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Traveling to Los Angeles in Winter

Should You Travel to Los Angeles in Winter?

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Downtown on Ice

Downtown on Ice at Pershing Square, Los Angeles

Photo © 2006 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com
If you're not planning to spend a lot of time at the beach or water parks, winter can be a great time to visit Los Angeles.

Pros

  • Temperatures are usually mild, with highs in the 60s.
  • The crowds are gone.
  • Short lines at amusement parks.
  • Hotel rates are often half their summer price.
  • It's easier to get tickets to popular shows.
  • Christmas Season has many unique celebrations in LA

Cons

  • Chance of rain
  • Little chance of beach weather (but there is a chance!)
  • Some attractions are closed
  • Open theme parks have shorter hours or limited days
  • Fewer festivals and events in January and February

The Weather

Winter daytime temperatures tend to reach the mid-60s, but only for a few minutes, rather than all day. During the summer, the beaches are cooler, and inland areas hotter, but in the winter this is usually reversed, with colder temperatures inland, and the beach staying temperate. The winter rainy season is from November through March or April, with most rainy days in January and February. There are usually a couple heat waves during an average LA winter, bringing summer-like temperatures.

The Pacific

The water off the coast of Southern California is cool to cold all year long, maybe reaching 70 in a really hot summer. Surfers have thicker winter wetsuits and thinner summer wetsuits. Even if the temperatures are in the 80s during a given week in winter, the water will still be cold, so be sure to watch kids for blue lips. There are no lifeguards on duty in the winter.

Outdoor Ice Skating in LA

Outdoor ice skating is all the rage in LA these days, despite the relatively warm weather. Most rinks stay open into January with at least one lasting through February.

What to Pack for Winter in LA

What to pack for a winter visit to Los Angeles depends on what you plan to do while you're here. If your budget doesn't include high end restaurants and nightclubs, you can get by just about anywhere in LA, including the theatre in jeans and casual shirts. Layers are your best bet to go from cold mornings to sunny warm afternoons and nights that can get close to freezing. Fleece is always good.

Despite the rumor that nobody walks in LA, it's a good idea to pack a comfortable pair of walking shoes for exploring the city, shopping or visiting theme parks.

If you're a shopper, pack light and plan to spend some time Shopping in LA.
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