A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Phoenix vs. Salt Lake City for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Hiking

Should you visit Phoenix or Salt Lake City?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Phoenix and Salt Lake City can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Phoenix

Phoenix is a laid back, sprawling, and desert city. It's also popular because of the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a notable, religious, and architectural city. It's also popular because of the food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and hiking.

Phoenix and Salt Lake City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Home to Temple Square
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Phoenix or Salt Lake City?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Salt Lake City than Phoenix. While Phoenix is larger than Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Salt Lake City is very popular for its museums and scuba diving & snorkeling, while Phoenix attracts visitors for its nightlife. Salt Lake City is more touristy than Phoenix and is known for its religious landmarks and its large Mormon population. It is also well known for Temple Square. Phoenix is famous for its desert landscapes, high number of golf courses, and year round warm weather.

How is Phoenix different from Salt Lake City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Salt Lake City and Phoenix. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Phoenix or Salt Lake City?

Phoenix
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a great city for its historical sights. Also, Phoenix is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its sights and museums.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Salt Lake City. Many of the fascinating sights around town are influenced by the city's Mormon culture. Temple Square is a highlight for most visitors. It spans 35 acres and is beautifully landscaped with several fountains. There are also four main churches - The Temple, the Tabernacle, the Temple Annex, and Assembly Hall. The city also has several museums such as the Natural History Museum and the historic Liberty Park.

Phoenix is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. You'll find art, science, and cultural museums around town. Favorites include the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, S'edav Va'aki Museum, and the Arizona Science Museum.


Is the Food Better in Phoenix or Salt Lake City? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Phoenix
Salt Lake City

Dining out at restaurants in both Phoenix and Salt Lake City can be an enjoyable experience.

Phoenix is becoming an appealing option for foodies. There are many mom-and-pop shops around town that serve everything from casual meals to quality steaks. There's also a huge selection of Mexican restaurants, as well as other international options such as sushi, dim sum, and Italian.

Salt Lake City offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. In recent years the food scene has really improved and you'll find a variety of restaurants that serve everything from upscale dishes to more casual fare.

Is Phoenix or Salt Lake City Better for Nightlife?

Phoenix
Salt Lake City

Phoenix is very good for its evening party scene. However, Salt Lake City is lacking in good options for nightlife.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Phoenix. The best nightlife scene is found in downtown and central Phoenix. There are bars, restaurants, and venues where you can catch a show. North Phoenix also has grown into a popular evening spot with cocktail bars and pubs.

Salt Lake City is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. Known for its large Mormon population, nightlife isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Salt Lake City. While it will likely never be a party city, there are a growing number of entertainment options around town.

Is Phoenix or Salt Lake City Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Phoenix
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a city with good options for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Phoenix is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

It's fun to get in the water and check out the local marine life in Salt Lake City. There are a number of good ski resorts nearby, making this a good base or starting point for a ski vacation.

Phoenix is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.


Is Phoenix or Salt Lake City Better for Hiking?

Phoenix
Salt Lake City

Both Phoenix and Salt Lake City are destinations which offer nice hiking.

Plenty of visitors go hiking around Phoenix. You don't have to head far out of town for impressive hiking opportunities. You'll find trails that range from easy to challenging, and many pass through other-worldly landscapes. You'll find popular trails in Usery Mountain Regional Park, Papago Park, White Tank Mountain Regional Park, South Mountain Park and many others.

Salt Lake City offers some nice hiking trails. The city offers easy access to many diverse trails, so if you're a nature enthusiasts, you'll appreciate this destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Phoenix or Salt Lake City?

Phoenix
Salt Lake City

If you're looking to go shopping, Phoenix and Salt Lake City both offer plenty of nice spots.

Phoenix has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There are plenty of shopping centers, outlets, and malls where you'll find the standard chain stores. You'll also find farmer's markets around town.

Salt Lake City is a great destination for shopping. The city has sprawling outlet malls as well as local stores and craft shops. City Creek Center is a favorite shopping destination, but there are also several large shopping malls that are worth visiting.

Is Phoenix or Salt Lake City Better for Families?

Phoenix
Salt Lake City

Both Phoenix and Salt Lake City are nice to visit with kids.

Phoenix offers lots of family activities. Kids will love the Phoenix Zoo, the Arizona Science Center, the SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium, and the Bearizona Wildlife Park. There's also a number of parks and gardens as well as a children's museum and several other interactive museums for kids.

