Quote from JBudd
residential, avoid the south valley, according to my daughter
South Valley is affordable and has some beautiful neighborhoods but is overwhelmingly Spanish - many of the families have been in NM since before it was part of the US. They couldn't be less interested in assimilating, so if you happen to be anglo, you need the skill to get along as a minority.
Northeast is more mixed, dominated by Anglo culture but since the gentrification of downtown, it has become more active gang and meth territory. Still, some real good neighborhoods up there.
Northeast and Southeast Heights are pricey and anglo-dominated. Gang stuff is spreading into the Northeast Heights.
North Valley is very upscale, beautiful and Anglo.
Westside and Rio Rancho are newer areas - mixed culturally and economically.
Downtown prices are rising, neighborhoods are mixed and there are a ton of bars. Crime rate is way down since the make-over of the late 90s/early 2000s.
Nob Hill and the University area are "cool" areas - dominated by students and prices are getting up there, but really the only place in town I'd consider living if I couldn't live downtown.