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

Should you visit Palm Springs or Sacramento?

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 Sacramento can help you decide which place is right for you.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a ritzy, chic, and outdoorsy city. Visitors also love the museums, nightlife, and food.

Sacramento

Sacramento is a laid back, relaxed, and undiscovered city. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Palm Springs and Sacramento: 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
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Palm Springs or Sacramento?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Palm Springs. Although Palm Springs and Sacramento are popular destinations, Palm Springs has more sights and attractions for tourists. Palm Springs is very popular for its food, nightlife, resorts, hiking, and shopping, while Sacramento attracts visitors for its museums. Palm Springs is more touristy than Sacramento and is popular for its golfing, shopping, and mid-century modern architecture. It is also well known for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Sacramento is famous for its history and state capital.

How is Palm Springs different from Sacramento?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Sacramento 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 Sacramento?

Palm Springs
Sacramento

Sacramento 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 Sacramento specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. As the state capital, you'll find a number of historical and informational museums around town. You should check out the State Capital, as well as the California State Railroad Museum, the Crocker Museum of Art, Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, and the California Automobile Museum.

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 Sacramento? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Palm Springs
Sacramento

Palm Springs is a very popular place for its restaurants. Also, Sacramento is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Palm Springs has a huge number of terrific restaurants. 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.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Sacramento area. Casual restaurants with laid back atmospheres are what's most common around town. You'll also find a variety of international cuisines that include Korean and Vietnamese.

Is Palm Springs or Sacramento Better for Nightlife?

Palm Springs
Sacramento

Palm Springs is very popular for nightlife and partying. Also, Sacramento is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its evening party scene.

Palm Springs is a party destination, and you'll find plenty of activity all night long. 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.

Sacramento has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. There highest concentration of activities are found in Downtown Sacramento. You'll find bars, clubs and live music in the area. You can also head to midtown, which has performing arts and comedy shows.

Is Palm Springs or Sacramento Better for Resorts?

Palm Springs
Sacramento

Palm Springs is very popular for its luxury resorts. However, Sacramento is not a resort destination.

Palm Springs offers an unforgettable resort vacation. Resorts range from luxurious to more laid back. Most have impressive pools and many have their own spas, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Sacramento is not a resort destination.


Is Palm Springs or Sacramento Better for Hiking?

Palm Springs
Sacramento

Palm Springs is a very popular place for its hiking trails. However, Sacramento is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Palm Springs. 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.

Sacramento is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Palm Springs or Sacramento?

Palm Springs
Sacramento

Palm Springs is a very popular place for its shopping opportunities. Also, Sacramento is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping areas.

Palm Springs is well-known for its shopping. 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.

Many visitors go to Sacramento to go shopping. You'll find down-to-earth vendors who have reasonable prices and a great selection. Some of the most interesting shopping is found at the Old Sacramento Waterfront or along Folsom Boulevard.

Is Palm Springs or Sacramento Better for Families?

Palm Springs
Sacramento

Palm Springs is a very popular place for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Sacramento is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Palm Springs is very family-friendly. 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.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Sacramento. With the large number of families that live in the area, you'll a variety of kid-friendly activities. Options include smaller amusement parks like Funderland Amusement Park, museums like the Sacramento Children's Museum, and indoor trampoline parks. There's also Fairytale Town, which is an imagination filled playground.


Is Palm Springs or Sacramento Better for Couples?

Palm Springs
Sacramento

Palm Springs is a very popular place for its romantic activities. However, Sacramento is lacking in good options for couples.

Palm Springs makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. 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.

Sacramento is not always the best place to visit for a couple. Picnics, nice restaurants, and shows make for enjoyable date activities while you're in town.

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

Palm Springs
Sacramento

Both Palm Springs and Sacramento offer reasonable public transit options.

Public transit is generally 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.

Public transit is mostly limited in Sacramento. There's both light rail and buses around town.

Is Palm Springs or Sacramento a more walkable city?

Palm Springs
Sacramento

Palm Springs is a nice place to visit for its high level of walkability. However, Sacramento is lacking in good options for its ease of walking around.

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

Sacramento is generally not very walkable. You'll really want a car to get around town, but Midtown is one of the more walkable areas.


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

Should I spend more time in Sacramento or Palm Springs?

How long in Palm Springs or Sacramento?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Palm Springs or Sacramento to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Palm Springs than Sacramento because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Palm Springs, and 1-2 days is enough time in Sacramento.

Families should spend more time in Palm Springs than Sacramento. 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 Sacramento. 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.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Palm Springs than Sacramento if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Palm Springs.


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

One day in Palm Springs or Sacramento?

With museums and nightlife around the outdoorsy city of Palm Springs, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the nightlife. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

In Sacramento, many people enjoy the food and shopping that this laid back 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 Sacramento?

With nightlife and food around the destination of Palm Springs, there's plenty to do. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. One of the main draws to the area is the nightlife. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.

Sacramento 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 Sacramento?

Palm Springs, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the undiscovered destination of Sacramento. 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 Sacramento?

Palm Springs is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One of the main draws to the area is the nightlife. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Sacramento 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, Sacramento 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 Sacramento is $194. 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 Sacramento in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Palm Springs $120
    Sacramento $111
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Palm Springs $240
    Sacramento $222
Compare Hotels in Palm Springs and Sacramento

Looking for a hotel in Palm Springs or Sacramento? 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 Sacramento


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 Sacramento Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Palm Springs $52
    Sacramento $51

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Palm Springs

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Palm Springs:

  • Private Transfer from Palm Springs Municipal Airport to Ontario: $265
  • Private Transfer from PSP to Vía La Quinta, Indio, CA : $160
  • Private Transfer from PSP to Palm Desert / Indian Wells: $137
  • Private Airport Transfer in Palm Springs: $198
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to SANTA ANA - Arrival Private Transfer: $129
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to ONTARIO - Arrival Private Transfer: $106
  • Palm Springs Airport to Snow Summit - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $265
  • Palm Springs Airport to Desert Hot Springs Round-Trip Transfer: $177
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LOS ANGELES - Arrival Private Transfer: $173
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LA QUINTA/INDIO - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $130
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to INDIAN WELLS - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $163
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to Desert Hot Springs Private Transfer: $88

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sacramento

Also for Sacramento, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Arrival Private Transfer: $112
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $223
  • Round Trip Private Transfer in Sacramento Airport to Calistoga: $298

Is it cheaper to fly into Palm Springs or Sacramento?

Prices for flights to both Sacramento 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
    Sacramento $53

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sacramento

For Sacramento, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Historic Old Sacramento Walking Food Tour: $95
  • Midtown Sacramento Arts and Food Tour: $98
  • Downtown Sacramento Historical Food Tour: $98
  • Midtown Sacramento Walking Food Tour: $125
  • Midtown Walking Food Tour: $145
  • Italian Cooking and Dance Class Experience: $160

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Palm Springs $29
    Sacramento $19

Tours and Activities in Palm Springs

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

  • 10+ Self-Guided Driving Tours from Las Vegas: $50
  • 100+ Self Guided Driving & Walking Tours by Action: $100
  • Best of Palm Springs Small Group Tour w/ Aerial Tram: $166
  • Covered Wagon Adventure & BBQ: $129
  • Death Valley National Park Audio Guided Driving Tour: $9.99
  • Death Valley National Park Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour: $17
  • Earthquake Canyon Express Downhill Bicycle Adventure: $139
  • Food Adventure Game: $99
  • Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Springs: $200
  • Joshua Tree National Park Air-Conditioned Tour: $149
  • Joshua Tree National Park Driving Tour : $235
  • Joshua Tree National Park Offroad Tour: $235

