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Best time to visit Los Angeles

See Hollywood sights in the sunshine 284 days a year.

The best times to visit LA are October and May, when crowds are slim and the weather is sunny and warm every single day. Still, budget travelers should consider traveling in the heat of summer to save money on plane tickets. Also consider seasonal festivals, events and attractions in La La Land before booking your trip.

Best time of year to visit Los Angeles

Peak season

Late May to early September — summer vacation for kids nationwide — is the busiest time in LA, especially at Disneyland. Spring break is another hot travel time. Expect ample company at most tourist attractions, as well as more expensive flights.

Holiday weeks and weekends attract loads of sightseers year-round. Still, blue skies and Christmas lights might be worth the trek. The average temperature on December 25th is 59 °F.

Off-season

Autumn tends to be less crowded in LA since most tourists have gone home. And late October is the sweet spot for travelers seeking pleasant temps, short queues and brilliant sunsets. You’ll find decent rates on plane tickets targeting autumn travel, especially when booking four to six months in advance.

Winter months are pretty quiet in LA. Temps hover around the 50s and low 60s, so incoming flights are cheaper due to lower demand. If you don’t mind the cooler temps, choose January or February for less-congested traffic, fewer crowds and shorter lines.

Cheapest time to visit Los Angeles

One of the cheapest times to fly into Los Angeles is August, when flights are 5% cheaper than average, according to Kayak.com. Avoid December, when flight prices spike by 18%. Even though Los Angeles is hot in August, it won’t be humid. Plan your outdoor activities during the mornings and evenings, when the weather is still relatively cool. But keep in mind that the beaches will be packed in August, as locals and tourists flock to the Pacific for a break from the heat.

Another cheap time to visit LA is January and February, as both airlines and hotels drop prices during the off season.

Weather

Los Angeles is known for having blue, sunny skies pretty much all year round — though December, January and February may be a bit too chilly for sun bathing. From May to September, it almost never rains.

Here’s what you can expect from every month:

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
High68° F69° F70° F73° F74° F 79° F 83° F 85° F83° F79° F73° F68° F
Low49° F51° F52° F55° F58° F 62° F 65° F 66° F65° F60° F53° F49° F

Average yearly temperatures sourced from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in February 2021.

Watch out for: the Santa Ana Winds.

Also known as the “devil’s winds,” this natural phenomenon occurs every year in late summer to early fall. Though it doesn’t usually last more than a day, hot, heavy winds kick up in the mountains and whoosh towards the coast, scattering debris and snapping tree limbs.

It’s best to plan indoor events if you’re in LA during Santa Ana — like mingling with wax figures at Madame Tussauds or nerding out on film memorabilia at the Hollywood Museum.

Best seasonal events in Los Angeles

While seasons may be less clearly defined in Los Angeles than other parts of the country, it’s still an easy way to organize annual events. No matter when you travel, you can leave your parka at home.

Spring

  • Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. The largest book festival in the US occurs each April. Stop by for author appearances and lectures by industry speakers. All outdoor events are free to the public.
  • Cherry blossom festivals. Admire blush-pink blooms at celebrations all around LA, from Monterey Park to Huntington Beach and Descanso Gardens.

Summer

  • Wine tasting at Barnsdall Park. Pay $35 for four glasses of vino and bring cash for food truck grub at this community picnic hosted by a DJ. This event is held every Friday in the summer, though you’ll want to get tickets in advance.
  • Movie screenings at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Catch an outdoor flick at the famous resting place on weekends. Tickets cost between $12 and $20.
  • Perseid meteor shower. Every August when Earth passes through the Swift-Tuttle’s path, Los Angeleans can catch a glimpse of the leftover dust and debris. Take cover in the darkest spot you can find to guarantee your best chance at making a wish.

Fall

  • AFL Fest. Though the LA Film Festival was recently discontinued, the American Film Institute’s annual festival takes place in October. It’s a free event held in the famous Chinese and Dolby theaters in Hollywood, featuring red carpet galas, screenings, panels and special tributes.
  • Halloween Horror Nights. Universal Studios brings many of its spine-chilling scary stories to life. General admission is between $67 and $77, while an Ultimate Fear Pass for 32 nights is $299.
  • Dia de los Muertos. The traditions of Mexico’s Day of the Dead are brought to life around LA, from art installations in Grand Park to the Jardin de Recuerdos (Garden of Memories) at the Natural History Museum.
  • Halloween Carnaval. The world’s largest streetside Halloween bash features bumping tunes and gnarly costumes. It’s free to join — but not exactly family-friendly. And yes, it takes place on October 31st.

Winter

  • Heart of LA – CicLAvia. For one day in early December, streets are closed to motor vehicles and open to pedestrians, runners, cyclists and skaters. It’s free, and lasts from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Outdoor ice skating. Glide beneath palm trees and skyscrapers at Pershing Square near downtown LA. Access to the ice plus skate rental is about $14 per hour.
  • LA Art Show. Admire one of the biggest collections of contemporary art for sale in the world at the Los Angeles Convention Center in January. A day ticket will run you $30, though VIP tickets, which grant access to the premiere party, start at $125.
  • PaleyFest. TV fanatics can get insight into the plots of their favorite shows with the people who wrote, produced or acted in them at PaleyFest’s panels in March. Tickets vary by event, though superfans can buy an individual membership for $75.

Bottom line

The best time to visit LA really depends on the experience you want to have. Disney-goers score gold in January, though beach bums will need to target warmer months. After deciding what you want to see, book a flight to LA well in advance to score cheap passage.

Frequently asked questions

Is LA humid?
No. Since much of California is a desert, it’s typically very dry in LA.

Does it snow in LA?
Very, very rarely. Southern California’s classified as a subtropical, Mediterranean climate. When it does snow (once every 50 years or so), it’s no more than a light dusting.

When is the water in LA warmest?
Experts recommend September for swims in the ocean around LA. The average water temperature is about 68 °F.

Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, However, it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated domestic travelers as of April 2021. International travelers need to get tested three days prior to flying out of the US and within three days after returning, even if you are fully vaccinated. It recommends that you delay travel if you’re not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.

If you’re planning a trip outside the US, bear in mind that many countries have placed restrictions on US tourists. Check the US embassy website for updates before booking international travel.

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