Los Angeles is known for its year-round warm weather, so there's never a bad time to visit. However, being aware of peak periods and other such factors can help you tailor an L.A. trip to your needs, preferences, and budget.
When to go depends on what you want out of a visit. Trips to the beach will be most pleasant in the late summer, when ocean water temperatures rise a bit. Stargazing is more likely to be successful during the awards season, when celebrities flock to the area. Visitors looking for shorter lines at theme parks will want to steer clear of school holidays. Plus, there are the variables of Los Angeles-specific weather: Smog tends to be at its worst during the hot days of summer, and the Santa Ana winds can be an irritation to visitors during autumn and winter. And these are just a few of the factors to consider.
Typically, the American vacation system and entertainment industry events have the most effect on Los Angeles tourism. Summer and holidays mean more visitors, and it can be harder to find a hotel during occasions such as the Oscars, Emmys, and Grammys.
- high season: June to August
- shoulder season: September to May
Holidays and entertainment industry events are the exception to the shoulder-season rule, and should be treated for booking purposes as high season.
Los Angeles experiences relatively mild weather year-round; however, smog and desert winds are not uncommon. Here's a breakdown of the climate factors:
- Temperature: In winter, highs reach the upper 60s, and summer highs can hit the mid-80s.The rest of the year, average temperatures range from 60 to 75 degrees.
- Rain: Annual rainfall is between 13 and 15 inches. The wettest months are January through March, and the driest months are June through August.
- Santa Ana winds: These warm, dry winds that blow through the Los Angeles basin are common from around October to March. The Santa Anas increase the danger of fire, and when they linger, can be an irritation for residents and visitors alike.
- Smog: While the air pollution problem has improved in recent years, smog still exists, especially on hot summer days, and is more prevalent inland than along the coast.
There are a few constants when it comes to crowds in Los Angeles. Attendance at amusement parks rises during school vacations and summer break. And weekends, especially during summer, mean big crowds at the beach.
Attractions may have reduced winter hours, and some close on major winter holidays. Some museums are closed one day per week. Except for a night bus, public transportation stops running around midnight or 1:00 a.m.
When to Save
Because there is no real low season, there's no clear time for getting the best deals on a trip to Los Angeles. However, many low-cost airlines fly to at least one of the five area airports, so it's relatively easy to find a good deal.
For maximum savings and convenience on hotels, try to find balance between proximity to your preferred destinations and premium rates. For instance, for beach stays, you might want to consider off-beach accommodations, or properties in neighboring inland communities. You'll still be close to the ocean, but you can avoid high prices at beachside accommodations.
Value season at Disney hotels runs from early January to mid-March, mid-April to early July, and late August through the end of the year, except during holiday periods.
L.A. food prices and attraction admissions remain constant throughout the year, with the exception of Restaurant Week, when meals at some of the city's most prestigious restaurants are available at a discounted price.
When to Book
As a rule of thumb, it's better to book in advance for Los Angeles visits. In the cities and communities that border the beach, hotels can book up months in advance, especially during holidays and summer. Also, flights and hotels tend to reach capacity during events such as the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, and industry conferences.
If you want to book accommodations for a popular time—entertainment events, holidays, summer, and especially weekends in summer—you're more likely to get a good rate and better selection of rooms by booking at least a month in advance. Last-minute rates can be lower when travel providers want to fill vacancies fast, but when demand is high, there tends to be a higher premium on remaining rooms at the last minute.
Information provided by the Los Angeles Convention and Vistor's Authority.