Salt Lake City is a family-friendly place to visit. There are museums that kids will enjoy like the Natural History Museum of Utah and the Leonardo Museum. There are also fun-filled activities like a visit to Lagoon Amusement Park. You can learn about history at This Is the Place Heritage Park or learn about the undersea world at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.


Is Phoenix or Salt Lake City Better for Couples?

Phoenix
Salt Lake City

Both Phoenix and Salt Lake City are nice destinations for a couple's getaway.

Phoenix is a good city for couples to visit. There are many parks and gardens in town as well as beautiful hikes and outdoor activities that couples will enjoy. In the evening, there's theater, shows, and many romantic restaurants.

Salt Lake City is a nice destination for couples. The city is filled with beautiful gardens like Red Butte Garden. There are also nice restaurants and romantic hotels that will make this a nice place for a couple's getaway.

Is Phoenix or Salt Lake City Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Phoenix
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a city with good options for times when you don't have a car. However, Phoenix is not known for its public transit.

While Salt Lake City offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There's a surprisingly good public transit system that includes light rail, buses, and commuter trains, but if you want to get out of town you'll need to have a car.

Public transit is generally limited in Phoenix. There's a bus and light rail system, but you really need your own vehicle to get around.

Is Phoenix or Salt Lake City a more walkable city?

Phoenix
Salt Lake City

Phoenix and Salt Lake City are reasonable when it comes to walkability.

Phoenix is generally not a very walkable city. It's a sprawling city and the only real area that's walkable is the downtown.

Salt Lake City is generally not very walkable. While some neighborhoods are walkable, like Temple Square, most visitors prefer to have a car.


For even more information, also check out Is Phoenix Worth Visiting? and Is Salt Lake City Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Salt Lake City or Phoenix?

How long in Phoenix or Salt Lake City?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Phoenix and Salt Lake City. In our opinion, Salt Lake City has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Salt Lake City than Phoenix. In general, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Phoenix, and 2-3 days is enough time in Salt Lake City.

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

Couples should spend more time in Salt Lake City than Phoenix. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Salt Lake City that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Salt Lake City than Phoenix 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 Salt Lake City.


  • How many days in Phoenix or Salt Lake City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Phoenix 1-3 
    Salt Lake City 2-3

One day in Phoenix or Salt Lake City?

In Phoenix, you'll find museums and nightlife. So, one day is just the right amount of time to spend here.

In Salt Lake City, you'll find food and scuba diving and snorkeling. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Phoenix or Salt Lake City?

Phoenix is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

In Salt Lake City, you'll find scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Salt Lake City has to offer.

Five days in Phoenix or Salt Lake City?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Phoenix. It offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Salt Lake City is a great place to explore. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.


A week in Phoenix or Salt Lake City?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the city of Phoenix. Your budget might influence how long you stay. One week 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Salt Lake City. Many people enjoy the museums and food when visiting Salt Lake City. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


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


Which place is cheaper, Salt Lake City or Phoenix?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Phoenix is $238, while the average daily cost in Salt Lake City is $246. 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 Phoenix and Salt Lake City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Phoenix $144
    Salt Lake City $119
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Phoenix $288
    Salt Lake City $238
Compare Hotels in Phoenix and Salt Lake City

Looking for a hotel in Phoenix or Salt Lake City? 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 Phoenix


Hotels in Salt Lake City


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: Phoenix Hotel Prices and Salt Lake City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Phoenix $39
    Salt Lake City $45

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Phoenix

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

  • Private Transfer from Sky Harbor Airport PHX to Phoenix in Luxury SUV: $104
  • Private Transfer from Sky Harbor Airport PHX to Phoenix in Business Car: $91
  • Private Transfer from Phoenix to Sky Harbor Airport PHX in Luxury Van: $140
  • Private Transfer from Phoenix to Sky Harbor Airport PHX in Luxury SUV: $104
  • Private Transfer From Hotels To Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport PHX : $41
  • Sky Harbor Airport Private Transfer: $195
  • One-Way Transfer Sky Harbor Airport to Phoenix: $104
  • Phoenix International Airport (PHX) - Private transfer From/to Hotels: $118
  • Departure Private Transfer: Phoenix to Sky Harbor Airport PHX in Luxury Van: $140
  • Departure Private Transfer: Phoenix to Sky Harbor Airport PHX in Luxury SUV: $104
  • Departure Private Transfer: Phoenix to Sky Harbor Airport PHX in Business Car: $91
  • Departure Private Transfer Phoenix City to Phoenix Airport PHX : $109

