A Travel Price Comparison for California Palm Springs vs. Pasadena for Nightlife, Attractions, Food, and Families

Should you visit Palm Springs or Pasadena?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Palm Springs and Pasadena can help you decide which place is right for you.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a chic, outdoorsy, and ritzy city. Other popular activities here include food, hiking, and shopping.

Pasadena

Pasadena is a charming, picturesque, and quaint city. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Palm Springs and Pasadena: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Palm Springs or Pasadena?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Palm Springs than Pasadena, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Palm Springs is better known for its nightlife, resorts, and hiking, while Pasadena is more popular for its museums. Palm Springs is more touristy than Pasadena and is known for its golfing, shopping, and mid-century modern architecture. Also, Palm Springs is famous for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Pasadena is well known for being the home of the Tournament of Roses and the Rose Bowl.

How is Palm Springs different from Pasadena?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Pasadena and Palm Springs. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Palm Springs or Pasadena?

Palm Springs
Pasadena

Pasadena is notable for its sights and museums. Also, Palm Springs is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its museums and history.

Many visitors head to Pasadena specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. There's a good number of museums around town that include kids' museums, art museums, and local museums. Popular museums include the USC Pacific Asia Museum, the Norton Simon Museum, and the Pasadena Museum of History. Many people also enjoy touring the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Palm Springs offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. The Palm Springs Air Museum has an impressive collection of military planes. It's also worth visiting the Palm Springs Art Museum, which has a mix of fine art, natural history, and performing arts. You'll also find botanical gardens and even a zoo around town.


Is the Food Better in Palm Springs or Pasadena? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Palm Springs
Pasadena

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Palm Springs and Pasadena can be difficult as they are each high quality in their own way.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Palm Springs makes for a great culinary experience. Fresh ingredients and typical California cuisine is common around town. Brunch is a popular option for visitors and you'll find countless brunch cafes in the area. You'll also find Mexican food, pizza, and plenty of vegan and vegetarian options.

Pasadena has a huge number of terrific restaurants. Local restaurants feature southern California cuisine as well as international flavors. Dishes often use local ingredients that are fresh and seasonal. Restaurants range from casual to fine dining and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.

Is Palm Springs or Pasadena Better for Nightlife?

Palm Springs
Pasadena

Palm Springs is an amazing city to visit for its evening party scene. Also, Pasadena is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for nightlife.

Palm Springs has a colorful and one-of-a-kind nightlife scene. The area is filled with nightlife options that range from cocktail bars to nightclubs or breweries. You can party into the early morning at the dance clubs or enjoy a bottle of wine with friends at one of the lounges.

Pasadena has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. Much of the nightlife scene is concentrated around Old Pasadena. You'll find clubs, bars, and lounges that begin the evening with Happy Hours and then become more party-focused as the evening progresses.

Is Palm Springs or Pasadena Better for Resorts?

Palm Springs
Pasadena

Palm Springs is an amazing city to visit for its resorts. However, Pasadena is not a resort destination.

Vacationers flock to Palm Springs for its luxury resorts. Resorts range from luxurious to more laid back. Most have impressive pools and many have their own spas, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Pasadena is not a resort destination.


Is Palm Springs or Pasadena Better for Hiking?

Palm Springs
Pasadena

Palm Springs is notable for the nearby hiking options. However, Pasadena is not a hiking destination.

Palm Springs is a popular spot for hiking. There are more than 100 trails in the Greater Palm Springs area that take you through scenic desert landscapes and unique ecosystems. Some of the most popular trails include Andreas Canyon Trail and Araby Trail.

Pasadena is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Palm Springs or Pasadena?

Palm Springs
Pasadena

Both Palm Springs and Pasadena are high quality shopping destinations.

Palm Springs is an extremely popular place for shoppers. Shopping ranges from outlets to boutique vendors. For the most local options head to Palm Canyon Drive and for an upscale shopping experience, visit the El Paseo shopping district.

Pasadena is well-known for its shopping. Old Pasadena is where you'll find some of the best shopping. It's filled with a charming atmosphere and interesting boutiques.

Is Palm Springs or Pasadena Better for Families?

Palm Springs
Pasadena

Palm Springs is notable for its family-friendly activities. Also, Pasadena is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Palm Springs is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. The year round sunny weather and diversity of outdoor activities make this a great family-friendly destination. There are desert hikes, zoos, and even a dinosaur museum. Kids can also pass their time playing at the pool or enjoying the waterslides.

