Converting Python Strings to Datetime Objects with Timezone


In Python, the datetime module provides a class for working with dates and times, known as datetime. The datetime class has several methods for working with dates and times, including parsing strings into datetime objects. One of the most common operations when working with time-series data is converting strings to datetime objects. However, when working with data from different time zones, it's important to take time zones into account. In this article, we will discuss how to convert strings to datetime objects with timezone information in Python.

Using pytz module

One of the most popular libraries for working with time zones in Python is pytz. pytz provides a comprehensive list of time zones, including their full names, UTC offsets, and daylight saving time information. It also provides a timezone class that can be used to create timezone-aware datetime objects. You can use the timezone class to create a time zone-aware datetime object from a string: For e.g.:-

from datetime import datetime
from pytz import timezone

# Timezone string
tz_string = 'Asia/Kolkata’'

# Datetime string
dt_string = '2023-01-10 12:00:00'

# Create a timezone object
tz = timezone(tz_string)

# Parse the datetime string
dt = datetime.strptime(dt_string, '%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S')

# Create a timezone-aware datetime object
dt_aware = tz.localize(dt)

In this example, we first import the datetime and timezone classes from the datetime and pytz modules, respectively. Next, we define a time zone string, 'US/Eastern', and a datetime string, '2020-01-01 12:00:00', and pass it to the strptime() method to parse it into a datetime object. Then, we use the timezone() function to create a time zone object and call the localize() method on that object passing the parsed datetime as a parameter, resulting in a timezone aware datetime object.

Using dateutil library

Another way to convert string to datetime object with timezone is using dateutil library which has a powerful parser for handling different datetime string formats.

from dateutil import parser

#Datetime string
dt_string = '2023-01-10 12:00:00+05:30'

#Parse datetime string
dt = parser.parse(dt_string)

In this example, we first import the parser module from the dateutil library. Next, we define a datetime string with timezone offset and pass it to the parse() method which returns a datetime object that is timezone aware.

Conversion between different time zones

In addition to creating timezone-aware datetime objects, it's also important to be able to convert between different time zones. For this, pytz provides the normalize() and astimezone() methods. The normalize() method is used to adjust the time zone information of a datetime object to match the time zone's rules for daylight saving time. The astimezone() method is used to convert a datetime object from one time zone to another.

#Convert to different timezone
new_tz = timezone('Europe/London')
new_dt = dt_aware.astimezone(new_tz)

#print the converted datetime

In this example, we first create a new timezone object new_tz with 'Europe/London' as the timezone and then we use the astimezone() method to convert the dt_aware object to that timezone. In addition to pytz, the dateutil library also provides similar functionality to convert the datetime objects between different time zones.

#Convert to different timezone
new_dt = dt.tzinfo(new_tz)

#print the converted datetime

The tzinfo function present in the datetime objects created by dateutil library can be used to convert the object to different timezones. It is important to note that both pytz and dateutil libraries uses the standard datetime module of python for datetime operations and makes it timezone aware.


In conclusion, converting strings to datetime objects with timezone information in Python is an important task when working with time-series data. The datetime module provides a class for working with dates and times but it does not have timezone support out of the box. By using these libraries and methods, you can easily and accurately represent, manipulate, and analyze your time-series data, allowing you to make more informed decisions. It is important to choose the library based on your use case and the size of your data, both pytz and dateutil will work fine for small data but for large datasets pytz might be faster in performance.

Converting Python Strings to Datetime Objects with Timezone