Home to sun-drenched beaches, iconic boulevards and endless experiences, visitors flock to Los Angeles through the year.

While the city may not be too distinctive seasonally, each period brings its own magic. From the vibrant springtime blooms, contagious energy of summer, spooky delights of fall, and enchanting holiday magic of winter, there is always something happening. 

So when is the best time to visit this urban paradise? The good news is, there’s no such thing as a bad time. Whether you’re looking to soak in the sunshine, skip the crowds, or stick to a tighter budget, we can help you choose the right time for you.

Tulips in bloom in a flower bed bordering a path through a garden
See Descanso Gardens in full bloom in the spring months of March to May © Kit Leong / Shutterstock

March to May is the best time for perfect weather and fewer crowds

Spring in Los Angeles brings comfortable temperatures, blooming landscapes and longer days. Daily highs hover around 75°F, lows rarely fall below 45°F, and the chance of the occasional rainshower is typically nonexistent.

March to May draws fewer crowds to the city, making it a popular and more convenient time to soak in the many attractions. Whale watching is a favored choice for sealife enthusiasts as it's migration season. Spring sees 20,000 gray whales travel via Los Angeles from the Artic to their breeding and calving grounds in Baja California, Mexico. There are many tours to witness this firsthand, particularly in Long Beach and Orange County. 

Those who love the sights of fresh blooms should visit Descanso Gardens. While open year-round, the 150-acre botanical playground is a great way to soak in the sunshine and admire seasonal flowers like tulips, camellias, lilacs, roses and azaleas.

Springtime also welcomes festival season, with many LA locals and visitors in town ahead of music festivals Coachella and Stage Coach. While the extravaganzas take place in the Californian desert near Palm Springs, LA acts as a home base for out-of-towners. 

But it's not all sunshine, with May Gray and June Gloom something to be aware of. The phenomenas refer to the overcast and sometimes gray foggy conditions seen some mornings. These conditions shouldn't deter visitors, though because they make outdoor activities like hiking more comfortable (just be sure to wear layers). The good news is, the sky typically clears throughout the day, and the sun breaks through by afternoon. 

Skateboarders ride down ramps at a skatepark on the edge of a palm-lined beach
It's still warm in Los Angeles in October © nito100 / Getty Images

September to November is the best time for budget travelers 

If you’re on a budget, September to November is an off-peak season, making it a great time to visit LA. Most kids are back at school, the summer rush has subsided, and the weather continues to radiate heat – in a more comfortable manner.

Fall comes complete with packed event schedules like the Emmy Awards, DTLA Film Festival, and for car lovers, the LA Auto Show. Amid all the offerings is Scary Season, with Universal Studios putting on its annual must-visit Halloween Horror Nights. 

But if you're hoping to witness autumn foliage and trees changing colors, like in the movies, be warned LA is not the place. Unlike other big cities such as New York and Chicago, Southern California lacks significant seasonal changes.

It's also important that budget vacationers choose their travel dates wisely. While fall prices are generally ideal, booking too early may still see you faced with summer peak-season prices. Booking belatedly, eg late November, may have you slapped with even higher prices ahead of the holiday season. Thanksgiving (the last Thursday of November) is known for being one of the most expensive times to travel.

Two people dressed in rainbow colors pause as they walk in a parade to smile and blow a kiss at the camera
Want to be in LA for Pride? Book your visit for June © Gerry Matthews / Shutterstock

June to August is the high season and the best time for beach lovers

The sun is shining and the waves are calling. For travelers looking to experience that SoCal beach life, summer is the best time to visit. Iconic beach towns like Santa Monica, Venice, Malibu and Manhattan Beach, house over 100 beaches and host over 50 million visitors annually. If you are headed to one of the many gorgeous seasides, bring plenty of sunscreen, water and a beach umbrella, as temperatures average around 85°F and UV index ratings frequently rank extreme. 

From the ever-colorful and glorious LA Pride in June to Independence Day on July 4, summer in LA is when the city comes alive. Outdoor cinemas and summer concerts are also in full swing as locals and tourists soak in the longer days and warmer nights. The Hollywood Bowl is a great place to experience an LA summer night, with shows most evenings. The historic amphitheater in the heart of the Hollywood Hills was named one of the 10 best live music venues in America by Rolling Stone magazine and has hosted big names including Judy Garland, Elton John, The Beatles, Adele and Lana Del Rey. 

Bear in mind, though, that with endless events and activities, school holidays and warm weather in full force, LA crowds, longer lines and high prices peak in summer.

December to February are the best times for culture enthusiasts

The months of December to February are ideal for indoor attractions like museums, galleries and theaters sans crowds. With the holiday season also in tow, light displays in neighborhoods and streets like Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills and The Grove are attractions in themselves. Come New Year's Day, Pasadena puts on its annual Rose Parade, which features approximately 45 incredible rose-covered floats.

For those looking for a snow-filled winter wonderland, LA is not the place. Temperatures stay pretty consistent, with some days still reaching above 72°F. And while it’s not common to see much rainfall in LA, it does happen, and when it does, it’s typically during January and February. Being a rare occurrence, some restaurants, bars and attractions do close until the sun returns. Prices also rise from mid-December to early January for the holiday season.

This article was first published February 2021 and updated January 2024

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