September in Los Angeles: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Downtown Los Angeles skyline at sunset with snowcapped Mt Baldy and San Gabriel Mountains behind

 chrisp0 / Getty Images

The kids go back to school in early September, and it may feel like summer is over, but in LA you'll still have another month to six weeks to finish off your summer checklist and make a trip to the beach.

Labor Day

Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September, making that a good time for a quick getaway.

Los Angeles Weather in September

September brings some of Los Angeles' best weather. It's often warm but with little chance of rain, with clear skies. Summer fog will be gone, except for a rare morning at the beach. That means air quality will be better, too.

  • Average High Temperature: 82 F (28 C)
  • Average Low Temperature: 63 F (17 C)
  • Water Temperature: 66 F (19 C)
  • Rain: 0.28 in (0.1 cm)
  • Sunshine: 89 percent
  • Daylight: 12 hours

You should also know that the LA metro area covers a lot of geography and a variety of microclimates. That means averages can be deceiving. Near the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, the average high in September is 71-degrees, but at Universal Studios just 18 miles away, the average high is 93-degrees. 

Checking the current weather for a few days before you leave will give you a better idea of how much difference to expect.

What to Pack

The average temperatures look pretty warm but don't be fooled. A jacket is always a good idea for the evening near the ocean. 

Short-sleeved shirts and lightweight pants, with something for layering, are good clothing choices. You'll have less use for shorts than earlier in the year, although they may be welcome on the hotter days.

If you want to fit in, fashionwise, expect to see the latest street styles downtown and on the east side of town. Near the beach, flip-flops, board shorts and surfer casual is always in style.

If you’re going to the beach, you may want to wiggle those ten fine toes in the sand. But getting that sand off your feet and out of everything else you own can be hard. To make it easier, pack a little bit of baby powder or cornstarch to put into your day pack. Sprinkle it on your skin, and the sand will brush off much easier.

Rain is also unlikely in September, so you can leave the umbrellas and raincoats at home.

September Events in Los Angeles

  • Surf City SurfDog CompetitionHuntington Beach: If you're like me and think there's not much that's cuter than a dog on a surfboard, this is the event for you. Dog owners from around the world, bring their pups to "Hang 10" in this surfing competition where the dogs are the contestants.
  • Los Angeles County Fair:  The LA County Fair is one of the biggest in the state. It starts on Labor Day weekend and runs the whole month.
  • Tall Ships FestivalThose beautiful, tall-masted sailing ships that everyone loves to see come to Dana Point in Orange County every September.
  • The Taste is a culinary event that needs to go on your foodie calendar. It's sponsored by the LA Times and happens at Paramount Studios on Labor Day weekend. 
  • LA Street Food Fest: Held Santa Anita Park, this food event is a great chance to sample lots of LA's best gourmet food trucks all in one place. Be prepared for crowds, and wear your stretchy pants.
  • AxS Festival in Pasadena begins in mid-September and runs for two weeks. They describe it as "a proving ground where ideas, scientific theories, and leading-edge technologies converge with artistic innovation across a multidisciplinary platform of architecture, new media, visual art, music, theater, educational programs, and provocative conversation."

Things to Do

Even though you may think of September as more like fall than summer, the outdoor concert season in LA lasts all month. In fact, the season at Hollywood Bowl runs from late June through mid-October. The Greek Theatre has shows June through October.

Surfline says September through November is the best time to surf in Southern California.

In LA, you can see whales nearly year-round: gray whales in winter and blue whales during the summer months. Find the best places to see them and when in the guides to Los Angeles whale watching and Orange County whale watching.

September Travel Tips

  • After the Labor Day weekend, many of the top attractions will cut back on their hours. Reduced crowds will make them easier to enjoy and give you plenty of time.
  • In terms of lodging, September hotel occupancy is somewhat lower than it was in the summer and rates also go down
  • LA rush hour traffic gets worse after school starts.
  • The Emmy Awards are presented at the Microsoft Theater downtown in September. The area can absorb the traffic, but expect downtown hotels to be filled up, or super expensive at the least.
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