Los Angeles may be one of the most attractive destinations in the entirety of the USA, but when exactly is the best time to visit?
Some might like to go during the peak tourist season; others may prefer sleepy streets and fewer crowds, but let’s face it — LA never sleeps. Then, certain travelers place budget as their top criterion in making up their minds.
That said, whichever category you fall into, there’s an LA season for you.
Consider this your go-to guide to the best, cheapest, least busy, and worst times to visit the “City of Flowers and Sunshine,” where you can create exciting travel memories.
Why You Should Visit Los Angeles in 2023
Well, we think you’re asking the wrong question. After all, why shouldn’t you?
From Hollywood vibes everywhere you turn, stunning beaches, and exciting nightlife to the endless sunshine, fantastic restaurant scene, and shopping districts, Los Angeles is full of surprises even for those who think they’ve seen it all.
And if this isn’t reassuring enough — after all, we all know of the star-studded nature of LA — let’s explore some other, albeit no less most important reasons why this city should be at the top of your bucket list.
- LA has more museums per capita than any other city in the world. While you can’t see all of them during a short stay for obvious reasons, it’s good to know which ones are worth visiting. Our top suggestions include:
- The California Science Center,
- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art,
- The Holocaust Museum LA,
- The Natural History Museum,
- The Getty Center,
- The Hollywood Wax Museum,
- The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.
- It has many famous districts. Home to the world-famous 90210 zip code, Beverly Hills is an absolute must.
- Los Angeles is a true foodie destination. You can have Hawaiian brunch, Chinese for lunch, and Mexican for dinner. And opt for entirely different cuisine options the next day! It’s a food culture that truly thrives on plurality.
- With a myriad of beaches along its coastline, Los Angeles boasts busy shores. If you want a more secluded beach experience, opt for Malibu; if you’re fine with people-packed beaches, consider Venice Beach of Santa Monica.
- LA has a first-class art scene. From comedy shows and magic-themed performances to a highly mesmerizing theater scene and live rock shows, there’s something going on in this city at all times.
- It’s a city with stunning viewpoints. We suggest the world-famous Griffith Observatory. You can look through a telescope, attend live shows in the planetarium, visit exhibits, and enjoy iconic views of LA alongside the well-known Hollywood Sign.
- You can engage in many recreational activities, such as hiking. LA locals love hiking, especially because there’s no need to leave the city to do so. If taking a hike sounds like something you’d add to your LA itinerary, consider Griffith Park or Runyon Canyon. If an urban hike sounds better, there are many staircases throughout the city that enable people to reach nature peaks fairly quickly.
Now that it’s clear why everyone should visit Los Angeles at least once in their lifetime, let’s see when you should do so.
Overall Best Time to Visit Los Angeles
The best time to visit Los Angeles is in spring, during the March–May period. This period offers the ideal combination of fewer crowds, an ideal climate, and engaging activities.
The lack of summer’s persistent smog and winter’s annoying rain is a nice bonus too! That said, room rates are more expensive than the winter ones, so make sure you book in advance.
A pleasant spring month, March has average temperatures ranging between 68°F and 51.4°F. The month is marked by the Los Angeles Marathon, so pack your running sneakers and get ready for a bit of competition.
If running doesn’t float your boat, you can always cheer them on and soak the joyful city atmosphere. April sees temperatures varying between an average high of 70.9°F and an average low of 53.4°F.
Bookworms will be thrilled to know the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books takes place in April — if this is you, check out the engaging lineup of poets, authors, and artists right away.
If you’re looking for something a bit more fun, head to the Fiesta Broadway celebration, the annual pre-Cinco De Mayo celebration featuring finger-licking food from local venues, exciting performances, and a myriad of fun activities.
May has temperatures in the range of an average high of 72.9°F and an average low of 56.3°F. The Jazz Reggae Festival makes everything even more exciting than it already is, and spring vibes are felt everywhere you go.
The Cinco de Mayo Fiesta features numerous celebrations and activities, so get ready for tacos, parades, and mariachi.
Cheapest Time to Visit Los Angeles
The cheapest time to go to Los Angeles is from early to mid-September. This is when you can score the best airfare deals, which is kind of challenging, as the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is one of the busiest airports in the world.
September, the first month of fall, has temperatures fluctuating between an average high of 82.2°F and an average low of 64.4°F.
The climate makes Los Angeles a much more pleasant place to be after the summer heat’s gone, and dispersing crowds give occasional tourists a chance to enjoy the city as they should.
That said, exciting events such as the Emmy Awards give back the city the buzz it always craves.
