Quite often we are asked what is the best time of year to visit Los Angeles. The short answer is anytime!
There is a reason it is called sunny Southern California. It’s sunny almost 300 days of the year. You are also going to have delightful weather most any time you come to visit. The average high temperature fluctuates only about 10 degrees throughout the year – from around 68 degrees to 85 degrees. Very few, if any travel destinations in the United States can make the same claim.
However, we would say the best times to visit Los Angeles are from March to May and between September and November. During these months, the crowds are thinner, hotels and air fares are cheaper and the temperatures range from the 60s to the 80s.
Summer in LA
Summer is the busiest tourist season in Los Angeles, with July and August being the months with peak tourist traffic. It isn’t that summer is the best time to come to LA, it’s probably the worst. It’s simply because that’s when the kids are out of school and most people get their vacations.
Though the average temperature is said to be about 85 degrees in the summer, it can frequently get well over 100 degrees. Obviously it’s a great time to head out to the beaches and beach towns where the temperatures are likely to be a good 15 degrees cooler! The drawback is they will be packed. So will ever other major tourist area such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hotels and airfares cost more and you’ll have to learn to enjoy crowds.
LA smog has declined dramatically since the seventies, but the heat in the summer months does trap it in the air. It’s difficult to find a clear day to see the city from one of the vantage points such as on the observation deck of City Hall, the Griffith Observatory or from the Hollywood Bowl Scenic Overlook. You’ll still get some amazing views, but on a clear day the view is nothing short of spectacular. The clearest skies are found in May and October. Actually from October through May you will have a pretty good chance of getting that perfect view. You can often see from Hollywood or Downtown all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
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Fall in LA
The crowds are thinning, but the hills around L.A. will look astonishingly dry. While overall it is cooler than in July or August, it can remain surprisingly warn through the end of October. It’s still a great time of going to the beaches and soaking up sun. You just won’t have to share the sand with as many people.
Winter in LA
The rain in LA all happens in the winter months. It comes in spurts where it will rain fairly heavily for a couple of days and then be nice again. Most of the rain falls in January and February. But after the rains you have the most beautifully clear skies! This is the time you want to visit some of the scenic overlooks. Bring sweaters (and umbrellas), it can get too cool to be out without one but you aren’t likely to need a winter coat! This is also the time you can find the cheapest hotel rates in LA.
If going into the water isn’t a must on your agenda, there is no better time to go to the beaches. The crowds have thinned and you can just relax and enjoy the space on the Venice Pier or eat dinner at one of the cafes on the boardwalk and take in the serenity of the coast in the twilight hours.
Spring in LA
An odd thing I’ve noticed in Los Angeles is that spring can look a lot like fall anywhere else. Many of the trees shed their leaves here in the spring months. Don’t ask me why. But it is a beautiful time. The rains are ending, the skies are clear and the temperatures are hanging out in the 70s.
You may want to check when spring break is happening and avoid that week, but otherwise it is a wonderful time to visit Los Angeles.
The bottom line is we love LA all year long. We do try to avoid the beaches on the weekends and formal holidays during the summer months (pick a Monday through Friday for your day at the beach).
We also feel that some of the best things to do and see in Los Angeles are not necessarily the typical tourist attractions…. or the “non-touristy things to do in LA”. And that there are special ways to enjoy your trip. For example, skip the chain hotels and stay in one of the artsy, Bohemian hotels on the Venice Boardwalk. By the way, if you are near the Venice Boardwalk at sundown on a Sunday, don’t miss the Electric Light Parade where colorfully lit bicycles (looking like Christmas parade floats) parade up and down the boardwalk. It’s free.
You might want to spend less time (and money) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and use the time you save to take yourself on a self guided tour of the places Walt Disney lived and worked in Los Feliz (next to Hollywood) when he was first building the Disney empire. Or swing by the Music Box Steps where the 1932 Laurel and Hardy film, The Music Box was filmed.
Spend a bit of time browsing our site. We are constantly working to bring you more of the magic of Los Angeles and special ways to enjoy all this city has to offer.
By the way, the photos on Totally LA are all taken by us of places we have actually been and tell you about. I’m frequently asked what camera gear I use so I’m pasting in an Amazon link of the cameras I actually use. We’re also asked why Totally LA does so well on the web. Most of that has to do with speed and we chose Siteground for our hosting as it is the fastest web host according to many studies.
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