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10 Things You Probably Don't Know About ABQ

A little mystery is a good thing. It's what pushes us to know and discover more.

You could live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, your entire life and never know these 10 random facts.

Live theater

Albuquerque has more live theater than any city in the nation per capita.


Albuquerque also has the most parkland per person within city limits in the entire United States — 2,933 square feet per person!

Meet me on the corner of Route 66 and Route 66

Albuquerque is the only place where Route 66 crosses itself.

Because of a change in the alignment of Route 66 in 1937, Route 66 crosses itself at the intersection of Central Avenue and 4th Street in downtown Albuquerque.

Prairie dogs

Albuquerque is the only city that has prairie dog colonies right in the middle of town.

The prairie dogs towns in Albuquerque "are the remnants of vast prairie dog towns that go back hundreds of years," according to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.


In the 1960s, Albuquerque had more Ph.D.s per capita than any other city in the nation. Today, ABQ still ranks in the top 10 nationally in quantity of Ph.D.s per capita for larger cities (enough to make New Mexico the state with the most Ph.D.s).

On a per capita basis, the Albuquerque metro ranks among the top 25 largest metros in the nation for cities with the most college graduates. The Albuquerque area is home to over 60,000 enrolled college students and 29 percent of the metro population has a bachelor's degree or higher. 

Military award recipients

Albuquerque has more recipients of the top three military awards since 9/11 than any city in the nation, according to Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran who spent 15 years compiling a list of recipients of top-tier U.S. military awards.

"According to Sterner's research, six Albuquerque servicemen have received five Silver Stars and two Navy Crosses since 9/11 — beating out New York City, which has six such awards, and Los Angeles and Houston, which have five apiece," reports Albuquerque Journal staff writer Charles D. Brunt.

Police Personal Video Recorders

Albuquerque was the first major police department to deploy personal video recorder's throughout the police force.

The recorders are required gear for all officers, and are linked to smartphones at the Real Time Crime Center.


Most U.S. areas with higher levels of arsenic in drinking water are rural communities. Albuquerque is the only urban area with substantial natural arsenic concentrations in its drinking water.

The Environmental Protection Agency says our drinking water must have fewer than 10 parts per billion of arsenic to prevent harmful effects of long-term exposure.

According to the 2010 report by the Albuquerque Bernalillo Water Utility Authority, our water zones have as high as eight parts of arsenic per billion.

Scanning criminal brains

Albuquerque is the one place where brains of criminal psychopaths are scanned, reports the MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing publication Scope.

Psychopathy expert Kent Kiehl went from Yale to the University of New Mexico in 2006 to found his lab here. Kiehl's laboratory worked with correctional facilities in New Mexico and beyond to establish the world's largest database of brain data from incarcerated populations. 

It's all in the name

While there's a Santa Fe, Texas, Santa Fe, Argentina, and even a Santa Fe, Ohio, Albuquerque is the only city in the world with its name.

Albuquerque also has more 'Q's in its name than any other city in the world, and it's the only word in the entire language that contains two sets of the letters "que."