Located in the heart of Venice, the Abbot Kinney Festival is yet another highly anticipated event. Next, there’s the Mexican Independence Festival, honoring Mexican culture and history.
Least Busy Time to Visit Los Angeles
The least busy time to visit Los Angeles is in the fall, during the September–November period.
This shoulder season is ideal, as the summer chaos has dwindled down, school’s back in the game, and things are somewhat quiet in LA (if we can even talk about quiet in such a buzzing city).
A relatively hot fall month, October sees average temperatures varying between a maximum of 77.4°F and a minimum of 60.8°F.
What makes Los Angeles come alive in October is arguably the annually-held Dia de los Muertos Festival (Day of the Dead), which is one of a kind. Parades full of costumes, graveyard picnics, and skulls — you name it, the festival’s got it!
Note that the event is sometimes held in November, however. If you come toward the end of the month, don’t forget to check out local Halloween events, especially the leading, one-of-a-kind Halloween street party hosted by the City of West Hollywood Community.
Be it family-friendly Halloween fun or spooky entertainment and ghostly vibes, Los Angeles’ Halloween celebrations have something for everyone. Just make sure to get your costumes and pumpkins ready!
Being the last fall month, November has fairly agreeable temperatures too, with an average high of 71.2°F and an average low of 55.6°F.
With a relative humidity of 50%, November is also the least humid month in the entire year. If you’re a car enthusiast and find yourself in Los Angeles in November, head to the LA Auto Show — you won’t be disappointed.
Worst Time to Visit
The worst time to go to Los Angeles is in summer, during the June–August period. Not only is it unbelievably hot, but it’s also quite crowded!
However, if you decide to take your chances with the LA summer months, there’s so much to do and see. Being the first summer month, June sees moderate average temperatures hovering around 76.6°F during the day and 58.6°F at night.
June is also the most humid month in the entire year, with an average relative humidity of 65%. It also has the longest days of the year — an average of 14 hours of daylight.
LA Pride colors the city, both literally and metaphorically, and suddenly, everything becomes about diversity.
Then, there’s the Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival, summer’s trademark festival. Arroyo Seco Weekend is reserved for festival-goers who know how to appreciate awesome live music.
July is yet another hot summer month, with average temperatures ranging between a maximum of 81.7°F and a minimum of 63.7°F. It’s when people hit the beach, bask in the sun, and prepare for the Fourth of July celebration.
Summer fun is all that matters, and festivals such as Outfest and Bachatavibez Fest confirm it.
August wraps up the season with average temperatures fluctuating between 83.3°F and 64.9°F. Along with July, August is the summer month with the most sunshine in LA.
The hot weather and full beaches keep both locals and visitors busy. Those willing to leave the beach attend the Nissei Week Japanese Festival and indulge in tasty food, authentic entertainment, music, and exhibits.
Curious foodies should mark their calendars for the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival. Get ready for some exquisite dishes, world-famous chefs, and high-quality wineries.
Lastly, always featuring a great lineup of creative artists, the Long Beach Jazz Festival says farewell to the summer season and slowly welcomes the fall melody.
Things to Consider
Going to LA is going to be an unforgettable visit, regardless of whether you spend time preparing for the trip or decide to go with the flow. However, to ensure a hassle-free stay as much as possible, we believe the following tips should suffice:
- Buy a Go Los Angeles Card. It’s ideal for travelers planning on going to museums and doing quite a bit of sightseeing. Buying the card is a better money-saving option than playing for all tickets separately.
- Join a free walking tour — not only is it a great way to learn more about the places you’re visiting, but it also comes in handy if you’re trying to stick to a budget. That said, don’t forget to tip the guide.
- If accommodation seems way more than expensive, and you feel like you’ve exhausted all the options within your budget range, opt for staying with a local. There’s a plethora of Couchsurfing hosts willing to accommodate you for free, as well as show you around. And when it comes to expensive cities such as LA, having a local you can rely on is more than helpful.
- Yet another money-saving tip — avoid hanging out near reserved-for-celebrities venues. While there’s nothing wrong with those places (most of them are situated in the Beverly Hills and Hollywood area), they’re really expensive and out of most people’s budget range. Of course, you can explore the areas, but avoid eating or doing shopping there — unless you’re fine with paying an arm and a leg.
- Summers get quite hot in LA, but make sure to pack some jackets and sweaters, as the evenings are always chilly.
- As the Los Angeles area is, in a way, classified as a desert, bring a moisturizer because your skin can get much drier than usual (especially if exposed to this type of climate). Also, the LA sun is quite strong and bright, so wearing sunglasses during the daytime is a must.