Pasadena is a family-friendly city. There are a number of kid-friendly museums around town including Kidspace Children's Museum. There are also nature centers, playgrounds, and plenty of family-friendly restaurants.


Is Palm Springs or Pasadena Better for Couples?

Palm Springs
Pasadena

Palm Springs is notable for couples. Also, Pasadena is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for romance.

Palm Springs is a very popular place to visit for couples. Whether you're on a honeymoon or simply looking to escape the city, there are many romantic options in the area. From cozy inns to resort spa hotels, there are a range of accommodation options. Outdoor dining, hiking, and shopping are also popular.

Pasadena is a nice destination for couples. It's a charming town with a bit of a European vibe and plenty of outdoor activities. Fine dining and interesting shopping make this a nice weekend destination.

Is Palm Springs or Pasadena Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Palm Springs
Pasadena

Pasadena is very good for its public transit. However, Palm Springs is a mediocre city for times when you don't have a car.

Pasadena has a few public transit options. Buses and light rail offer local transit and connect the city to nearby Los Angeles.

Public transit is mostly limited in Palm Springs. There are nine bus routes operated by SunLine Transit Agency, but most visitors prefer to have a car to get around.

Is Palm Springs or Pasadena a more walkable city?

Palm Springs
Pasadena

Palm Springs and Pasadena both are notable when exploring on foot.

Palm Springs is somewhat walkable. Parts of the city are very walkable, particularly the touristy areas along Palm Canyon Drive.

Pasadena is a somewhat walkable place. Most people head to Old Pasadena, which is the most concentrated and walkable part of the city.


For even more information, also check out Is Palm Springs Worth Visiting? and Is Pasadena Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Pasadena or Palm Springs?

How long in Palm Springs or Pasadena?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Palm Springs and Pasadena. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Palm Springs than in Pasadena. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Palm Springs, and 1-3 days is enough time in Pasadena.

Families should spend more time in Palm Springs than Pasadena. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Palm Springs, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Palm Springs than Pasadena. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Palm Springs that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.


  • How many days in Palm Springs or Pasadena? Ideal Length of Stay
    Palm Springs 2-4 
    Pasadena 1-3

One day in Palm Springs or Pasadena?

The city of Palm Springs offers food and shopping. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

In Pasadena, many people enjoy the food and shopping that this picturesque city offers. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. In one day, you should have a good grasp of this city.

A weekend in Palm Springs or Pasadena?

Palm Springs is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Palm Springs, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Pasadena is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Five days in Palm Springs or Pasadena?

Palm Springs is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the charming destination of Pasadena. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.


A week in Palm Springs or Pasadena?

Palm Springs is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

Pasadena is a popular place to visit. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from San Francisco, The Best 2-Week Tours from Los Angeles, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to United States of America, and The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Pasadena or Palm Springs?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Palm Springs is $206, while the average daily cost in Pasadena is $62. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Palm Springs and Pasadena in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Palm Springs $120
    Pasadena $25
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Palm Springs $240
    Pasadena $50
Compare Hotels in Palm Springs and Pasadena

Looking for a hotel in Palm Springs or Pasadena? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Palm Springs


Hotels in Pasadena


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Palm Springs Hotel Prices and Pasadena Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Palm Springs $52
    Pasadena $21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Palm Springs

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Palm Springs:

  • PALM SPRINGS to Palm Springs Airport (PSP) - Departure Private Transfer: $79
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to Desert Hot Springs Private Transfer: $88
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to ONTARIO - Arrival Private Transfer: $106
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to SANTA ANA - Arrival Private Transfer: $129
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LA QUINTA/INDIO - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $130
  • Private Transfer from PSP to Palm Desert / Indian Wells: $137
  • Private Transfer from PSP to Vía La Quinta, Indio, CA : $160
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to INDIAN WELLS - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $163
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LOS ANGELES - Arrival Private Transfer: $173
  • Palm Springs Airport to Desert Hot Springs Round-Trip Transfer: $177
  • Private Airport Transfer in Palm Springs: $198
  • Desert Hot Springs to Los Angeles Airport Departure Transfer: $254

Is it cheaper to fly into Palm Springs or Pasadena?

