October weather in Los Angeles feels like summer in most other parts of the U.S. The skies are clear, temperatures are balmy, and the summer crowds have thinned out, the perfect combination to enjoy an autumn day at the beach. Even though it's the shoulder season for tourism, there are always a lot of people moving around Los Angeles and traffic is just as bad as any other time of year.
Not only is the weather great, but Angelenos also celebrate with all types of fall festivals and cultural activities throughout the month. Southern California may not experience a true "autumn" like other parts of the country and there's no fall foliage on the palm trees, but the packed calendar of things to do more than makes up for the mismatched season.
Los Angeles Weather in October
Southern California's enviable weather is on full display in October. As most parts of the U.S. are fully transitioning into winter and starting to bundle up, visitors to Los Angeles are sitting on the beach. The average high temperature across the month is 78 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius), while the lows drop on average to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius). Overcast is rare and rain is even more uncommon, so in terms of weather, few places are as ideal as Los Angeles in October.
September 30 also marks the official end of smog season, so the thick air that Los Angeles is—unfortunately—known for has usually cleared up significantly by the time October rolls around. That means you can better enjoy a hike in the nearby hills or a clear day at the beach without worrying about noxious air quality.
What to Pack
In general, you'll want to pack as if for a summer trip. Bring clothing like T-shirts, shorts and pants, comfortable walking shoes, and summer dresses. If you plan to be on the beach, don't forget to bring a swimsuit. You may not need it, but at least one light jacket is recommended since evenings near the water can get windy and chilly.
Rain isn't likely in Los Angeles in October, but thunderstorms are always a possibility. Bring a small and compact umbrella or a water-resistant jacket with you, just in case.
Angelenos will wear beachwear year-round, so you can also pack sandals or flip-flops for exploring the city. People in California are pretty laid-back in terms of style and really anything goes. It's not uncommon to see people on the street dressed in a nice suit or a high-end dress, nor is it uncommon to see people running errands in yoga pants or gym clothes. Pack what you're most comfortable in and according to the local weather forecast.
October Events in Los Angeles
October is packed with all types of cultural events, featuring music, beer, art, and more. At the end of the month, Halloween parties and celebrations for Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, can be found all over Los Angeles County.
- JazzTrax Festival: Held on Catalina Island, it draws visitors from some pretty far-flung places and is a lot of fun if you like the music. The JazzTrax Festival is canceled in 2020 and returns in October 2021.
- Santa Anita Park: The fall horse racing season runs through the month of October at Santa Anita Park. Come out and place your bets while spending a day at the tracks. However, the 2020 season is being held without live spectators.
- Brewery Art Walk: This semi-annual festival gives you a unique chance to explore the place where more than 100 participating resident artists live and create. You can see new works, discover new favorites, speak with the artists, and purchase artwork directly from the artists' studios. And best of all, it's free. The fall Art Walk is scheduled to take place virtually from October 24–25, 2020.
- Oktoberfest: Old World Village in Huntington Beach celebrates German food, culture, and beer each year for this Bavarian celebration. In 2020, Oktoberfest is canceled at Old World Village.
- Day of the Dead in LA: The Mexican celebration of Día de los Muertos happens around the same time as Halloween. Some of the best places to enjoy it include the Los Angeles Day of the Dead at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Riverside Day of the Dead, and the annual Day of the Dead tour in Tijuana offered by Turista Libre Tours. Many Day of the Dead festivities are canceled in 2020.
- Halloween in the Los Angeles Area: Halloween is a big holiday in the entertainment capital of the world, with events from large to small. The best reason to go to Disneyland at Halloween is for the seasonal rides and decorations, and you can also get dressed up in a costume and go to Mickey's Halloween Party. Universal Studios hosts the scream-filled Halloween Horror Nights, and Knotts Scary Farm is a bunch of fun. All three theme parks are closed to the public in October 2020.
October Travel Tips
- For any Halloween event that requires a ticket, buy it as far in advance as you can. Many of them sell out as early as late August.
- Los Angeles traffic means driving anywhere can painfully slow. When possible, use public transit so you don't lose time stuck in a traffic jam.
- Consider a fall side trip to the cute little town of Julian for apple-picking and a taste of fall foliage.
- Although summer is a peak time for outdoor concerts, the season at Hollywood Bowl, Ford Amphitheatre, and the Greek Theatre runs through October.