Python: Figure out local timezone


I want to compare UTC timestamps from a log file with local timestamps. When creating the local datetime object, I use something like:

>>> local_time=datetime.datetime(2010, 4, 27, 12, 0, 0, 0, 

I want to find an automatic tool that would replace thetzinfo=pytz.timezone('Israel') with the current local time zone.

Any ideas?

Asked By: Adam Matan



Try dateutil, which has a tzlocal type that does what you need.

Answered By: Steven

For simple things, the following tzinfo implementation can be used, which queries the OS for time zone offsets:

import datetime
import time

class LocalTZ(datetime.tzinfo):
    _unixEpochOrdinal = datetime.datetime.utcfromtimestamp(0).toordinal()

    def dst(self, dt):
        return datetime.timedelta(0)

    def utcoffset(self, dt):
        t = (dt.toordinal() - self._unixEpochOrdinal)*86400 + dt.hour*3600 + dt.minute*60 + dt.second + time.timezone
        utc = datetime.datetime(*time.gmtime(t)[:6])
        local = datetime.datetime(*time.localtime(t)[:6])
        return local - utc

print datetime.datetime(2010, 4, 27, 12, 0, 0, tzinfo=LocalTZ())

# If you're in the EU, the following datetimes are right on the DST change.
print datetime.datetime(2013, 3, 31, 0, 59, 59, tzinfo=LocalTZ())
print datetime.datetime(2013, 3, 31, 1, 0, 0, tzinfo=LocalTZ())
print datetime.datetime(2013, 3, 31, 1, 59, 59, tzinfo=LocalTZ())

# The following datetime is invalid, as the clock moves directly from
# 01:59:59 standard time to 03:00:00 daylight savings time.
print datetime.datetime(2013, 3, 31, 2, 0, 0, tzinfo=LocalTZ())

print datetime.datetime(2013, 10, 27, 0, 59, 59, tzinfo=LocalTZ())
print datetime.datetime(2013, 10, 27, 1, 0, 0, tzinfo=LocalTZ())
print datetime.datetime(2013, 10, 27, 1, 59, 59, tzinfo=LocalTZ())

# The following datetime is ambigous, as 02:00 can be either DST or standard
# time. (It is interpreted as standard time.)
print datetime.datetime(2013, 10, 27, 2, 0, 0, tzinfo=LocalTZ())
Answered By: Søren Løvborg

Avoiding non-standard module (seems to be a missing method of datetime module):

from datetime import datetime
utcOffset_min = int(round(( - datetime.utcnow()).total_seconds())) / 60   # round for taking time twice
utcOffset_h = utcOffset_min / 60
assert(utcOffset_min == utcOffset_h * 60)   # we do not handle 1/2 h timezone offsets

print 'Local time offset is %i h to UTC.' % (utcOffset_h)
Answered By: thoku

Based on Thoku’s answer above, here’s an answer that resolves the time zone to the nearest half hour (which is relevant for some timezones eg South Australia’s) :

from datetime import datetime
Answered By: user2380550

to compare UTC timestamps from a log file with local timestamps.

It is hard to find out Olson TZ name for a local timezone in a portable manner. Fortunately, you don’t need it to perform the comparison.

tzlocal module returns a pytz timezone corresponding to the local timezone:

from datetime import datetime

import pytz # $ pip install pytz
from tzlocal import get_localzone # $ pip install tzlocal

tz = get_localzone()
local_dt = tz.localize(datetime(2010, 4, 27, 12, 0, 0, 0), is_dst=None)
utc_dt = local_dt.astimezone(pytz.utc) #NOTE: utc.normalize() is unnecessary here

Unlike other solutions presented so far the above code avoids the following issues:

  • local time can be ambiguous i.e., a precise comparison might be impossible for some local times
  • utc offset can be different for the same local timezone name for dates in the past. Some libraries that support timezone-aware datetime objects (e.g., dateutil) fail to take that into account

Note: to get timezone-aware datetime object from a naive datetime object, you should use*:

local_dt = tz.localize(datetime(2010, 4, 27, 12, 0, 0, 0), is_dst=None)

instead of:

#XXX fails for some timezones
local_dt = datetime(2010, 4, 27, 12, 0, 0, 0, tzinfo=tz)

*is_dst=None forces an exception if given local time is ambiguous or non-existent.