Tours and Activities in Sacramento

For Sacramento, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Gold Rush & Ghosts SmartPhone App Walking Tour: $6.50
  • Gold Rush and Ghosts of Sacramento Smart Phone guided (App/GPS) Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Romantic Quest Experience: $7.04
  • Historic Folsom: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Old A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Old A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $9.99
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure Self-Guided City Game: $10
  • A Highway 49 Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour from Jackson to Angels Camp: $12
  • Delta's History and Wine: A Self-Guided Driving Tour: $12
  • Driving in Delta’s Wine Country: Private Self-Guided Audio Tour: $12
  • A Highway 49 Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour from Auburn to Placerville: $12
  • A Highway 49 Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour from Placerville to Jackson: $12

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Palm Springs $13
    Sacramento $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Sacramento

Also in Sacramento, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Wine Tasting Audio Tour - Lodi California: $35
  • Cider and Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch - near Sacramento: $125


When comparing the travel costs between Palm Springs and Sacramento, we can see that Palm Springs is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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 Sacramento Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Palm Springs or Sacramento?

Sacramento has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Palm Springs. When comparing the sizes of Palm Springs and Sacramento, 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 Sacramento?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Palm Springs or Sacramento in the Summer?

Both Sacramento and Palm Springs during the summer are popular places to visit. The hiking and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Palm Springs this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Sacramento for the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Palm Springs is around the same temperature as Sacramento. Typically, the summer temperatures in Palm Springs in July average around 73°F (23°C), and Sacramento averages at about 76°F (24°C).

Palm Springs usually gets less rain in July than Sacramento. Palm Springs gets 0 inches (1 mm) of rain, while Sacramento receives 0 inches (1 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Palm Springs 73°F (23°C) 
    Sacramento 76°F (24°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or Sacramento in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Palm Springs and Sacramento. Many travelers come to Palm Springs for the hiking trails and the shopping scene. Furthermore, many visitors come to Sacramento in the autumn for the shopping scene.

In October, Palm Springs is generally a little warmer than Sacramento. Daily temperatures in Palm Springs average around 69°F (20°C), and Sacramento fluctuates around 64°F (18°C).

In October, Palm Springs usually receives less rain than Sacramento. Palm Springs gets 0.3 inches (7 mm) of rain, while Sacramento receives 1.1 inches (27 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Palm Springs 69°F (20°C) 
    Sacramento 64°F (18°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or Sacramento in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Palm Springs as well as Sacramento. Many visitors come to Palm Springs in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, most visitors come to Sacramento for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Palm Springs is much warmer than Sacramento in the winter. The daily temperature in Palm Springs averages around 57°F (14°C) in January, and Sacramento fluctuates around 45°F (7°C).

Palm Springs usually gets less rain in January than Sacramento. Palm Springs gets 2 inches (52 mm) of rain, while Sacramento receives 3.8 inches (97 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Palm Springs 57°F (14°C) 
    Sacramento 45°F (7°C)

Should I visit Palm Springs or Sacramento in the Spring?

Both Sacramento and Palm Springs are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities.

In the spring, Palm Springs is a little warmer than Sacramento. Typically, the spring temperatures in Palm Springs in April average around 62°F (17°C), and Sacramento averages at about 58°F (15°C).

In April, Palm Springs usually receives less rain than Sacramento. Palm Springs gets 0.9 inches (24 mm) of rain, while Sacramento receives 1.3 inches (32 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Palm Springs 62°F (17°C) 
    Sacramento 58°F (15°C)

Typical Weather for Sacramento and Palm Springs

Palm Springs Sacramento
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 57°F (14°C) 2 inches (52 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.8 inches (97 mm)
Feb 58°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 51°F (10°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Mar 59°F (15°C) 2.2 inches (57 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Apr 62°F (17°C) 0.9 inches (24 mm) 58°F (15°C) 1.3 inches (32 mm)
May 65°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm) 65°F (18°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Jun 69°F (20°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 72°F (22°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 73°F (23°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 76°F (24°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Aug 74°F (24°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 75°F (24°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Sep 73°F (23°C) 0.4 inches (9 mm) 72°F (22°C) 0.5 inches (12 mm)
Oct 69°F (20°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm) 64°F (18°C) 1.1 inches (27 mm)
Nov 62°F (17°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm) 53°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Dec 57°F (14°C) 1.7 inches (42 mm) 45°F (7°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm)