Living in Las Vegas vs. Phoenix

las vegas vs phoenix

Choosing a city to retire to can be tough – especially when you’ve narrowed it down to two incredible cities. How do you pick a winner in the living in Las Vegas vs Phoenix debate?

Here’s more information to help you make your decision!

Retire in Phoenix or Las Vegas?

phoenix vs las vegas

Things to Do, Entertainment and Outdoor Activities

Although both cities offer a wide range of activities and entertainment, one of the major differences between living in Phoenix vs Las Vegas is the fact that Vegas has all of the entertainment offered on the Las Vegas Strip.

World-class shows, casinos and restaurants can be found in Las Vegas. Additionally, the city is now a sports destination home to the NFL Las Vegas Raiders and NHL Golden Knights.

Phoenix has some great options too – world-class spas, beautiful golf courses, and good restaurants to try. The city is also perfect for sports fans with its professional football, baseball, basketball and hockey teams.

Despite the hustle and bustle of their city centers, both cities are well-situated for the outdoorsy types as well. Phoenix and Las Vegas have many beautiful outdoor parks and hiking found nearby.


One of the similarities between living in Phoenix vs Las Vegas is the pleasant warm weather both regions see throughout the year. However, during the summer the temperatures in Phoenix can often reach extreme highs. Las Vegas does also get quite hot but doesn’t reach the same intensity as Phoenix does.


Despite being a major city with many residents and visitors, Las Vegas traffic is actually quite manageable. According to Inrix’s 2018 scorecard, Las Vegas is ranked 607 on the list of cities throughout the world, with a -19% Year-Over-Year change which suggests that the already decent traffic situation is improving.

In comparison, Phoenix was ranked 261 and demonstrated a 25% increase. That’s not to say that the traffic will continue to change at those rates, but it does demonstrate a recent surge in traffic in Phoenix as more move to the area and visit due to the city’s increasing popularity.

As with most major cities, if you are driving during rush hour in Las Vegas or Phoenix, you will likely encounter heavy traffic.

Regency in Summerlin Clubhouse
Regency at Summerlin Clubhouse

Retirement Communities

While both cities have a number of 55+ retirement communities, the number in Las Vegas has grown as the city becomes a more popular destination for retirees. Here are some popular retirement communities in Las Vegas:

Phoenix is home to many age-qualified communities and has a deep history of catering to retirees. Sun City Arizona is often cited as the first retirement community, having opened on January 1, 1960.

Medical & Healthcare

When it comes to health care, Las Vegas and Phoenix are both solid options. Both cities contain first-rate hospitals and other types of health care centers.

Phoenix has 52 whereas Las Vegas has 24. Although that difference may seem severe, remember that Las Vegas is a smaller city with a much smaller population, so having less hospitals makes sense. Phoenix is also not lacking when it comes to healthcare. Overall, both cities are able to provide satisfactory healthcare and meet your needs.

Additionally, the climates of Phoenix and Las Vegas in general can actually have some unexpected health benefits: the desert climate has been known to reduce the number of common allergens and some people who move to either city find relief from seasonal allergies.

Cost of Living in Phoenix vs. Las Vegas

When it comes to cost of living, both Phoenix and Las Vegas are similarly reasonable options.


It all depends on where in the cities you decide to buy. Over the years as home prices have rose, Las Vegas and Phoenix have traded places back-and-forth on which city is the most expensive.

However, the price range can vary immensely and both cities have areas that cost more than others. Currently at the time of publishing on February 2, 2021, here are the median home listing prices in Phoenix and Las Vegas, according to Zillow:

• Median Home Listing Price in Phoenix: $387,000
• Median Home Listing Price in Las Vegas: $334,500


Las Vegas is a very tax-friendly place as there is no state income tax and no taxes on pension income, Social Security, or other earned income. You won’t be taxed on your social security benefits in Phoenix either, but pensions and income are taxed at the normal income tax rate throughout Arizona.

Still making up your mind about which state is best for your retirement? Check out Arizona vs Nevada: Where’s Better to Retire?

living in phoenix vs las vegas

Pros and Cons of Living in Las Vegas vs. Phoenix

Pros of Living in Las Vegas

• The cost of living is generally low here, especially when compared to other cities in the U.S.
• There’s always something to do!
• Despite its big reputation, Las Vegas is a relatively small city. Even if you live in the suburbs, you’re still fairly close to the strip and even with traffic it doesn’t take too long to get around.

Pros of Living in Phoenix

• If you enjoy playing golf, you’ll have the opportunity to play at some incredible world-class golf courses.
• Phoenix is also a city with a thriving sports culture – the city has 4 professional sports teams – football, baseball, hockey and basketball.
• As with many major cities, Phoenix can offer a diverse range of choices for things like food, housing, and entertainment. No matter your personal taste, you can find something that suits you here.

Cons of Living in Las Vegas

• Las Vegas sees its fair share of tourists and while you can avoid many of the areas that are popular amongst visitors, there are some busy areas of the city.
• While there is beautiful scenery throughout the state of Nevada, Las Vegas tends to lack greenery as it is a drier desert area.
• The public transportation here isn’t very convenient compared to most major cities in the United States.

Cons of Living in Phoenix

• While the sunshine of Phoenix can be a huge draw, the temperatures can soar to somewhat unbearable heights during the summer months.
• Phoenix is relatively isolated compared to other major cities, especially Las Vegas. While Phoenix does have its own airport and you can travel from here, the journey is longer as opposed to the short flight or 4-hour drive between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, or other west coast destinations.
• Summer in Phoenix can bring excessively hot weather, and dust storms are a common occurrence during this time as well.

Should I Retire in Phoenix or Las Vegas?

The Phoenix vs Las Vegas debate is tough since both cities have a lot to offer, and ultimately it does boil down to your personal preference.

Phoenix is a great option for a retirement filled with golfing, hiking through national parks, and sampling great food and drink.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas can provide a wide range of experiences including world-class fun, outdoor adventuring, exciting shows, golfing, gambling at casinos and tax benefits.

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