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Santa Fe ( SAN-tə FAY, - fay; Spanish: [santaˈfe], Spanish for "Holy Faith"; Tewa: Oghá P'o'oge; Northern Tiwa: Hulp'ó'ona; Navajo: Yootó) is the capital of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the fourth-largest city in New Mexico with a population of 84,683 in 2019, the county seat of Santa Fe County, and its metropolitan area is part of the larger Albuquerque–Santa Fe–Las Vegas combined statistical area, with a population of 1,178,664 in 2018. The city was founded in 1610 as the capital of Nuevo México, after it replaced the capital San Juan de los Caballeros (near modern Española) at San Gabriel de Yungue-Ouinge, which makes it the oldest state capital in the United States. With an elevation of 7,199 feet (2,194 m), it is also the state capital with the highest elevation.It is considered one of the world's great art cities, due to its many art galleries and installations, and is recognized by UNESCO's Creative Cities Network. Cultural highlights include Santa Fe Plaza and the Palace of the Governors, and the Fiesta de Santa Fe, as well as distinct New Mexican cuisine restaurants and New Mexico music performances. Among the numerous art galleries and installations are, for example, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, as is a gallery by cartoonist Chuck Jones, along with newer art collectives such as Meow Wolf. The area surrounding Santa Fe was occupied for at least several thousand years by indigenous people who built villages several hundred years ago on the current site of the city. It was known by the Tewa inhabitants as Ogha Po'oge ("White Shell Water Place"). The name of the city of Santa Fe means "Holy Faith" in Spanish, and the city's full name as founded remains La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís ("The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi").
Rio Rancho (Spanish: Río Rancho) is the largest and only city in Sandoval County, part of the expansive Albuquerque metropolitan area, in the U.S. state of New Mexico. A small portion of the city extends into northern Bernalillo County. It is the third-largest city in New Mexico, and one of the most rapidly growing. As of the 2010 census, Rio Rancho had a population of 87,521. The name Rio Rancho derives from Los Ranchos, the Spanish colonial ranches established along the Rio Grande in the Albuquerque Basin, and throughout historic Nuevo México. There were large ranches also in neighboring Corrales. Since the late 20th century, it has developed as a suburb of Albuquerque.
Taos is a town in Taos County in the north-central region of New Mexico in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Initially founded in 1615, it was intermittently occupied until formally established in 1795 by Nuevo México Governor Fernando Chacón to act as fortified plaza and trading outpost for the neighboring Native American Taos Pueblo (the town's namesake) and Hispano communities, including Ranchos de Taos, Cañon, Taos Canyon, Ranchitos, El Prado, and Arroyo Seco. The town was incorporated in 1934. As of the 2010 census, its population was 5,716. Taos is the county seat of Taos County. The English name Taos derives from the native Taos language meaning "(place of) red willows". Taos is the principal city of the Taos, NM Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Taos County.
Albuquerque ( (listen) AL-bə-kur-kee, Spanish: [alβuˈkeɾke]), abbreviated as ABQ, is the most populous city in the U.S. state of New Mexico. Its nicknames, The Duke City and Burque, both reference its 1706 founding by Nuevo México governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdés as La Villa de Alburquerque. Named in honor of the Viceroy of New Spain, the 10th Duke of Alburquerque, the city was an outpost on El Camino Real linking Mexico City to the northernmost territories of New Spain. The 2020 census found the population of the city to be 564,559, making Albuquerque the 32nd-most populous city in the United States and the fourth-largest in the Southwest. It is the principal city of the Albuquerque metropolitan area, which had 916,528 residents as of July 2020.Located in north-central New Mexico, Albuquerque serves as the county seat of Bernalillo County. To its east are the Sandia–Manzano Mountains, Rio Grande flows north to south through its center, while the West Mesa and Petroglyph National Monument make up the western part of the city. Albuquerque has one of the highest elevations of any major city in the U.S., ranging from 4,900 feet (1,500 m) above sea level near the Rio Grande to over 6,700 feet (2,000 m) in the foothill areas of Sandia Heights and Glenwood Hills. The civic apex is found in an undeveloped area within the Albuquerque Open Space; there, the terrain rises to an elevation of approximately 6,880 feet (2,100 m), and the metropolitan area's highest point is the Sandia Mountains crest at an altitude of 10,678 feet (3,255 m). The economy of Albuquerque centers on science, medicine, technology, commerce, education, entertainment, and culture outlets. The city is home to Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Presbyterian Health Services, and both the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College have their main campuses in the city. Albuquerque is the center of the New Mexico Technology Corridor, a concentration of high-tech institutions, including the metropolitan area being the location of Intel's Fab 11X in Rio Rancho and a Facebook Data Center in Los Lunas. Albuquerque was also the founding location of MITS and Microsoft. Film studios have a major presence in the state of New Mexico, for example Netflix has a main production hub at Albuquerque Studios. There are numerous shopping centers and malls within the city, including ABQ Uptown, Coronado, Cottonwood, Nob Hill, and Winrock. Outside city limits but surrounded by the city is the location of a horse racing track and casino called The Downs Casino and Racetrack, and the Pueblos surrounding the city feature resort casinos, including Sandia Resort, Santa Ana Star, Isleta Resort, and Laguna Pueblo's Route 66 Resort. The city hosts the International Balloon Fiesta, the world's largest gathering of hot-air balloons, taking place every October at a venue referred to as Balloon Fiesta Park, with its 47-acre launch field. Another large venue is Expo New Mexico, where other annual events are held, such as North America's largest pow wow at the Gathering of Nations, as well as the New Mexico State Fair. Other major venues throughout the metropolitan area include the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the University of New Mexico's Popejoy Hall, Santa Ana Star Center, and Isleta Amphitheater. Old Town Albuquerque's Plaza, Hotel, and San Felipe de Neri Church hosts traditional fiestas and events such as weddings, also near Old Town are the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Explora, and Albuquerque Biological Park. Located in Downtown Albuquerque are historic theaters such as the KiMo Theater, and near the Civic Plaza is the Al Hurricane Pavilion and Albuquerque Convention Center with its Kiva Auditorium. Due to its population size, the metropolitan area regularly receives most national and international music concerts, Broadway shows, and other large traveling events, as well as New Mexico music, and other local music performances. Likewise, due to the metropolitan size, it is home to a diverse restaurant scene from various global cuisines and the state's distinct New Mexican cuisine. Being the focus of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District gives an agricultural contrast along acequias to the otherwise heavily urban setting of the city. Crops such as New Mexico chile are grown along the entire Rio Grande; the red or green chile pepper is a staple of the aforementioned New Mexican cuisine. The Albuquerque metro is a major contributor of the Middle Rio Grande Valley AVA with New Mexico wine produced at several vineyards, it is also home to several New Mexican breweries. The river also provides trade access with the Mesilla Valley (containing Las Cruces, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas) region to the south, with its Mesilla Valley AVA and the adjacent Hatch Valley which is well known for its New Mexico chile peppers. Since the city's founding, it has continued to be included on travel and trade routes including Santa Fe Railway (ATSF), Route 66, Interstate 25, Interstate 40, and the Albuquerque International Sunport.