Los Angeles, California enjoys one of the best climates in the United States. Because of its Mediterranean climate, the average weather in the city is pleasant year round. If you’re curious how many sunny days in Los Angeles you can enjoy during an average year, this article is for you. We’re going to explore how often sun shines in the City of Angels and how many days of rain it gets.
Los Angeles averages in this article come from the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
Here’s the Number of Sunny Days in Los Angeles, California
According to the NOAA, the University of Southern California (located in downtown Los Angeles) receives 3,254 sunshine hours a year.
When we look at percentage of daylight hours when there’s sun (percent possible sunshine), we can calculate how many sunny days Los Angeles gets on average per year.
Here are my calculations to determine how often you can expect blue skies in Los Angeles:
|Month||Sunshine hours||Percent possible sunshine||Average sunny days|
According to this data, Los Angeles has about 267 sunny days per year, defined as both partly cloudy and clear days. This means that Los Angeles has 98 days of cloudy weather.
The sunniest month is August with 26 sunny days. It’s also the hottest month when temperatures range from about 65 °F on average at night to 84 °F during the day. Among the largest cities in California, Los Angeles still has relatively mild summers, though.
Due to the phenomenon known as “June Gloom” (that’s most prevalent in the late spring and early summer), the least sunny month is June with about 19 sunny days (May is also more cloudy, recording 19-20 days of sun).
Despite more frequent cloud cover in May and June, Los Angeles is still one one of the sunniest cities in the United States and also one of the sunniest on the west coast.
Sunshine Hours in Los Angeles Compared to Other Cities
Let’s see how Los Angeles compares to some other major cities in the United States. I’ll compare it to both some of the sunniest cities in the United States as well as some cloudier ones. Instead of comparing sunny days, I’ll compare sunshine hours.
Los Angeles Compared to the Sunniest Cities in the US
In California, Los Angeles is roughly in between the sunnier and slightly cloudier cities.
San Diego gets 3,054 hours of sun, while San Francisco gets 3,062. Sacramento, known for its hot summer, is far ahead of Los Angeles, with 3,608 hours of sunshine. Fresno is also much sunnier. It receives 3,564 hours of sun.
Compared to the sunniest city in the United States, Yuma, Arizona, Los Angeles gets 761 fewer hours of sun (Yuma gets 4,015, LA gets 3,254).
Phoenix, the sunniest city in the US among large cities, is a little closer to LA but still far ahead. It records 3,872 sunshine hours.
Leaving California, Las Vegas, Nevada, as one of the sunniest cities in the United States, also provides sunny skies much more often. It has 3,825 hours of sunshine.
El Paso, Texas, is also a much sunnier destination. It receives 3,763 hours of sun (there’s a reason why it’s nicknamed The Sun City).
Miami is less sunny than Los Angeles, recording 3,154 sunshine hours. But Key West is sunnier with 3,404 hours of sunshine.
Los Angeles Compared to Cloudier Cities
Now, let’s compare Los Angeles to some cloudier cities. These are typically found on the east coast.
For example, New York City gets 2,535 sunshine hours a year. Chicago receives 2,508 hours (more on Chicago here), Boston 2,634, Philadelphia 2,498, and Washington 2,528.
Comparing California to cloudier cities in Texas, Houston gets 2,578 hours of sunshine, Austin 2,644, and San Antonio 2,629.
Compared to much cloudier cities, Los Angeles has many more sunny days and much fewer cloudy days.
For example, Seattle gets only 167 sunny days (here’s an article on Seattle’s climate) compared to 267 in LA. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, is even worse, receiving just 161 sunny days (here’s my article on the climate in Pittsburgh).
How Many Days of Rain Does Los Angeles Get?
Los Angeles is a very sunny city so even without data we may guess that it doesn’t get much rain. Here’s how precipitation days break down per month:
With just 34 days of rain a year, Los Angeles has only one more day of rain than Phoenix, the sunniest large city in the United States. Precipitation amounts (14.25 inches a year) are twice as high as in Phoenix.
Los Angeles mostly gets rain during its mild winters, particularly between December and March. The city has dry summers with almost non-existent precipitation between June and September.
Downtown Los Angeles records no measurable snowfall in the winter months while mountains within the city limits typically do.
If you’re interested in more articles about the climate in California, check out my articles:
- Cities With Weather Like Los Angeles
- What Are the Warmest Cities in California?
- Top 10 Cooler Cities in California to Escape the Heat
- Best Weather Outside of California
Frequently Asked Questions
Los Angeles is not the sunniest city in California. For example, Sacramento records 3,608 hours of sunshine compared to 3,254 in LA. Desert cities like Palm Springs record even more sunny days. Still, LA is one of the sunniest cities in the United States.
Los Angeles has abundant sunny days. You can expect to see sun anywhere from 64% of time in the cloudiest months (May and June) to over 80% in the sunniest months (July and August).
It indeed rains rarely in LA. The city records only 34 days of rain a year, mostly between October and April.
While the city has experienced some extremely rare snowfall a few times in its history, overall downtown Los Angeles never gets snow (only mountains within the city limits regularly do).
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