- Whether you’re on a family holiday, traveling solo, or just with a partner, take a day trip to Disneyland. It’s absolutely worth it. Disneyland will awaken your inner child and take your LA visit to the next level.
- While some areas are walkable — such as Pasadena, Downtown LA, or Santa Monica — most of your trip will require suitable transportation and planning in advance to get to a specific location. More about the means of transport in a minute.
- Don’t just stick to some popular (or even overrated) beaches. Explore smaller ones and those with fewer crowds — you’ll be pleasantly surprised. For instance, Paradise Cove is a secluded beach and a favorite among locals. El Prescador allows beach-goers to catch a glimpse of dolphins. Lechuza Beach is perfect for the ideal family day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Los Angeles an expensive city?
We’re going to be straightforward with you — Los Angeles is one of the most expensive cities, not only in the US but also worldwide. However, LA is worth every penny.
And with a nice airfare deal, sensible accommodation expenses, and a solid plan for your stay, you may very well manage to organize a reasonable LA trip. Here are some useful pieces of information to help you plan your LA-related expenses better:
- The average price for a three-day trip to LA costs:
- $1001 for a solo traveler;
- $1702 for a couple;
- $2202 for a family of four.
- Hotels in the city center cost between $281–$702 ($351 per night on average), whereas Airbnb rentals charge $88 per night for the whole apartment.
- You should set $104 per person per day for transportation and local restaurant expenses.
Finally, keep in mind that the above-mentioned figures are just approximations and, as such, are subject to change.
What foods is Los Angeles known for?
Los Angeles is known its rich and varied cuisine. Aside from local Californian dishes, the well-known Tex-Mex, and avocado toasts, expect French dips and cobb salads. LA truly has a way with food that all foodies not only recognize but also appreciate.
If you find yourself in Los Angeles, you have to try out the following food combos:
- California roll, because that’s how LA locals roll;
- Cobb salad, usually prepared with eggs, chives, bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes, bacon, greens, and fried chicken;
- Tacos, to add a Mexican vibe to your American adventure;
- Chilly cheese hot dog, to spice up your journey;
- Pastrami sandwich, to see what the fuss is all about;
- Cheeseburger and fries, after all, you can’t visit the US without trying the basics, right?
- Ice cream sandwich, because who wants ordinary desserts?
- Strawberry donuts, the name itself is just yummy!
- Japanese egg sandwich, a Japanese-style sandwich that has seduced not only the LA foodie scene, but the global one as well;
- Cheesy pork ribs, a must!
- A Californian pizza, a unique combo blending the NY thin crust with well-known toppings such as avocado, eggs, truffles, mustard, pate, and ricotta, to name a few.
- Mission burrito, a tortilla filled with rice, guacamole, salsa, baked beans, sour cream, and of course, jalapeños.
What is the best way to get around Los Angeles?
The best way to get around Los Angeles is probably by renting a car. However, not all travelers opt for car rentals all the time, and there are other ways you can navigate the city successfully. LA’s public transportation system includes buses and the metro.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority runs around 170 bus lines. Buses begin running before 5 am, and their ending times vary depending on the routes and the days (public holidays and weekends undergo frequent schedule changes).
Note that understanding how the bus schedule operates may be somewhat confusing to outsiders unfamiliar with LA, however, consulting official websites such as the Big Blue Bus should do the trick.
The Authority operates six color-outlined metro lines, but most of them don’t cover the most important tourist landmarks. In fact, all public transportation routes are somewhat limited, which is why many travelers decide to combine several transportation options instead of relying heavily on just a single one.
As with most cities, taxis are another option, but in LA, your wallet is probably going to disapprove of it unless you have money to burn.
Plus, considering how vast the city is and with everything being spread out, relying only on a taxi as a main means of transport during your stay won’t be wise. Note that most taxis don’t pull over if you try to stop them, so booking one in advance is more than advisable.
Opting for Uber or Lyft is another option for many travelers. While we said that renting a car is the best way to get around LA, do note that driving in the city isn’t always a piece of cake.
A lot of patience and neat planning are required. Traffic spikes are more than common, especially during the frequent rush hours, and a GPS is a must so that you can navigate the area with no stress and wrong turns.
Is five days in LA enough?
Yes, we strongly believe that five days in Los Angeles is more than enough. You’ll have enough time to see all major sites, as well as enjoy the city, taste as much as you can of its food, and bask in the sun without feeling like you’re rushing through your itinerary.
That said, California is so wonderful that it’d be a shame if you made your way there without visiting other nearby cities.