Prices for flights to both Pasadena and Palm Springs change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Palm Springs $53
    Pasadena $19

Typical Food Prices in Pasadena

Some typical examples of dining costs in Pasadena are as follows:


  • Casual Dinner Out (family of 4)
    $58

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Palm Springs $29
    Pasadena -

Tours and Activities in Palm Springs

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Palm Springs are as follows:

  • Journey into Joshua Tree: Audio Tour + Free Locals Guide!: $7.99
  • Joshua Tree's Hidden Valley Self-Guided Walking Tour: $9.99
  • Death Valley National Park Audio Guided Driving Tour: $9.99
  • Joshua Tree National Park Self-Guided Driving Tour: $12
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour Joshua Tree: $13
  • City and Desert App-Guided Driving Tour: $17
  • Palm Springs Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • Death Valley National Park Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour: $17
  • Joshua Tree National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • Palm Springs and Joshua Tree Self-Guided Driving Tours Bundle: $25
  • Paintball Target Shooting Experience located in Joshua Tree: $25
  • Private 1-Hour Archery Experience around Joshua Tree National Park.: $28

Tours and Activities in Pasadena

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Pasadena are as follows:

  • Haunted Walking Tour: $30
  • Old Pasadena Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour: $49
  • LA: East Side Guided Film Locations Tour: $350

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Palm Springs $13
    Pasadena -


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Palm Springs and Pasadena, we can see that Palm Springs is more expensive. And not only is Pasadena much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Pasadena would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Pasadena and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Palm Springs would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Palm Springs than you might in Pasadena.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Palm Springs Expensive? and Is Pasadena Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Palm Springs or Pasadena?

Pasadena has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Palm Springs. When comparing the sizes of Palm Springs and Pasadena, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Palm Springs or Pasadena?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Palm Springs or Pasadena in the Summer?

Both Pasadena and Palm Springs are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Palm Springs in the summer for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to Pasadena for the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In July, Palm Springs is generally around the same temperature as Pasadena. Daily temperatures in Palm Springs average around 73°F (23°C), and Pasadena fluctuates around 73°F (23°C).

In July, Palm Springs usually receives more rain than Pasadena. Palm Springs gets 0 inches (1 mm) of rain, while Pasadena receives 0 inches (0 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Palm Springs 73°F (23°C) 
    Pasadena 73°F (23°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or Pasadena in the Autumn?

Both Pasadena and Palm Springs during the autumn are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Palm Springs for the hiking trails and the shopping scene during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Pasadena because of the shopping scene.

Palm Springs is around the same temperature as Pasadena in the autumn. The daily temperature in Palm Springs averages around 69°F (20°C) in October, and Pasadena fluctuates around 68°F (20°C).

Palm Springs usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Pasadena. Palm Springs gets 0.3 inches (7 mm) of rain, while Pasadena receives 0.3 inches (7 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Palm Springs 69°F (20°C) 
    Pasadena 68°F (20°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or Pasadena in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Palm Springs and Pasadena. The winter months attract visitors to Palm Springs because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Pasadena this time of year.

In the winter, Palm Springs is around the same temperature as Pasadena. Typically, the winter temperatures in Palm Springs in January average around 57°F (14°C), and Pasadena averages at about 56°F (13°C).

In January, Palm Springs usually receives less rain than Pasadena. Palm Springs gets 2 inches (52 mm) of rain, while Pasadena receives 2.5 inches (63 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Palm Springs 57°F (14°C) 
    Pasadena 56°F (13°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or Pasadena in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Palm Springs as well as Pasadena.

In April, Palm Springs is generally around the same temperature as Pasadena. Daily temperatures in Palm Springs average around 62°F (17°C), and Pasadena fluctuates around 62°F (17°C).

Palm Springs usually gets more rain in April than Pasadena. Palm Springs gets 0.9 inches (24 mm) of rain, while Pasadena receives 0.7 inches (17 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Palm Springs 62°F (17°C) 
    Pasadena 62°F (17°C)

Typical Weather for Pasadena and Palm Springs

Palm Springs Pasadena
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 57°F (14°C) 2 inches (52 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.5 inches (63 mm)
Feb 58°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.5 inches (63 mm)
Mar 59°F (15°C) 2.2 inches (57 mm) 59°F (15°C) 2 inches (50 mm)
Apr 62°F (17°C) 0.9 inches (24 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.7 inches (17 mm)
May 65°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm) 65°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm)
Jun 69°F (20°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 69°F (20°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Jul 73°F (23°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 73°F (23°C) 0 inches (0 mm)
Aug 74°F (24°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 74°F (24°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Sep 73°F (23°C) 0.4 inches (9 mm) 73°F (23°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Oct 69°F (20°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm) 68°F (20°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Nov 62°F (17°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm) 62°F (16°C) 1.6 inches (42 mm)
Dec 57°F (14°C) 1.7 inches (42 mm) 56°F (13°C) 1.7 inches (43 mm)