The best times to visit Los Angeles
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Editor’s note: As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.
It’s not unusual for Los Angeles to host 50 million visitors per year and those numbers are growing. It may seem daunting to become one of those travelers, but the crowds are spread out over a sprawling metropolis and there are plenty of times you can avoid crowds. We here at TPG have these tips for experiencing the City of Angels, whether you want to catch a baseball game or lounge on the beach.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
When to find the best weather in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is famous for its mild weather. The city has moderate temperatures year-round, though if you’re sensitive to heat you’ll want to avoid July to September, when average highs reach 85° Fahrenheit. And there is winter in December and January, when the average low is 49°F. Neither of those numbers is extreme, but you’ll be the most comfortable the rest of the year, when temperatures hang in the 70s.
Related: The best travel credit cards
Best time to avoid the crowds
To avoid as many of those 50 million annual visitors as possible, visit during the shoulder seasons, March-May and September-November. Skip summer, and winter and spring breaks, when school is out. The same goes for other holidays, like Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, etc. You’ll never completely avoid fellow tourists but by visiting during spring and fall you’ll face the shortest lines and fewest crowds.
Best time for the beach
You can spend weeks in LA without visiting a single beach (Hollywood, Beverly Hills, downtown LA, Burbank), but you’d be making a serious mistake. Some of the best beaches in Southern California, like Santa Monica (and its famous Pier), Malibu and Redondo Beach, are just outside the city center.
Many visitors are surprised to find out that the Pacific Ocean is darn cold in Southern California, warming only to about 69°F in the middle of summer. If you’re going to visit the beaches, go in July and August when the ocean is as warm as it will ever be and the air temperature will thaw you while you lie on the beach.
When to visit Disneyland (and other theme parks)
If you’re going to Disneyland, stay in Anaheim, lest you find yourself gridlocked for up to three hours each way. And whether you’re headed for the House of Mouse or to Universal Studios Hollywood to visit Harry Potter, you’ll want to avoid summer which can be a massive pain, with long lines and intolerable temperatures. Come in the winter (when the park is decorated) or early spring, before everyone else does.
Related: Best credit cards for theme parks
When to visit for festivals and events
There’s always something going on in Los Angeles. Whether it’s movie premieres or marathons, you’ll find a major event to see. Here are the best of each season.
Spring is one of the nicest times to visit LA. The winter — brief and mild — is ending and the summer crowds have not yet descended. March is when the Los Angeles marathon takes place, drawing tens of thousands of runners. Spring is also the time for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and the Jazz Reggae Festival.
Crowds and temperatures soar in summer, but the season also brings a host of festivals, including LA Pride, the Orange County Fair and even the Nisei Week Japanese Festival. Another don’t-miss event is the 4th of July fireworks spectacular at the Hollywood Bowl.
If you’re lucky enough to snag a ticket to the Emmys, one of LA’s biggest events, you’ll be visiting in the fall. Other reasons to visit this time of year include the LA County fair, one of the biggest in the nation with more than a million visitors annually, or to celebrate Dia de los Muertos.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is one of the largest airports in the country, so you’re spoiled for choices of flights. Every major airline flies into LAX and for many it’s a premium transcontinental route (like United’s Newark–Los Angeles Polaris service). If you’re searching for cheaper options, Southwest, Frontier and Spirit all have flights. You’re best off booking at least six weeks in advance. In the offseason you can find transcontinental fares for as low as $200 round-trip.
Although there are hotels with sky-high prices throughout LA (for example, the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills), there are also many places to redeem points even during peak season. Every major hotel chain has multiple properties, from Marriott to Hyatt, and even American Express’ Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection have offerings. However, if you’re paying out of pocket, maximize your stay by visiting during the shoulder season, when hotel occupancy rates are at their lowest.
Feature photo courtesy of David Mark/Pixabay
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees