A note from Mommy Frog: While there is usually not a bad time to visit Los Angeles, if you are planning a trip in 2021, you should be aware of travel restrictions to the region to control the spread of COVID-19. People arriving from out of state or other regions within California are expected to quarantine. Beaches and outdoor areas are open, and masks are to be worn. The situation is fluid and subject to change, but these are things to keep in mind when considering when to visit in at least early 2021. Hop over to our post on When to Expect the California Theme Parks Reopen for the most up-to-date news. Looking ahead to a more normal time, we bring you our tips for when to visit Los Angeles.
With 284 sunny days per year and low humidity, it's almost always a good time to visit Los Angeles. Whether the bright lights of Hollywood or the "Hey there, everybody" of Mickey Mouse lure you to Tinseltown, you'll find yourself in good company. As the second-largest city in the U.S., Los Angeles is a culturally diverse area that offers reasons to visit year-round. We've put together this seasonal guide to help you determine when to hop over to sunny Los Angeles (and Orange County to the south).
When to Visit Los Angeles
Los Angeles has an average of 35 days receiving measurable precipitation annually, which means nine out of 10 days are dry. The entire Los Angeles area sees plenty of sunshine and sometimes smog (although it's on the decline). The end of October through April is generally considered the rainy season. It’s also the time of year with the most gorgeous sunsets and colorful evening skies. For the most part, it's the quieter time of year when it comes to recreation and theme parks (except for holiday weeks and weekends).
The largest crowds by far appear in summer, mid-June to mid-August. That is when most families take their vacations and the weather is warmest. But like San Diego, Los Angeles suffers from "May Gray" and "June Gloom." That's when a low-lying marine layer blankets the area in a gray fog for the morning and sometimes much of the day. June Gloom keeps the average highs in the low 70s. July, August, September and October are all warmer, with highs in the mid- to upper 70s and 80s. Daytime temperatures can climb quickly away from the coast. Vacationers making their way inland can find the summer months downright hot and often smoggy, although a quick trip to the beach or pool will set everything right once again. The ocean warms up towards the end of summer. That's a good thing, because Southern California ocean water is on the refreshingly chilly side.
The LA Gay Pride festivities, the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Orange County Fair, Pageant of the Masters and Vans US Open of Surfing are among the area's most popular summer events in Los Angeles and Orange County.
Late August through September is perhaps the ideal time to visit Los Angeles. Local tadpoles are back in school and crowds are at their lowest. But there is plenty of warm sunshine, making it perfect for trips to Disneyland, Universal Studios or Six Flags Magic Mountain in nearby Valencia. Late September into October brings a number of Halloween and fall-related events, including Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland's Halloween Time (along with the brand-new Oogie Boogie Bash on select nights), Knott's Scary Farm at Knott's Berry Farm, Queen Mary Dark Harbor and the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival.
For stargazers, awards season starts with the Emmys in September and lasts until the Academy Awards in February. But any time is a good time to catch celebrities since they are out and about throughout the year! Popular celeb haunts include The Grove shopping center and the nearby Farmers Market, and the Malibu Country Mart. You are likely to see stars in Los Angeles and Orange County when you least expect to, though, catching breakfast in a café or walking through a fancy hotel in Laguna Beach or Los Angeles. We've even bumped into a few at Disneyland!
Holidays in November and December right on through to New Year's Day bring more visitors to the City of Angels because of the special events, perhaps none more famed than the Rose Bowl Parade. These months also see cooler temperatures, with highs in the mid-60s and lows in the upper 40s, and higher rainfall, although not as much as January and February. The holidays at Disneyland bring decorations and holiday entertainment to both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. It's also a festive time to celebrate Christmas in the Wizarding World and Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood.
The fall and winter months also sport football games. Los Angeles went from having zero to two NFL teams. The LA area is also home to two NHL teams, two NBA teams and two Major League Baseball teams. That means a sports game is always in season for sports fans! It's a great time to escape colder climates to soak up some California sunshine and get outside to play some sports of your own!
Springtime can be a good time to visit Los Angeles. During March and April, the highs are in the low 70s. Crowds are manageable and spread out because spring breaks vary so much. The last week of March and Easter week see a few more vacationers visiting Los Angeles.
Basically, there is not bad time to visit Los Angeles. Even the coolest months are very comfortable for being outside and sightseeing. Just remember to bring a sweatshirt no matter what time of year you visit. With a coastal desert climate, temperatures tend to drop once the sun sets! It can be warm in the sun and cool in the shade. Plan to wear layers, and you'll always be hoppy with the temperature!
We hope you've found this overview of when to visit Los Angeles helpful in planning a visit to Los Angeles. You'll find more resources and tips inside our Los Angeles Planning Guide.
Related: What to See and Do in Los Angeles