Both human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) and umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UC-MSCs) have been explored as attractive mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) sources, but very few parallel comparative studies of these two cell types have been made. We designed a side-by-side comparative study by isolating MSCs from the adipose tissue and umbilical cords from mothers delivering full-term babies and thus compared the various biological aspects of ASCs and UC-MSCs derived from the same individual, in one study. Both types of cells expressed cell surface markers characteristic of MSCs. ASCs and UC-MSCs both could be efficiently induced into adipocytes, osteoblasts, and neuronal phenotypes. While there were no significant differences in their osteogenic differentiation, the adipogenesis of ASCs was more prominent and efficient than UC-MSCs. In the meanwhile, ASCs responded better to neuronal induction methods, exhibiting the higher differentiation rate in a relatively shorter time. In addition, UC-MSCs exhibited a more prominent secretion profile of cytokines than ASCs. These results indicate that although ASCs and UC-MSCs share considerable similarities in their immunological phenotype and pluripotentiality, certain biological differences do exist, which might have different implications for future cell-based therapy.