in Las Cruces much more.

But wait, that would be a good thing for Phoenix to look into!

One part of Rio Nuevo that got scrapped was an aquarium, which would have been yet another similarity between the two cities. An aquarium doesn't make much sense in a waterless city though (and a city that has a lake called "Lakeside Lake").

Yeah, most people coming to AZ fly into Phoenix, or even Vegas, which I think is a damn shame. Not to belittle the northern part of the state, but the southern portion gets overlooked so often yet there's such cool stuff down here.

Oh yeah I forgot about the aquarium. Although I do think much of it is indoors so hopefully that helps combat the evaporation problem. The one in Albuquerque does have some big exhibits focusing on aquatic life of the Rio Grande which does seem fitting. I've only been to Las Cruces once but have heard about La Mesilla. Wasn't that the Mexican side of the border before the Gadsden Purchace? Speaking of which where was Tucson before that? As far as elevation goes that 5000' is along the Rio Grande the lowest part of Albuquerque but the west and particularly the east areas are higher.

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Gadsden Purchase was generally west of the Rio Grande and south of the Gila, but the US already had lands south of the Gila in today's New Mexico with the border generally along today's I-10, which put La Mesilla in Mexico.

Tucson, Bisbee, Casa Grande, Yuma and many other towns were all in Mexico during that time, although Tucson was one of the few settled places when it happened (founded in 1776, oldest town in AZ).

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Are home to the largest state university in their respective state

actually, asu is the largest in arizona with around 53,000 undergraduates (making it the largest in the country last year), ua second with around 44,000 :), granted, both are ridiculously large.

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Both cities are not the same!!!

1.) The Crimerate in ALB is terrible, Tuscon is not as bad with the crimerate.

2.) Cost of living is in Tuscon higher, but Tuscon has the better economy.

(gas cost more in Arizona and the quality is not as good as in New Mexico)

3.) Unversity:?..... No clue, but ALBuquerque is rank 10 in the US of the smartest City (Population)

4.) Weather: ... cold cold winters in ALB, mild winters in Tuscon

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Both cities are not the same!!!

1.) The Crimerate in ALB is terrible, Tuscon is not as bad with the crimerate.

2.) Cost of living is in Tuscon higher, but Tuscon has the better economy.

(gas cost more in Arizona and the quality is not as good as in New Mexico)

3.) Unversity:?..... No clue, but ALBuquerque is rank 10 in the US of the smartest City (Population)

4.) Weather: ... cold cold winters in ALB, mild winters in Tuscon

Yes there are differences. I'm not sure about the economy of Tucson but the economy of Albuquerque is doing pretty good. It's still growing at a nice rate and there are still quite a few people moving there. Albuquerque does have a univiersity but I think the fact of it's ties with Las Alamos brings in a lot of tech jobs. When California was having electricity problems a few years ago Albuquerque managed to move a number of high tech jobs out of California. As far as winters, that's just a matter of opinion I guess. Personally I don't think of it as that cold. Maybe from the perspective of southern AZ. But looking at it compared to other parts of the country it's not too cold at all. Some of the higher areas around the city may get snow on a somewhat regular basis but it doesn't snow hardly at all in many places in the city.

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Yeah, Albuquerque really isn't that cold. At the same latitude, Flagstaff, although higher in elevation, has much colder winters and much more snow. I'd say even Amarillo is colder in the winter, although that may just be the wind chill.

Per the crime, Tucson was the #1 city in the country for property crime in 2004 and 2005. I know that Albuquerque is bad, but it wasn't that bad.

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Yeah, Albuquerque really isn't that cold. At the same latitude, Flagstaff, although higher in elevation, has much colder winters and much more snow. I'd say even Amarillo is colder in the winter, although that may just be the wind chill.

Per the crime, Tucson was the #1 city in the country for property crime in 2004 and 2005. I know that Albuquerque is bad, but it wasn't that bad.

I hadn't heard that much about Tucson and property crime. I think Albuquerque just sometimes seems to have a bad image in things like that. But from what I can tell I don't think it's really any worse than any other city of it's size.

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I'm confused by the state school stat. Arizona State is the largest school in AZ and is in Tempe. New Mexico State is the second largest school(not counting TVI which may be larger) in NM and is in Las Cruces. University of AZ and University of NM are in Tucson and ABQ respectively. I wonder if by 'state school' the meaning was 'public school'?

Anyway, I've always found Tucson and ABQ to be similar and I dislike both.

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I hadn't heard that much about Tucson and property crime. I think Albuquerque just sometimes seems to have a bad image in things like that. But from what I can tell I don't think it's really any worse than any other city of it's size.

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I've always thought Albuquerque and Tucson to be similar, too. Tucson is bigger by about 25,000 people, but as was mentioned, Albuquerque has a larger metro area.

Albuquerque has both UNM, and CNM Community College (formerly T-VI), and those are the largest institutions of higher learning in New Mexico. NMSU, in Las Cruces, comes in third. The skylines of Albuquerque and Tucson are also similar, and, unfortunately, not very impressive. Although, Albuquerque does edge out Tucson for tallest building. And really, the mountain backdrops are our skyline. Albuquerque's elevation ranges from about 4,800 feet by the Rio Grande to almost 7,000 feet in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. I'm not sure about Tucson's elevation, but there are also mountains to the east of it, I believe, so I would guess that it has similar elevation changes like Albuquerque. The mix of cultures seems to be similar, as well. The climates, I would guess, are a bit different, but I'd say they probably are the same in that they both have clearly defined seasons.

Either way, I've always been interested in Tucson, and I've always loved coming across information about it.

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Welcome to the forum, Alex! It's great to finally have a New Mexican in the midst of the West forums. I knew there were some.

What's funny is that, where you're interested in Tucson, Albuquerque and Northern NM have always been one of my favorite trip destinations, especially in the summer when the heat here makes you want to leave town.

And you're right about the elevations. You have your Sandias, we have our Catalinas. And, within town, the elevations change quite a bit.

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Thank you for the welcome! I hope I'm not the only New Mexican here, but if I am, I hope to represent my city and state well.

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you might be the only New Mexican for now, but if you start making topics and posting articles you wouldn't be for long. I'll help in anyway I can. I'm always good for fluff. But it's hard for me to generate concrete conversation when i'm so far from an area.

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Take your next vacation to Northern NM, Matt. That's all you need to do.

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Thank you for the welcome! I hope I'm not the only New Mexican here, but if I am, I hope to represent my city and state well.

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The Daily Star decided to finally compare Tucson to a city more comparable than Portland: Albuquerque.

Lessons can be learned from Albuquerque

A dynamic downtown

Why not in Tucson?

I think they're making Downtown Albuquerque sound a little better than it really is in the latter article. And I will also say that ABQ still doesn't have quite the nightlife scene that Downtown Tucson does, especially coupled with Fourth Avenue. But they do bring up good points.

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The Daily Star decided to finally compare Tucson to a city more comparable than Portland: Albuquerque.

Lessons can be learned from Albuquerque

A dynamic downtown

Why not in Tucson?

I think they're making Downtown Albuquerque sound a little better than it really is in the latter article. And I will also say that ABQ still doesn't have quite the nightlife scene that Downtown Tucson does, especially coupled with Fourth Avenue. But they do bring up good points.

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