Top 10 Ways to Beat the Heat in Los Angeles

Things to Do in Los Angeles When It's Too Hot

One thing that is relatively dependable in Los Angeles is that inland summer temperatures will be hot. For a few weeks here and there, it's scorching all the way to the beach. Here are some great ways to escape the oppressive heat if it gets too much for you.

  • 01 of 10
    Manhattan Beach
    ••• Marika Bortolami / flickr

    LA County has 81 miles of beaches from Malibu to Long Beach. Orange and Ventura Counties offer additional miles of sand and sea. Beach temperatures are generally 20 to 30 degrees cooler than in inland areas of L.A. Check out my guide to LA Beaches to see which one is right for you. If you're not a lay-on-the-beach type of person, check out my guide to What to do at the Beach for some ideas of activities and attractions available and the best beaches to find each activity from bike rentals to kite surfing. 

  • 02 of 10
    Los Angeles Museums
    ••• Mark Gibson / Getty Images

    With over 230 museums and historical homes to visit in the Los Angeles area, you can find someplace to get out of the sun for an hour or all day.

    Explore which ones strike your fancy, from the more traditional art and history museums, to museums of cars, trains, planes, and ships or the quirky Bunny Museum and Museum of Death in my guide to​ Los Angeles Museums, organized by museum type, location and themes, or if you already know which one you're looking for, find it on my LA Museums A to Z List. There's certainly something for every taste.

  • 03 of 10
    Starline Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Bus
    ••• Starline Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Bus in front of the Chinese Theatre. Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma, licensed to

    If you want to cover a lot of ground while keeping cool, take an air-conditioned bus tour. There are several companies and itineraries to choose from. Here is an overview of Los Angeles Bus, Van and Trolley Tours. Note that there are a lot of open-top bus and van tours. The upper deck or open van probably won't be your best bet if it's 100 degrees out since there's no shade and no AC. 

  • 04 of 10
    Capitol Records Building, Hollywood
    ••• Downtowngal, Creative Commons

    If you have a car and prefer to see things in your own time, try this one-day driving tour of LA. As long as you have air conditioning in the car, you can stay cool and comfortable, and driving toward the water or the mountains will drop the temperature by 10 to 20 degrees most of the time. 

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Los Angeles whale watching
    ••• Alessandro Valli / flickr

    If you've seen most of the on-shore attractions, try a boat tour, boat rental or fishing excursion. It's always significantly cooler out on the water. Boat tour options range from private gondola tours of inland canals to dinner dance cruises and harbor tours. For a bargain, you can just ride around on a water taxi all afternoon in Long Beach. See the full list of LA Boat Tours to see which one suits you.

  • 06 of 10
    El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    Normally, you might not want to spend part of your vacation time inside a movie theater, but in Los Angeles, going to one of the classic Hollywood movie palaces like Disney's El Capitan can add another dimension to your film viewing experience.

  • 07 of 10
    Beverly Center, Los Angeles, CA
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    Many of the shopping centers in Southern California are now built as outdoor malls, rather than the enclosed, air conditioned malls built in the 60s and 70s. The shops themselves are air conditioned, but you're outside between shops. There are a few indoor LA malls left where you can still escape the heat while you browse from shop to shop.

  • 08 of 10
    Knott's Soak City Water Park
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    Water parks are a great way to cool off if you're in the neighborhood. I have water parks lower on the list for two reasons. First, most of them are located outside the most common tourist areas in LA, so you have to drive a bit to get there. Second, they are located in some of the hottest areas, so the time you spend waiting in line, you may be in the 112-degree heat. Knott's Soak City in Buena Park and Great Wolf Lodge in Garden Grove are the most accessible and quite convenient if you're visiting Knott's Berry Farm or Disneyland. Great Wolf Lodge is the only one that will help if we're experiencing a heat wave October through Mid-May - which happens more and more frequently in recent years - since the others are only open during the summer months.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Disney Soda Fountain
    ••• Myrna Litt / flickr

    Research shows that drinking cold water cools your body faster when you're overheated than drinking water at room temperature, so a frozen treat on a hot day can't be a bad thing.

  • 10 of 10
    Paramount Studios
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    Many shows take a hiatus in summer, but there is always something taping in LA. To escape the daytime heat, look for game shows or daytime talk shows taping. If it's really hot or rainy, they try to move the waiting line indoors or at least into the shade.