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The Best and Worst Times to Shop for Thanksgiving

Shopping for Thanksgiving is one of the most time-consuming tasks. It can also be extremely stressful if you go at the wrong time.

Planning your Thanksgiving shopping in advance is the best way to make sure it runs smoothly. Below, you’ll discover when the best and worst times to shop for this popular holiday are. This should help you to plan better and have the least stressful shopping experience.

When Is the Best Time to Go Shopping?

The best times to go shopping for Thanksgiving have actually been generated by Google Maps. A report from Google Maps was published in 2019, showing the busiest and quietest times to get in everything you need.

According to the findings, it is best to shop for everything you need on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Specifically, you’ll want to head to the store at 9pm for the quietest shopping experience.

The best time to go will also depend upon the type of shopping you are doing. For example, if you’re heading to the liquor store, you’ll want to shop on the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving at 10pm. If you are heading to the bakery, 7pm is the quietest time.

What Times Should You Avoid?

Unsurprisingly, it has been revealed that the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest. You will particularly want to avoid traveling to the store on the Wednesday between 5pm and 6pm.

If you are heading to the liquor store, the worst time to go is 5pm on Wednesday. For trips to the bakery, you’ll want to avoid going around 2pm on the Wednesday. Similarly, shopping centers tend to be busiest around 4pm the day before.

You’ll also find traffic is bad between 3pm and 4pm on the Wednesday. So, if you are looking to travel to loved ones, it’s best to set off on Thanksgiving at around 6am.

Times Depend upon State

The times mentioned above are general national guidelines. However, the best and worst times to shop will also depend upon the state you live in.

In Miami, Florida, it’s best to avoid traveling for Thanksgiving at 8am. You’ll also want to avoid traveling back on the Sunday at 3pm, instead opting for a 6am start where it is quietest.

If you live in Minneapolis, the worst time to travel is Wednesday at 4pm and the worst time to come back is Friday at 3pm. Paying attention to state specific timings is important if you want to benefit from the quietest times.

These are the best and worst shopping times to be aware of when you’re trying to ease the stress of Thanksgiving. Ideally, you’ll want to get everything you need in as early as possible. If you can do the shopping the weekend before or early in the week, you’ll find it much quieter and less stressful.


If you plan to travel to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the whole week of Thanksgiving should be avoided. Tourists flock to the area for the outlet mall shopping, even though everything could be found online cheaper (and even in your local area), rather than clogging the limited area with cars and people.

Plan ahead, so you don’t have to go shopping on Thanksgiving day. Not only does this encourage shops to have employees working on that day, it’s just a slap in the face as people can’t help but tell the employee’s “I can’t believe you have to work on Thanksgiving!”

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