If you are certain that all local timestamps use the same (current) utc offset for the local timezone then you could perform the comparison using only stdlib:

# convert a naive datetime object that represents time in local timezone to epoch time
timestamp1 = (datetime(2010, 4, 27, 12, 0, 0, 0) - datetime.fromtimestamp(0)).total_seconds()

# convert a naive datetime object that represents time in UTC to epoch time
timestamp2 = (datetime(2010, 4, 27, 9, 0) - datetime.utcfromtimestamp(0)).total_seconds()

timestamp1 and timestamp2 can be compared directly.


  • timestamp1 formula works only if the UTC offset at epoch (datetime.fromtimestamp(0)) is the same as now
  • fromtimestamp() creates a naive datetime object in the current local timezone
  • utcfromtimestamp() creates a naive datetime object in UTC.
Answered By: jfs

I was asking the same to myself, and I found the answer in 1:

Take a look at section 8.1.7: the format "%z" (lowercase, the Z uppercase returns also the time zone, but not in the 4-digit format, but in the form of timezone abbreviations, like in [3]) of strftime returns the form "+/- 4DIGIT" that is standard in email headers (see section 3.3 of RFC 2822, see [2], which obsoletes the other ways of specifying the timezone for email headers).

So, if you want your timezone in this format, use:




[3] Timezone abbreviations: , only for reference.

Answered By: David L

Here’s a way to get the local timezone using only the standard library, (only works in a *nix environment):

>>> '/'.join(os.path.realpath('/etc/localtime').split('/')[-2:])

You can use this to create a pytz timezone:

>>> import pytz
>>> my_tz_name = '/'.join(os.path.realpath('/etc/localtime').split('/')[-2:])
>>> my_tz = pytz.timezone(my_tz_name)
>>> my_tz
<DstTzInfo 'Australia/Sydney' LMT+10:05:00 STD>

…which you can then apply to a datetime:

>>> import datetime
>>> now =
>>> now
datetime.datetime(2014, 9, 3, 9, 23, 24, 139059)

>>> now.replace(tzinfo=my_tz)
>>> now
datetime.datetime(2014, 9, 3, 9, 23, 24, 139059, tzinfo=<DstTzInfo 'Australia/Sydney' LMT+10:05:00 STD>)
Answered By: amorphic

First get pytz and tzlocal modules

pip install pytz tzlocal


from tzlocal import get_localzone
local = get_localzone()

then you can do things like

from datetime import datetime
Answered By: aminalid

tzlocal from dateutil.

Code example follows. Last string suitable for use in filenames.

>>> from datetime import datetime
>>> from import tzlocal
>>> str(
'2015-04-01 11:19:47.980883-07:00'
>>> str(' ','-').replace(':','').replace('.','-')
Answered By: Johnny Utahh

First, note that the question presents an incorrect initialization of an aware datetime object:

>>> local_time=datetime.datetime(2010, 4, 27, 12, 0, 0, 0,
...                                  tzinfo=pytz.timezone('Israel'))

creates an invalid instance. One can see the problem by computing the UTC offset of the resulting object:

>>> print(local_time.utcoffset())

(Note the result which is an odd fraction of an hour.)

To initialize an aware datetime properly using pytz one should use the localize() method as follows:

>>> local_time=pytz.timezone('Israel').localize(datetime.datetime(2010, 4, 27, 12))
>>> print(local_time.utcoffset())

Now, if you require a local pytz timezone as the new tzinfo, you should use the tzlocal package as others have explained, but if all you need is an instance with a correct local time zone offset and abbreviation then tarting with Python 3.3, you can call the astimezone() method with no arguments to convert an aware datetime instance to your local timezone:

>>> local_time.astimezone().strftime('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M %Z %z')
'2010-04-27 05:00 EDT -0400'

In Python 3.x, local timezone can be figured out like this:

import datetime

It’s a tricky use of datetime‘s code .

