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Phoenix vs. Vegas: Why Phoenix Is Where You Should Plan Your Next Weekend Getaway

Phoenix vs Las Vegas
Written by Mandy Voisin

This blog post was updated on February 6, 2023.

When it comes to a quick weekend getaway, Vegas gets all the love. It’s the go-to location for bachelor parties, girls weekends, and even family fun. But once you get to Vegas, you realize that it’s crowded and expensive and if you’re not buying what the Vegas strip is selling, you’ll get burned out easily.

Cue Phoenix.

Phoenix deserves a little more credit than it typically gets. It may not be as flashy as Vegas, but it has just as much — or more — to offer.

Here are 10 reasons to choose Phoenix vs. Vegas for your next weekend getaway:

The sun is always out to play

woman hiking in arizona desert sun

While we wouldn’t put in a plug to visit either locale during the hottest summer months, Phoenix is absolutely lovely for 9 months of the year. If you’re looking to escape the cold, you’ll find the sun shining nearly all day, every day. It’s hardly ever rainy in this desert oasis, perfect for pool days and golf trips. It stays much warmer in Phoenix during the winter than Vegas, so if you’re visiting during those months it’s a better choice too.

Ready for a weekend trip? Check out these cheap flights to Phoenix to get you there!

The resorts are top notch

The Las Vegas hotels get a lot of attention from Hollywood, but if you’re not into robbing billionaires with your crew or even gambling for that matter, traipsing through a smoky casino every time you need to go to your room gets old. There are hotels in the Phoenix Valley to rival even the most lavish in Vegas. We recommend The Saguaro and The Phoenician — both roughly a 15-minute drive from the Sky Harbor airport.

The nightlife is hot

Group of friends partying in a nightclub and toasting drinks.

If it’s partying you’re looking for, Phoenix has it. With swanky clubs in Scottsdale to dive bars downtown, it’s hot like the city itself. Phoenix also tends to get more live acts than Vegas, despite what Vegas billboards might suggest. Vegas offers Top 40 performers, but Phoenix gets them all, from indie to pop to country to rock. We recommend Crescent Ballroom for shows; Linger Longer Lounge for drinks and games; and Culinary Dropout for fun, drinks, and good eats.

It’s less expensive overall than Vegas

With lower food, housing, and transportation costs, Phoenix is about 6% cheaper than Vegas. It may not seem like a huge difference, but it can add up when you take into consideration everything that you’ll be spending on during a weekend trip. You’ll also save money by not playing the slots or skipping that late-night poker sesh. Boom.

It’s easy (and cheap!) to get to

airport control tower and airplane taking off at sunset

When taking flights to Phoenix, you’ll probably be landing at Phoenix Sky Harbor. It’s one of the biggest hubs in the western United States, which means it’s easy and cheap to get to from nearly any location in the country. Every day, more than 120,000 passengers arrive and depart from Sky Harbor, making it one of the busiest airports in the nation.

It’s easy to get around in Phoenix

In Vegas, you’ll have to pay for parking nearly anywhere on the strip and the traffic can hit an absolute standstill. Phoenix still has traffic, yes. But it’s easy to get around in a car and the parking fees aren’t nearly as steep. And the Phoenix Valley metro light-rail is super convenient and inexpensive, at just $4 a day. There are 35 stations spanning nearly the entire Phoenix valley, and each station features local art — so you get a lift and some culture in one shot.

The restaurants are incredible

Fusion food,decorate on white dish,raw tuna salad

Phoenix is a major metropolis, and the food scene is reason alone to visit. The Fox concept restaurants like Wildflower and Dough Bird are quite simply, freaking good. Bobby-Q’s barbecue rivals that of Austin Texas and is SO amazing (and they give you free, hot sugared donuts as you leave!). And health nuts and regular nuts alike will crave True Food Kitchen’s fantastic menu. Vegas has great restaurants, but Phoenix’s food scene might just be better.

RELATED: Want to know more about where to go for the best meals? Here are must-eat restaurants for when you visit Phoenix! 

The golf

There are nearly 200 golf courses in Phoenix-Scottsdale, and a winter golf outing is hard to beat. The fairways are lush and green, contrasting with the beautiful desert landscape and the saguaro cactus for a truly beautiful view. Because there are so many courses you may be able to find some good deals on a tee-time compared to Vegas, where corporate bookings drive up prices.

Pool parties!

Group Of Friends Having Party In Pool Drinking Champagne

The New York Times calls Scottsdale the “desert version of Miami’s South Beach.” Because it’s sunny year-round, the pools in Phoenix are amazing. You’ll find hopping pool parties at the Maya Club, The W Hotel in Scottsdale, and BLK Live. Many of them even offer Bachelor/Bachelorette party packages and group discounts so you and your crew can party Vegas-style.

There are actually things to do in the area surrounding Phoenix

When you go to Vegas, you go to Vegas, because there is nothing surrounding that oasis but desert, freeways, and more desert. When you go to Phoenix, there is so much to do! Hike Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, or venture two hours to Flagstaff where you’ll find pine trees and skiing in the winter. Visit Sedona, a beautiful town nestled into the Arizona red-rock with hiking, shops, spas, and art galleries. The sheer amount of activities make it ideal for those looking for adventure, spa time, or family fun.

We still love you Vegas. But Phoenix is like your underrated little sister — she just gets more beautiful with age. If you haven’t been yet, book your flights to Phoenix today!


Love Phoenix? Tell us about some of the great experiences that make it the perfect weekend getaway.


About the author

Mandy Voisin

Hey I'm Mandy. Writer, traveler, wife, mother, author, woman, over-sharer. I like to talk about the grit of travel, the beautiful, and the people that I meet.