Your Guide to Weather in Los Angeles & Southern California
Your Guide to Weather in Los Angeles & Southern California, Topanga Canyon Inn


Out-of-town guests reading this might think, What weather? Isn’t L.A. in sunny California?

True, Los Angeles is known for being sunny, so much so that you can earn yourself a red-lobster sunburn within 15 minutes of exposure to our December sun. But locals know that the City of Angels has her moods, so we’ve created this guide to help our guests prepare for any unexpected surprises.

It rains either never or too much all at once

California has been experiencing a drought for several years now, but occasionally we’ll get hit with a sudden winter rain. While in pre-drought days the rainy season could begin as early as September, lately the rains arrive in December or January. In 2018, we had a very dry winter and a surprisingly rainy March, and even some hail, which is very rare.

It’s not likely you will encounter rain most days of the year in Los Angeles or the surrounding areas, but if you are traveling here in the winter months, a rain jacket or small, easily portable umbrella will protect you in case you get caught in a sudden Pineapple Express waterfront (named so because these storms originate over Hawaii).

The Santa Ana winds are L.A.’s dirty secret

Southern California locals have a saying: the rain giveth, and the wind taketh away. Throughout October and November, cloudy or rainy conditions are followed by chilly northern winds that dry up whatever little water with which merciful mother nature chooses to bless us. This is also the period referred to as the “fire season.” Rain in October and November is a gamble at best, and may not arrive in time to dampen the native, oily vegetation that is dry and brittle after a rainless summer, making the hills prone to brush fires fueled by the Santa Ana winds.

The fires are more of a concern for locals rather than travelers who come in and out of an area within a couple of days, but if you are traveling here during the late autumn months, do yourself a favor and bring a wind-breaker jacket. You’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors much more, and especially the beaches–which can actually be much warmer during the windy days.

Perfect Days, Cool Nights

Even on a chilly winter day, temperatures will reach a low of no more than 55 degrees Fahrenheit (or 13 Celsius). An average winter day will be closer to 63 Fahrenheit (17 Celsius). But because this is California, even in winter you’ll find yourself peeling off your jacket as temperatures rise to 75 F/24 C and everyone heads to the beach–a typical day in Southern California.

Summer also boasts these perfect days, although during hot spells some areas see temperatures that rise to 100 F/38 C or slightly more. Again, everyone heads to the beach (as if we needed an excuse).

Nights, however, cool off by about ten or sometimes even twenty degrees compared to daytime temperatures. Even if you are traveling here in summer, bring a jacket–or even just to stay warm when you’re in an overly air-conditioned museum!

California is dry as a bone

Year-round, the bottled water and hand-lotion industries must get rich like bandits in Southern California. Native Angelinos hardly understand what humidity means before they travel east. Once in a blue moon, a tropical weather front from Mexico will moisten the air, but otherwise it couldn’t be drier. If you’re planning to go on a hike while staying with us at the Topanga Canyon Inn, make sure to take some of our complimentary bottled waters. (We also provide plenty of hand lotion.)


This is not a weather condition, but it’s related to the unique environment in California, so we thought it is worth mentioning. Some guests ask us with concern about whether it is likely that they will experience an earthquake during their stay. The short answer is: no. While every local has certainly experienced a mild earthquake multiple times, in our ten years of running the inn we have had only a handful of small tremors. Most are so gentle they could be mistaken for the tremble of the house when someone slams a door too hard. But if you’re a proper boy scout and are particularly anxious about this, here’s an official guide to make you feel better.

Overall, the weather in L.A. couldn’t be better. That’s why the surrounding areas–such as Malibu, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood–not only have some of the country’s most expensive homes, but are amongst the hottest tourist spots on the planet. Drop in on any day of the year, and chances are you’ll find the delicious weather tempting you towards the beach. Book your stay with us and enjoy California’s beautiful weather and the proximity of Los Angeles while relaxing in the serenity of Topanga Canyon.