Skip to content

The best times to visit Los Angeles

July 17, 2020
6 min read
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.

Photo by Spencer Spellman.
On the beach in Santa Monica. (Photo by Spencer Spellman.)

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

Sign up for our daily newsletter
Disneyland (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy.)

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.

Related: 6 ways to find nature in and around Los Angeles

Spring

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.

Summer

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.

Fall

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.

Winter

Winter is one of the most magical times to visit LA. It offers over-the-top holiday events, such as the Hollywood Christmas Parade and the Rose Parade, not to mention the Grammys and the Oscars.

Affordable airfare

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.

Related: Los Angeles Airport 101: The ultimate guide to LAX

Affordable hotels

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.

Related: 5 of the best-value points hotels in Los Angeles

Featured image by Photo by David Mark/Pixabay

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more