Palm Desert versus La Quinta: Comparing Two Great Places To Live

Palm Desert and La Quinta are great places to live, but some differences exist. If you’re considering making the greater Palm Springs region your home, let’s explore the details.

Cost of Living

Toy house and calculator on table close-up.

The cost of living in Palm Desert is 22% higher than the national average in terms of food and grocery, and La Quinta is 31% higher. However, both cities boast incredible healthcare costs because they’re lower than the US average. 

Housing in Palm Desert is more affordable than in La Quinta. On average, La Quinta is 81% higher. Demand drives that significant difference. La Quinta also allows short-term vacation rentals, which helps drive that demand. Property taxes are similar for All Desert Cities, typically 1.25% of the home’s purchase price.

Shopping and Golf Courses

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For shopaholics and golf enthusiasts, Palm Desert takes the lead with its upscale El Paseo Drive and abundance of golf courses. Both cities offer plenty of retail and dining options, but Palm Desert, of course, has the edge in luxury shopping.

Natural Scenery and Amenities


Palm Desert and La Quinta are perfect for nature lovers. They have abundant access to golf courses, hiking trails, tennis courts, and swimming pools. 

It is also worth pointing out that both cities are popular holiday destinations, which adds to their unique charm. Old Town La Quinta or El Paseo at Christmas are not to be missed.

Job Opportunities

People reaching for a job offer

There is no need to worry about job opportunities. Both cities have a projected future job growth rate higher than the national average, and remote work is highly desirable in both cities.


The median age in La Quinta is 5.5 years younger than in Palm Desert, making it a more youthful community. 

La Quinta is a smaller city with a population of just over 40,000, compared to Palm Desert, which is just above 51,000. Those numbers might not sound like a lot, but for the desert, they’re about average, considering the total population is only about 466,000. 

Air Quality

The Desert Palm area has slightly better air quality due to its proximity to, or should I say distance from, the Salton Sea.

Weather and Landscape

The weather of both cities sizzles in July and August with an average high temperature of about 108 degrees. Yes, that is freaking hot. 

How do we do it, you ask? Air conditioning is the only way to survive the summers out here. Plan on doing anything that requires being outdoors as early in the day as possible. Really, summer is our version of winter, so you just don’t go outside in that nastiness unless you have to. 

In January, La Quinta experiences a slightly cooler average low temperature of 41 degrees, while Palm Desert hovers around 45 degrees. Higher temperatures are in the 70s. There are really insignificant differences between the two cities when it comes to temperatures. 

Palm Desert and La Quinta are amazing places to call home. They each have a unique charm and offering. If you want more detailed information on these or any other desert city, contact me, Stephen Burchard, The Desert Bowtie Realtor®, taking the (k)nots out of real estate.