Fort Lauderdale vs West Palm Beach – Where to Visit or Live in 2023

Our in-depth comparison between Fort Lauderdale vs West Palm Beach will give you all the details about where to visit or move to in South Florida in 2023.

Since it is not always easy to decide on any place you wish to visit or relocate to, we’ve laid out a comprehensive comparison between these two popular coastal cities in Florida that you may be considering.

When it comes to West Palm Beach vs Fort Lauderdale, you should know that these beach cities are separated by just 50 miles and both feature a similar vibe and atmosphere. So, we would like to give you an unbiased comparison to decide which one is right for you based on your personal preferences and lifestyle.

We made sure to go into all the details so that you can fully compare Fort Lauderdale vs West Palm Beach and determine which suits you the best.

Fort Lauderdale vs West Palm Beach – Overview

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale can be found along the southeastern coast of Florida and is nicknamed the “Venice of America” because of the intricate canal system that is found throughout the city.

West Palm Beach, Florida

Meanwhile, West Palm Beach earns the nickname of the “Orchid City” and is also situated along the same coast. It is also a close neighbor to the glam inhabitants of Palm Beach.

Fort Lauderdale is the 10th largest city in Florida, with a population of about 183,000 residents, and is the 2nd largest in the Miami area.

West Palm Beach is a bit smaller than Fort Lauderdale, with a population of around 117,000 people, so would be a better option if you prefer a less crowded area to roam around.

Both Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach are directly located on the water, so both surroundings give off a similar touristy resort vibe.

We also looked at the walkability and bikeability of each city from Walk Score.

  • Fort Lauderdale: Walkability – 56
  • West Palm Beach: Walkability – 40
  • Fort Lauderdale: Bikeability – 56
  • West Palm Beach: Bikeability – 50

They are virtually identical in their walkability, while biking in West Palm Beach is a little more accommodating compared to Fort Lauderdale.

Either way, they both offer some walkable areas in their downtown district, but you will still need a car to reach the rest of each city.

Fort Lauderdale vs West Palm Beach – Climate


You will not find a huge variance between Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach in terms of their weather. They both offer a warm, tropical rainforest-type climate that locals and travelers can enjoy in every season.

Therefore, both West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale would be a great choice to visit any time of the year because of its amazing weather, picturesque beaches, and famous attractions.

You can also expect to see a lot of sunny weather in both West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale.

In Fort Lauderdale, there are an average of 246 sunny days per year, while residents in West Palm Beach experience about 238 days of sun each year.

Fort Lauderdale vs West Palm Beach – Cost of Living

When it comes to the cost of living, you will start to notice how West Palm Beach vs Fort Lauderdale begin to differ.

The cost of living in Fort Lauderdale is about 15% higher than the average in Florida, while West Palm Beach is only 6% higher than the state average.

Additionally, Fort Lauderdale is considered the 7th most expensive city in Florida to live in.

If you compare housing in Fort Lauderdale vs West Palm Beach, you will see that both options are quite pricey.

The average value for homes in Fort Lauderdale in 2023 is roughly $450,000, while the average in West Palm Beach is a more reasonable $355,000.

Therefore, if you are looking for a more affordable option for Florida coastal living, then West Palm Beach should be your target destination. 

Fort Lauderdale vs West Palm Beach – Job Market

When comparing the job opportunities that you can find in West Palm Beach vs Fort Lauderdale, there is not much of a striking difference.

Both cities offer lots of jobs in the tourism and service industries and both benefit from a diversified economy with a strong market for healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and real estate.

Top employers in Fort Lauderdale include large corporations like AutoNation and Citrix. In West Palm Beach, you can find big employers like Raytheon, Johnson Controls, and ADT Security.

Fort Lauderdale’s economy is expected to expand about 38% over the next 10 years, which is a bit above the US average of 33%.

Meanwhile, the job market in West Palm Beach is predicted to increase by 39% over the same time period.

Fort Lauderdale vs West Palm Beach – Things to Do for Travelers

Fort Lauderdale beach

Comparing West Palm Beach vs Fort Lauderdale as a travel destination is quite an even battle as both are equally attractive beach locations. But, each city does offer a lot more.

Fort Lauderdale has 23 miles of some of the most beautiful beaches in southeastern Florida. The stunning blue water and fine sand attract locals and tourists alike to the area. Various beach activities await travelers in Fort Lauderdale, such as kayaking, paddleboard, biking, inline skating, and many other outdoor activities.

The City of Fort Lauderdale also offers many attractions, including the vibrant Las Olas Boulevard, where you can visit numerous art galleries, boutiques, and gourmet restaurants.

There is also the famous Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District that spans over 22 blocks of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Meanwhile, West Palm Beach offers similar beach activities on the stunning Palm Beach coastline. It also features tons of things to do around the city, including golf courses, exciting zoos, and interesting museums.

In addition, you can visit the historic downtown district of West Palm Beach, where you can enjoy shopping, bars with live music, and some of the best restaurants in the whole state.

Fort Lauderdale vs West Palm Beach – Things to Do for Residents

If you are looking to move to Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach, you should know that they are not just nice places to visit, but also great communities to live in.

Fort Lauderdale is a relatively safe place to live with many quiet, family-friendly neighborhoods. The city is also full of art galleries, libraries, museums, and many other community-driven amenities.

West Palm Beach is also an ideal location for potential residents as well. The city is known for its incredible restaurants, golf courses, and an extensive arts and culture scene, including the popular Norton Museum of Art and the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium.

Both are also great locations for retirees, as the climate is great year-round and there is also something to do.

Fort Lauderdale vs West Palm Beach – Culture

Fort Lauderdale is celebrated for its culture and art scene, even compared to more notable places like Miami.

Fort Lauderdale has more than 4,100 restaurants and 120 nightclubs concentrated in the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District.

You can also find a variety of live music in Fort Lauderdale, which ranges from music festivals to the South Florida Symphony Orchestra for more classic tastes.

Meanwhile, West Palm Beach has a thriving arts scene where various museums and galleries showcase some of the nation’s best artists. There is also no shortage of bars, clubs, and restaurants that come alive at night. After all, West Palm Beach is a premier tourist destination.

Fort Lauderdale vs West Palm Beach – Summary

There may be no wrong answer to the choice between West Palm Beach vs Fort Lauderdale.

Both offer a prime coastal location with perfect weather, tons of entertainment and amenities, and a good nightlife scene.

We think you should visit both of them during your next vacation and see if they appeal to you before you decide to move.

If you want to learn more about Florida as a whole, check our latest article on the best places to move to in Florida for 2023.