Use This Trick to Avoid Crowds at Shops and Restaurants

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Man avoiding crowds while shopping
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Worried about crowds when shopping for groceries during the pandemic? Plan your outings for 8 a.m. on Mondays. And if you want to visit a restaurant, 3 p.m. on a Tuesday is your best bet.

Those times typically are the least busy periods for those hoping to steer clear of other patrons, according to a Good Maps Trends analysis.

Google used anonymized location history data from its Google Maps program to find out when specific public places in the U.S. have had the most visitors during the pandemic. It then compiled that information to zero in on the best and worst times to venture out for a number of types of public locations.

Here’s the rundown:

Coffee shops

  • