Here Are the Worst Times for Thanksgiving Traffic, According to Google Maps

updated Jul 17, 2020
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(Image credit: mhong84)

Using data from Google Maps, Google News Lab has figured out where we’re going, what we’re looking for and when we’re getting there around Thanksgiving. So, if you’re trying to eat Chinese food on the way to the plant nursery on Black Friday, you’re not alone—but you should probably avoid driving at 9am.

(Image credit: Google Trends)

So how’d they figure out that folks in Texas are particularly interested in bicycle sharing locations? They logged how many times people asked for directions to a specific place in Google Maps. Then they focused on the searches that aren’t nationally popular to really winnow down each state’s particular interest. They offer up the example of department stores, they are the most popular search location on Thanksgiving overall, but they’re popular all year round. They looked for locations that see a surge in popularity over the holidays nationally (ham shops, natch) and then by state. Creepy? Yes. Interesting? Also yes.

(Image credit: Google Trends)

They also applied the maps data to Thanksgiving rush traffic. Using last year’s data, they made a few recommendations for the best times to drive per state. While their suggestions aren’t always ideal—they recommend you start driving at 4am in New York—they are helpful.

(Image credit: Google Trends)

For more state-specific data on restaurant trends, entertainment and fun interactive widgets, head over to Google Trends.

More on Thanksgiving:

h/t 6sqft