I've been to SLC & Vegas, but not LA.
January 12, 2008 8:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm going on a business trip to LA week after next. Having never been there, I have no idea how to pack.

I can clearly look at weather.com for the weather report, but I know if you look at the weather for Atlanta online, you can end up seriously over or under-dressed. I know how to dress professionally, so I'm more concerned about whether to pack a sweater or two, or if I need to bring a coat. I don't want to be stuck sweating. Or, conversely, freezing my ass off.

I'll be flying in and out of LAX, so if there are any weirdnesses about LAX, that information would be helpful too (as in, ATL Hartsfield is in no way confusing to me, but I've had friends call me in a panic because they can't figure out where to go - I prefer to avoid being lost in the airport).
posted by Medieval Maven to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, LA (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It could be rainy (it feels like we're getting more than our usual ration of rain this year), but it won't be colder than "chilly." Depending on where you are staying (cooler inland; warmer near the beaches), no cooler than the low 40s. At the upper limit, we might reach the low 80s (warmer inland; cooler at the beaches). Your plan for sweaters and a light coat (for evenings) sounds fine (you won't need your ski parka).

LAX is a giant "U" with terminals along the outside of the U and the roadway on the inside. It's two levels -- arrivals on the bottom, departures on the top. There's short term parking in the middle and long term parking nearby. There are all manner of busses and shuttles stopping and going and plenty of well marked stops at which to board them.

Enjoy your stay!
posted by notyou at 8:49 AM on January 12, 2008

I second notyou. It cools off at night, so a sweater/jacket is a given. (It's similar to desert climate). If you stay near the beaches, it will be cooler. Don't forget about our Santa Ana winds, which can blow through at any time. They are very strong gusts of wind that are common for us this time of year.

Have a great time!
posted by 6:1 at 9:00 AM on January 12, 2008

Best answer: The universal solution is to wear wool. Animal fibers have evolved to expand or contract in according to the temperature so that your body is always appropriately insulated. Unless the sweater is REALLY thick or thin, I'm never too hot or too cold when wearing wool.
posted by randomstriker at 9:48 AM on January 12, 2008

I make yearly trips out to LA this time of year (just got back earlier this week), and would suggest that you pack a couple of sweaters and a light jacket. Despite the warm days, it gets pretty cool at night. Especially so if you're up in the higher elevations.

Also, keep in mind that this is Southern California's rainy season. It rained for several days when I was out there last week (it always seems to rain when I'm out there), and the temperature never really got out of the 50s on those days. I live in Denver, so I'm used to the cold, but I'm still glad I packed warm clothes.

As for LAX... it's kind of a dump, and as far as major world airports go, it's not particularly well-designed or efficient, but if you're just flying in and out, it's easy enough to deal with. Give yourself a lot of time, be patient with the crowds and the traffic, and pay attention to what's going on around you. In fact, I'd offer the same advice for LA in general. Screwy as it may be, it's a fun place once you figure out how everything works.
posted by jal0021 at 9:55 AM on January 12, 2008

How much time will you be outside? A light jacket is probably all you need for a business trip. As others have said, it typically gets chilly in the evenings.
posted by caddis at 10:38 AM on January 12, 2008

Yep. Bring a coat. Day to evening temperatures can vary up to 35 degrees, so be prepared for that. Even if it's 75 during the day, it will still get into the 50s or colder at night.
posted by clh at 12:43 PM on January 12, 2008

My comparison is that January here feels roughly like October in Chicago, if that helps any. So a couple of wool or cashmere sweaters and a jacket/blazer (say, tweed or leather -- you won't need a heavy winter coat, though) will do you fine. Bring some layers so that you won't be dying if it warms up into the 70s in the day, but also bring a light scarf and gloves for evening. An umbrella, definitely (and boots or shoes you can wear in the rain) -- it's the rainy season, and we've definitely been getting our fair share this year.

Also, if you're staying in someone's home (vs. in a hotel), be prepared for the fact that most houses/apartments here (in my experience) tend to be badly insulated, poorly heated, and drafty. Which doesn't matter about 9 months out of the year, obviously, but makes for some discomfort the rest of the time.
posted by scody at 1:35 PM on January 12, 2008

LAX is the only airport where I've ever had to show my paperwork at the exit door proving my baggage is my own. So you might want to keep that handy.
posted by Jahaza at 2:29 PM on January 12, 2008

In the past six years flying in and out of LAX, I've NEVER had to show my baggage claim ticket. Years before that, I did. I think since 2001 they have let up on that, more important things for them to be doing . . .
posted by 6:1 at 5:21 PM on January 12, 2008

Re LAX... when you are flying OUT again, give yourself plenty of time to deal with checking in and doing the security dance... last time I was there it was a nightmare on both fronts (flying NWA).

As said above, be prepared for cool evenings....
posted by HuronBob at 5:59 PM on January 12, 2008

Global warming has caused all sorts of weirdness; when I was there in Mid-November last year it was in the 90's for the first day or two. I just came back from there on Monday; what I did was pack a mix of long-sleeve and 3/4 sleeve tops--I tossed in a short-sleeve, but didn't need it....also a mix of wool and cotton socks. I'd say bring your fall/spring Atlanta clothes and a sweater.
posted by brujita at 9:30 PM on January 12, 2008

I am visiting LA right now from NY, and I was confused about what to pack, too. If you wear pants, then all you'll need is a jacket for night time and rain stuff. Today we were out in the park from noon till 5 in t-shirts and cardigans. It is too cold for bare legs, paparazzi pics of Britney notwithstanding. I've seen a few women in capris or leggings, but most people are wearing long pants. The one woman I saw today in a skirt was wearing knee-high boots, so she didn't have a lot of exposed skin. A skirt with tights would probably be fine.
posted by xo at 11:26 PM on January 12, 2008

Response by poster: For posterity's sake, I will say that I was glad to have brought some cashmere with me, but the short trench coat I brought was not quiet enough. With my light scarf, it was mostly OK, but a leather coat would have been better to bring than I thought. It was 50's-60's there (so nice, mild GA weather) but at night it got very, very cold. Thanks to all for the advice!
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:40 AM on January 28, 2008

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