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Palm Springs, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada, are desert cities known worldwide as premier travel destinations for leisure, luxury, and relaxation. Palm Springs may lack the gambling of Las Vegas, but this city compares favorably with many of the luxurious resorts you’ll find in Vegas. Each city has similarities and differences, so which is the better choice for a vacation?
Here is a chart comparing the highlights between a Palm Springs or Las Vegas vacation:
|Category||Palm Springs||Las Vegas|
|Cost of Stay: Weekly||$1,152 per person||$1,785 per person|
|Transportation||Taxis, Uber, Lyft, local bus service||Monorail, shuttle buses, taxis, Uber, Lyft, local bus service, Hop-on Hop-off bus|
|Notable Attractions||– Numerous resorts and spas|
– Golf courses
– Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
– Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway
|– Las Vegas Strip|
– Caesars Palace
– Fountains of Bellagio
– Many Iconic Casinos and Hotels
|Weather||Mild and dry most of the year||Warm and dry most of the year|
|Food and Drink||Regional cuisine with a focus on fresh, local whole foods, numerous bars and lounges in resorts||International cuisine, western US cuisine, numerous bars and lounges|
|Activities for Kids||– Demuth Park|
– Annenberg Theatre
|– Discovery Children’s Museum|
– Downtown Container Park
– High Roller Observation Wheel
– Springs Preserve
|Nature Attractions||– Coachella Valley Preserve|
– Indian Canyons
– San Jacinto Mountain
– Palm Canyon Drive
|– Red Rock Canyon|
– Valley of Fire
– Seven Magic Mountains
– Hoover Dam
Both Palm Springs and Las Vegas are similar in the type of vibe the cities inspire within people: leisure, relaxation, and luxury. Palm Springs lacks some of the entertainment aspects that the Las Vegas lifestyle has.
With that being said, this article will explore both of these cities through the lens of a potential vacation, so read on to discover more about these two cities and get the information you’ll need to make the best choice for your next vacay!
Palm Springs vs. Las Vegas: Cost of Stay
|Category||Palm Springs (per person)||Las Vegas (per person)|
|Cost of Stay: Weekly||$490 (budget)|
If one thing can be immediately assumed about both Palm Springs and Las Vegas vacations, it is that each of these cities can be expensive places to visit.
A mid-range vacation to Palm Springs will cost an average of $165 per person each day while the average daily per person cost of a trip to Vegas will run about $255.
A Palm Springs trip is actually on par, cost-wise, with a Las Vegas vacation if you subtract the additional expenses associated with shows and gambling in Vegas.
The main similarity between these two cities is the large number of luxury resorts that characterize both destinations. The resorts in Palm Springs compare quite favorably to the resorts in Las Vegas in terms of quality. However, there is a lot more to do if you’re in staying in a Las Vegas resort.
Every resort in Las Vegas is almost always accompanied by an on-site casino, whereas there are only a few resorts in Palm Springs with casino options. In addition, Las Vegas resorts are filled with shows, bars, shopping malls, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and entertainment of every kind. Needless to say, the resorts in Las Vegas tend to be MUCH bigger!
Palm Springs resorts are more geared towards relaxation and leisure; this is part of the cultural context of Palm Springs. So, even though both cities are resort havens, a Palm Springs trip will tend to be a slower-paced more relaxing affair, while Las Vegas will have more 24/7 activities to keep you busy.
Palm Springs vs. Las Vegas: Transportation
When it comes to getting around in Palm Springs, the options are pretty limited outside of renting a vehicle. Ride-sharing and taxis are readily available, and there is a local bus service that services most of the city.
Transportation in Las Vegas is much more accommodating; in addition to all of the regular modes of transport, there are numerous shuttle services as well as the monorail system.
You can find out more about all the best ways to get around Las Vegas in our article here.
Palm Springs vs. Las Vegas: Notable Attractions
When it comes to notable attractions and overall activities to do in Palm Springs, there are many options. All of the major Palm Springs resorts feature spas and entertainment.
This city is also known for its numerous golf courses, which is always a plus if you’re an avid golfer. Much like Las Vegas, Palm Springs is also a desirable honeymoon destination, with the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway being a notable getaway retreat for newlyweds.
Las Vegas in one long party that only ends the moment you step on a plane or hop in your car to return home. Much like Palm Springs, you could spend your entire vacation in a single Las Vegas resort and be completely satisfied with the trip (of course, you can visit as many hotels and casinos as you want!)
The Las Vegas Strip is an entire vacation in and of itself; you could spend your entire vacation just seeing shows alone and not come close to seeing them all. The opportunities are truly endless.
To put the two cities into context, Palm Springs is more of a luxurious getaway where relaxation is the uppermost goal of most visitors. Las Vegas can certainly be this as well, but with so many options, you can pretty much design your Vegas vacation on the fly.
Feel like relaxing…head to a spa or pool, want entertainment…then go to a show, have a need for some casino action…then visit a nearby blackjack table or slot machine! The possibilities are truly endless in Vegas!
Palm Springs vs. Las Vegas: Weather
Both Palm Springs and Las Vegas have dry desert climates, and overall the weather throughout the year is very similar. Winters are mild, spring and fall are warm and comfortable, while summer temperatures can get a bit extreme.
Summer days in Palm Springs regularly reach 100 degrees, while Las Vegas tends to be a few to even several degrees warmer than that.
Since a lot of a Palm Springs vacation tends to take place outdoors (golf anyone?), it can get uncomfortable in June, July, and August.
While there are a lot of outdoor activities in Las Vegas that are great to do most of the year, Las Vegas is flexible in that during the worst of the heat in the summer months, there is more than enough to do inside in air-conditioned comfort making Las Vegas a great destination year-round.
Palm Springs vs. Las Vegas: Food and Drink
The resorts in both cities have a large variety of food and beverage choices available at a moment’s notice. Therefore, both Palm Springs and Las Vegas do not have a truly distinctive type of cuisine all their own.
Rather, each city caters to travelers from a wide array of cultures, which is represented by the large selection of choices in both cities.
Palm Springs vs. Las Vegas: Activities for Kids
You will certainly find more activities for kids in Las Vegas when compared to Palm Springs.
One of the options for a children’s getaway in Palm Springs is Demuth Park, which is large and filled with several extracurricular activities for children.
There is also a small waterpark, the Children’s Discovery Museum, and the aerial tram that will take you up to San Jacinto Peak.
Las Vegas, while once an adults-only playground, has transformed itself into a true family destination. Here are just a few of the kid-friendly activities in Las Vegas:
- Container Park
- Springs Preserve
- Pinball Hall of Fame
- Cowabunga Canyon
- LINQ Zipline
- Tournament of Kings
- Popovich Comedy Pet Theater
For a Big List of things to do with kids in Las Vegas see our article here, where we share 44 of the top activities for kids and families in Las Vegas.
Palm Springs vs. Las Vegas: Nature Attractions
Both cities are surrounded by great natural vistas and outdoor activities. Palm Springs is undoubtedly a beautiful city, with a ride down Palm Canyon Drive being an absolute must if on vacation here.
You can also check out the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, go horseback riding, do some off-roading, or go hiking on one of the many trails found nearby.
The options are also endless in Las Vegas if you want to experience nature. A day trip to the Hoover Dam has become a vacationer’s rite of passage during a trip to Las Vegas.
Oh, and don’t forget you also have the opportunity to take a day trip to the Grand Canyon!
Since both cities offer so many invigorating outdoor adventures, the verdict on which is better for nature excursions is hard to make. The options are so large for both cities, a vacation based on just outdoor activities alone is completely feasible if that is your desire.
Palm Springs is a destination that forms part of the alluring vibe of California in general. It is definitely a place worth visiting when you have the chance. If quiet relaxation is your primary goal, then Palm Springs may be for you.
In terms of things to do, Las Vegas is a much better choice overall! You can fulfill every aspect of what defines a Palm Springs visit in Las Vegas as well, plus a whole lot more. A Las Vegas vacation can be as active or as relaxing as you choose, but when you get an itch to hit the town, you’ll be glad you’re in Las Vegas!
If you’re ready to start planning your Vegas getaway, be sure to check out our Las Vegas Visitor Guide. It’s full of ideas and discounts that will help you plan the perfect Las Vegas vacation!
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