For python < 3.6, you’ll need

import datetime
Answered By: vbem

Based on J. F. Sebastian’s answer, you can do this with the standard library:

import time, datetime
local_timezone = datetime.timezone(datetime.timedelta(seconds=-time.timezone))

Tested in 3.4, should work on 3.4+

Answered By: Gilly

Here’s a slightly more concise version of @vbem’s solution:

from datetime import datetime as dt


The only substantive difference is that I replaced with datetime.datetime.utcnow(). For brevity, I also aliased datetime.datetime as dt.

For my purposes, I want the UTC offset in seconds. Here’s what that looks like:

Answered By: David Marx
now_dt =
utc_now = datetime.datetime.utcnow()
now_ts, utc_ts = map(time.mktime, map(datetime.datetime.timetuple, (now_dt, utc_now)))
offset = int((now_ts - utc_ts) / 3600)

hope this will help you.

Answered By: 宝城 p

You may be happy with pendulum

>>> pendulum.datetime(2015, 2, 5, tz='local')

Pendulum has a well designed API for manipulating dates. Everything is TZ-aware.

Answered By: Étienne Bersac

I have also been looking for a simple way to read the local host configuration and get timezone aware local_time based on it. As of python 3.6+ the simplest approach is use which will read /etc/localtime and assist in getting timezone aware datetime object.

Here is more info on it:

The implementation to accomplish what you’re looking for is as follows:

from datetime import datetime
from dateutil import tz
local_time =

This will provide you the following local_time:

2019-10-18 13:41:06.624536-05:00

Additional Resources I used in researching this topic:
Paul Ganssle Presentation about time zones:

pytz: The Fastest Footgun in the West

Answered By: darekm101

The following appears to work for 3.7+, using standard libs:

from datetime import timedelta
from datetime import timezone
import time

def currenttz():
    if time.daylight:
        return timezone(timedelta(seconds=-time.altzone),time.tzname[1])
        return timezone(timedelta(seconds=-time.timezone),time.tzname[0])
Answered By: Robbie Matthews

I want to compare UTC timestamps from a log file with local timestamps

If this is your intent, then I wouldn’t worry about specifying specific tzinfo parameters or any additional external libraries. Since Python 3.5, the built in datetime module is all you need to create a UTC and a local timestamp automatically.

import datetime
f = "%a %b %d %H:%M:%S %Z %Y"         # Full format with timezone

# tzinfo=None
cdatetime = datetime.datetime(2010, 4, 27, 12, 0, 0, 0)  # 1. Your example from log
cdatetime =   # 2. Basic date creation (default: local time)
print(cdatetime.strftime(f))          # no timezone printed
# Tue Apr 27 12:00:00  2010

utctimestamp = cdatetime.astimezone(tz=datetime.timezone.utc)  # 1. convert to UTC
utctimestamp = # 2. create in UTC
# Tue Apr 27 17:00:00 UTC 2010

localtimestamp = cdatetime.astimezone()               # 1. convert to local [default]
localtimestamp =  # 2. create with local timezone
# Tue Apr 27 12:00:00 CDT 2010

The ‘%Z’ parameter of datetime.strftime() prints the timezone acronym into the timestamp for humans to read.

Answered By: codejedi365

To create an ISO formatted string that includes the ISO representation of your local time zone in Israel (+04:00) :

on a server in Israel:


This will create a "timezone aware" date object that will compare to any other datetime object in UTC or local time appropriately. But the time zone ISO representation (and the date/time string itself) will change if you ran this on a server in San Francisco at the exact same time, as I did:

on a server in San Francisco, CA, USA (Pacific):


The datetime objects in in both cases would be compatible with each other. So if you subtracted them you’d get a time delta of 0:

On a server anywhere in Python3.6+:

>>> (datetime.fromisoformat('2021-09-06T14:01:02.030042-07:00') -
...  datetime.fromisoformat('2021-09-07T01:01:02.030042+04:00'))
Answered By: hobs
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