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

Spring Flowers in the Getty Center Gardens
Spring Flowers in the Getty Center Gardens.

Kitty DuKane/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

In March, the color in Los Angeles is pink and the neighborhoods smell like flowers when the jasmine and backyard citrus trees bloom. It's an excellent time to visit because the local attractions will be less crowded than they are when everyone's kids are out of school.

That is until spring break starts and all the local theme parks get packed to capacity.

On the downside, the ocean temperatures will be far too cold for swimming, but you can still enjoy a walk along the beach on a sunny day.

March Weather in Los Angeles

March is a great time to visit LA — sometimes. In some years, it will be dry and sunny, but sometimes winter rains extend into March. Most of the time the temperature is comfortable, and the all-day fog that plagues early summer is absent.

  • Average High Temperature: 69 F (21 C)
  • Average Low Temperature: 51 F (11 C)
  • Water Temperature: 60 F (16 C)
  • Rain: 2.52 in (6.4 cm) 
  • Sunshine: 72 percent
  • Daylight: 12 hours

Rain often starts tapering off by March. In the rare case that precipitation happens, try some of these things to do on a rainy day in Los Angeles.

What to Pack

Pack a mid-weight jacket, especially for evenings near the beach. Layered shirts and sweaters are your best fashion strategy. A winter day could even be so warm you'll wish you packed your shorts.

And — of course — check the forecast, too. Use the Los Angeles weather averages to get an idea of what things may be like, but also check the short-range predictions before you pack.

March Events in Los Angeles

  • The Academy AwardsThe Oscars are not just for the glitterati. In fact, these Oscar-related events are fun for anyone. You can get into a lottery for bleacher seats to see the arrivals, but this one isn't for the spur-of-the-moment trip planner. You need to register for the lottery inn mid-September.
  • LA MarathonThis race is one of the country's top running events. Its route takes participants through a route that starts at Dodger Stadium and ends at the Santa Monica Pier. You may not want to run in it, but you should be aware of it because of road closures and filled-up hotels.
  • Swallows Return to Mission San Juan Capistrano: No one is quite sure how they do it, but the plucky little birds come back to the old Spanish mission every year. And they always arrive on March 19, St. Joseph's Day.
  • Classic Film FestivalThis fun film festival happens in late March or early April. It features screenings of classic films, shown in some of the city's finest old movie houses.
  • California Poppy SeasonYou'll have to go out of town to see the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve, but in the best years, it's well worth the drive. The seasonal display of the orange-colored California state flower is nearly impossible to believe unless you see it for yourself.
  • Chinese Lantern Festival: Lantern Festival occurs annually at the end of Chinese New Year festivities. Because the New Year is a lunar festival, the date varies. Check their website for this year's date.

Things to Do in March

  • Camellias in Bloom at Huntington Gardens: More than 1,200 varieties of flowering camellia bushes make Huntington Gardens in Pasadena one of the best places in the country to see them. Bloom season runs from January to March.
  • Watch the Grunion Run: March starts the season for something unique to Southern California, the annual grunion run. During the full moon (or the new one), thousands of tiny, silver-colored fish come ashore in the middle of the night and spawn on the sand. At some Los Angeles beaches, "Grunion Greeters" are on hand to explain what's going on and help you get the most out of being there.
  • Watch Whales: In Los Angeles, you can see whales almost all year: gray whales in winter and blue whales during the summer months. Find the best places to see them — and when each one is most likely to be seen. Find out about them in the guides to Los Angeles whale watching and Orange County whale watching.
  • Watch a Professional Sports Team Play: LA has not one but two NBA teams, and they both call the Staples Center downtown their home court. Check the schedule for the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers. The LA Kings hockey team also plays at the Staples Center. As if all that weren't enough, baseball season begins in March. You can watch the Los Angeles Dodgers play at their stadium near downtown LA or see the Los Angeles Angels in action in Anaheim (which is in Orange County, not LA).

March Travel Tips

  • For a week before the Oscars, Hollywood Boulevard will be completely closed from Highland past the Dolby Theatre all the way to North Orange Drive. Get this year's date on the Oscars website.
  • It won't affect how long the sun will be up, but Daylight Savings time begins in March, which will push the clocks forward and make it seem like the sun is setting later. Many local attractions may change their hours when that happens.
  • Any time of year. you can use these tips to be a smarter Los Angeles visitor who has more fun and puts up with fewer annoyances.
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