The winters are mild; the summers warm (brutally hot, inland). In autumn, the city is at its best when the Santa Ana winds blow out the smog and temperatures begin to drop into the sixties fahrenheit. There is a dramatic difference between the weather at the beach and the weather inland. On any given July day there can be a difference of nearly 7°C (20°F) between Santa Monica and Hollywood. On those terribly hot days it’s far more pleasant to live at the sea. On the other hand, in June, the June Gloom (or May Grey) keeps the beaches foggy and cool while a few miles inland the sun shines and the sky is clear.

The median temperature in January is 14°C (57°F) and 23°C (73°F) in August. Unfortunately, for a city with an ongoing water crisis (see Polanski’s Chinatown) there’s very little rain; only 15 inches per year. February is the wettest month.

The city is regularly used by environmentalists as an example of what’s wrong with the world. Los Angeles is located in a dry and arid desert basin. But Angelenos insist on watering their lawns with water from as far away as Colorado. The basin geography retains the smog generated by the millions of cars and factories, and pollution is a terrible problem. The American Lung Association ( ranks the city as the most polluted in the United States.

Newsletter Subscription