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Salt Lake City

Also for Salt Lake City, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer from Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) to Park City hotel or address: $262
  • Private Transfer from SLC to Park City UT : $262
  • Salt Lake Airport (SLC) to Canyons Village - Round-Trip Transfer: $231
  • Salt Lake City Airport (SLC): Transfer to Salt Lake City: $203
  • Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) to Park City UT - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $182
  • Private Transfer from Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) to Salt Lake City : $121
  • Private Transfer from SLC to Salt Lake City : $121
  • Salt Lake Airport (SLC) to Canyons Village - Arrival Transfer: $115
  • Private Transfer: Salt Lake City to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) : $108
  • Salt Lake City to Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) - Departure Private Transfer: $46
  • Private Departure Transfer to Salt Lake City Airport SLC: $36

Is it cheaper to fly into Phoenix or Salt Lake City?

Prices for flights to both Salt Lake City and Phoenix 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
    Phoenix $52
    Salt Lake City $50
Typical Food Prices in Phoenix

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Phoenix:


  • Nice Lunch (for 2)
    $36
  • Indian Food Dinner (for 2)
    $32

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Phoenix

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

  • Old Town Scottsdale Food Tour: $92
  • Scottsdale Waterfront Food Tour: $95
  • Quiche Lorraine French Cooking Class in Scottsdale: $129

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Phoenix $40
    Salt Lake City $28

Tours and Activities in Phoenix

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Phoenix.

  • Yuma Territorial Prison & Castle Dome Ghost Town - Private Tour: $300
  • 1.5 Hour Stretch Limo Golf Cart Tour, Ultimate Old Town Exploration: $89
  • 2 Hour Scottsdale Segway Tours - Ultimate Old Town Exploration: $79
  • 2 Hour Segway Tour - Sunsets, Segways & City Lights: $89
  • 2-Hour Arizona Desert Guided E-Bike Tour: $135
  • 2.5 Hour FAT Tire E-Bike Tour – Scottsdale Greenbelt Adventure: $89
  • 3 Cities & Nature Tour. Shop, Art, History, Food. Scottsdale, Phoenix, & Tempe.: $168
  • 3 Hour Guided TomCar ATV Tour in Sonoran Desert: $219
  • Adventure Yoga Experience on Camelback Mountain: $75
  • Apache Trail Tour and Lake Cruise: From Phoenix / Scottsdale: $225
  • Apache Trail and Dolly Steamboat Van Tour: $160
  • Box Canyon ATV Tour in Florence, Arizona: $235

Tours and Activities in Salt Lake City

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

  • 2 Hour Salt Lake Boat Tour with Swimming on the Lake: $79
  • 4-Day Winter Yellowstone Tour: $2,499
  • 45 Minute Great Salt Lake Boat Tour: $37
  • 5-day Tour Yellowstone Park Los Angeles-Salt Lake City: $1,558
  • From 3-Day Yellowstone Wildlife Adventure: $999
  • From Private Bryce Canyon National Park Tour: $1,475
  • From Private Canyonlands National Park Tour: $1,475
  • From Private Capitol Reef National Park Tour: $1,475
  • From Private Goblin Valley State Park Tour: $1,475
  • From Private Tour of Arches National Park: $1,475
  • Great Salt Lake Flying Tour: $249
  • Great Salt Lake Guided Bus Tour from Salt Lake City: $70

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Phoenix $17
    Salt Lake City $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Phoenix

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Phoenix:

  • Scottsdale Bar Hunt: Scorching Scottsdale Bar Crawl: $12
  • Pedal Bar Crawl of Old Town Scottsdale: $55
  • Stretch Limo Party Cart - Custom Bar Crawls, Wine Tastings, Night Clubs & More: $155


When comparing the travel costs between Phoenix and Salt Lake City, we can see that Salt Lake City 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 Phoenix Expensive? and Is Salt Lake City Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Phoenix or Salt Lake City?

Phoenix has a larger population, and is about 7 times larger than the population of Salt Lake City. When comparing the sizes of Phoenix and Salt Lake City, 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.