Palm Springs vs Las Vegas Retirement: Which Desert Destination Is Right For You?

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A 55+ couple enjoying their desert retirement destination.
Screenshot 2024-01-12 at 1.54.00 PM

6 minute read

What You’ll Gain From Reading This Article: This article provides insights into the pros and cons of retiring in either Palm Springs or Las Vegas. The article compares shopping and dining, entertainment options, nature and serenity, hiking and recreation, pampering and wellness, and the cost of living.


Have you always dreamed of retiring to a desert destination? The sunny days, mild winters, stunning nature, and welcoming culture of these premiere retirement locations make them ideal for active adults. For interested 55+ homebuyers, we’re looking at Palm Springs vs Las Vegas. Discover which desert destination is right for your retirement years.

The team at 55places has your personalized guide to retiring in style. California or Nevada? You decide!

Shopping & Dining

Aerial view of the Las Vegas Strip, providing more shopping and dining options than Palm Springs.

If 5-star restaurants and fashion outlets are your idea of the perfect retirement, then a metropolitan desert destination might be for you. It’s no secret that Las Vegas has some of the best shopping and dining experiences in the world. From decadent buffets to Michelin-star restaurants, The Las Vegas Strip offers plenty to taste and experience. Explore the top-rated restaurants in Vegas, then shop till you drop at the numerous fashion outlets.

Although you’ll find less of the star-studded variety of dining options in Palm Springs, there’s certainly no shortage of amazing cuisine, both local and international. 4 Saints at the Rowan Hotel is one of our favorite Michel-star restaurants in Palm Springs. Also, a unique shopping highlight of Palm Springs is the abundance of local boutiques and vintage finds, making this the ideal retirement location for collectors and fashionistas.

Winner: Las Vegas

Entertainment

The "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign in Las Vegas, a city providing more entertainment options than Palm Springs.

Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world. That means you can enjoy shows, concerts, and curiosities just a short distance from the best 55+ communities in the city. Check out immersive experiences at the Vegas Sphere, try your luck at the iconic casinos, take in a concert, or explore Vegas’ numerous museums and art galleries. There’s never a dull moment in The Neon City.

Of course, Palm Springs is the gateway to Coachella Valley. If music is your passion, then settling into this artsy, thriving community is like a lifetime pass to Coachella. During the rest of the year, you can enjoy local venues such as the Acrisure Arena—a world-class sports and entertainment venue. The Palm Springs Art Museum is another must-see for residents of this desert oasis.

Winner: Las Vegas

Nature & Serenity

Aerial view of Downtown Palm Springs, a city offering more natural landscape than Las Vegas.

Peace, privacy, and a little adventure are the things we work hard to achieve in retirement. So when it comes to nature and serenity, the question of Palm Springs vs Las Vegas is pretty simple. It’s easy to find secluded retirement communities in Palm Springs. Also, this natural oasis is home to some of the most beautiful, scenic areas in California. You’ll share your community with local wildlife, birds, and flora. Capturing quiet moments in Palm Springs is one of the most understated benefits of retiring to this incredible destination.

Vegas may be a little busier than Palm Springs, but savvy retirees can easily find beautiful suburban communities that thrive on peace and quiet. Gated retirement communities in Las Vegas are a fantastic option for those who love city life but enjoy coming home to a secluded retreat.

Winner: Palm Springs

Hiking & Recreation

Palm trees and snow capped mountains in the Palm Springs area of California.

If you’re looking for an active retirement community, look no further than Palm Springs. California is the best spot for those who love to get outside and stay active. Palm Springs is a recreation playground with numerous hiking, biking, and jogging trails. Also, there are many onsite trails within 55+ communities in Palm Springs for added convenience. When you’re ready to venture out of your neighborhood, enjoy the popular Andreas Canyon Trail and other nearby nature walks.

With a rich western history, Las Vegas is also home to many beautiful hiking trails such as the scenic White Rock Mountain Loop. You may need to drive a bit farther to truly get out to the desert wilderness from Vegas, but the stunning views and abundant wildlife are well worth the commute. Within the city, you’ll find state-of-the-art gyms and onsite recreation areas within many age-restricted Vegas communities.

Winner: Palm Springs

Pampering and Wellness

Spa stones and towels on a grey marble table.

The best spa and wellness retreats can be found in both Las Vegas and Palm Springs. Treat yourself to massages, skincare, and full spa experiences beyond compare. Retiring to either city can offer resort-style retirement options for residents looking to enjoy a concierge experience close to home.

For the best spa experience in Palm Springs, book a day at The Well in the famous Indian Springs community. The facials are rejuvenating and the massage experts at The Well will have you feeling restored and refreshed. However, be sure to book well in advance to secure your spot. This space is popular among locals and visitors alike!

If you’re looking for the best spas in Las Vegas, you can’t go wrong with a reservation at Canyon Ranch Spa. Located inside the famous Venetian, this spa offers so much more than basic beauty services. Enjoy fine dining and a contemporary fitness center as well as couples packages in a stunning, aesthetic space centered around relaxation.

Imagine your favorite vacation, then picture a spa day every day. Prioritizing self-care is easy at these desert destinations.

Winner: Both!

Cost of Living: Las Vegas vs Palm Springs

The Downtown Las Vegas skyline.

Of course, when discussing retirement, cost of living will be a guiding factor in your decision-making. Las Vegas tends have to a lower cost of living than Palm Springs, with access to a wider variety of essentials such as groceries, health care, and public transportation. If your heart is set on Palm Springs, this handy cost of living calculator will help get you started as you save up for your ideal retirement.

Winner: Las Vegas

55places Provides Retirement Real Estate Guidance

Is a desert destination the first choice on your retirement list? Our team of age-restricted community experts is focused on finding the best places for you to call home. Las Vegas, NV, and Palm Springs, CA are both hotspots for active adult communities. Exploring the pros and cons of each will help you feel confident in your final decision.

Reach out to our team for more retirement real estate guidance and learn more about selling your home to downsize on obligations and upgrade to living your best life. Contact us today!

Discover what’s next.

To learn more information or connect with a real estate expert, contact us today.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and 55places.com.
Details here.

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I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting optout@55places.com. Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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