To learn more about what else you could potentially visit and why extending your LA trip may be an exciting decision, check out the following guides to help you make up your mind:
- The 15 Best Places to Visit in Southern California in 2023
- The 18 Best Places to Visit in California in 2023
- The Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2023
- The Best Time to Visit San Diego in 2023
- The Best Time to Visit San Francisco in 2023
- The Best Time to Visit Joshua Tree in 2023
What are some good facts about Los Angeles?
Here are some interesting facts about Los Angeles that will make you like it even more:
- The world-famous Hollywood sign initially read “Hollywoodland.”
- Before LA was the American Metropolis we’re familiar with today, it used to be a Spanish civilian pueblo called “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula,” or The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciúncula.
- Los Angeles is the only US city that has hosted the Summer Olympics twice. Fun fact: LA is planned to host the 2028 Summer Olympics yet again.
- Based on information from 2021 provided by INRIX, a transportation analytics company, LA drivers spent 62 hours stuck in traffic (probably not a fun stat when you’re the one stuck in it).
- Being home to some of the most popular studios worldwide, LA is a leading city for all aspects related to the entertainment industry.
- Los Angeles has some of the most distinguished universities and colleges in the world, including:
- Los Angeles (UCLA),
- University of California,
- University of Southern California (USC),
- Art Center College of Design,
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
- Santa Monica’s Pacific Wheel may be a famous one, but a lesser-known fact is that it’s the world’s first (and only!) solar-powered Ferris wheel.
- Palm Trees aren’t native to the city — they’re imported (with the exception of Washingtonia filifera).
- You should thank LA for the opportunity to read this travel guide — LA is where the Internet was born.
- LA has more cars than inhabitants.
- Los Angeles is home to the well-known Dolby Theatre (or Kodak Theatre), hosting a wide range of eminent events such as the annual academy awards, the Daytime Emmys, Victoria’s Secret fashion shows, and others.
Is LA worth visiting in winter?
Los Angeles is always worth visiting, winter included! And while rain is far more frequent during the winter months, you’re still bound to have a nice time and enjoy all the events and activities taking place at that time.
After all, the winter season is also referred to as awards season in LA, and this alone can take your LA stay to the next level.
Some key winter events include the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, with Santa traditionally making an appearance at the very end, the SAG Awards, LA Art Show, the Golden Globe Awards, the Academy Awards, the Grammy Awards, and the Chinese New Year and Golden Dragon Parade.
Is Los Angeles at risk of natural disasters?
Yes, Los Angeles is at risk of certain natural disasters, including flooding, earthquakes, mudslides, extreme heat, and wildfires. On the whole, Los Angeles County has a high natural disaster risk score of 66%.
While natural disasters can’t be prevented, many things can be done so that people can stay informed and prepared in case of such an emergency. For instance, you can follow The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for earthquake-related information.
While most of the buildings in Los Angeles have been built to withstand extreme shaking, fatalities are still very much a possibility. Next, the unpredictable winds often bring about dry hillsides and dense bush, which makes these regions susceptible to fires.
As LA is full of canyons, mountains, and basins, when big thunderstorms hit, flooding takes place in the wink of an eye. Don’t forget to also monitor local media news and follow the local authorities’ advice in case of a natural disaster.
Is it worth walking to the Hollywood sign?
We hate to be the ones to break it to you, but the Hollywood sign is off-limits. You may take a hike that goes to a solid view but not all the way to the actual sign.
In fact, it’s a highly restricted area monitored at all times by park rangers, the LA Police, and Fire Department for trespassers — getting close, or worse, trying to touch the sign is prohibited.
Visitors are allowed behind and above it, where they can enjoy some stunning LA views. Plus, this is more than enough for an Insta-worthy photo! You can learn more about the authorized hiking trails here.
So, When Should You Visit Los Angeles?
To sum up, the best time to visit Los Angeles is in spring, during the March–May period. This period sees reduced crowds, pleasant temperatures, and opportunities for many recreational activities.
Budget-minded travelers should consider going to Los Angeles from early to mid-September. This is when you stand a chance to find attractive airfare deals.
Avoiding large crowds is possible if you go in the fall, during the September–November period. That said, just because there are no large crowds doesn’t mean there’s little going in.
In fact, the fall period includes some of the most exciting events and festivals, such as the Day of the Dead. The worst time to visit Los Angeles is in summer, during the June–August period. The city becomes more congested, and the summer heat and temperatures are just the icing on the cake.
Still, even if you happen to be in Los Angeles at this time, you’ll find yourself loving it anyway. All in all, no matter when you decide to visit Los Angeles, there’s something to see or do.
But now that you have all the necessary information, you can pick the season that matches your personal travel preferences. Happy travels!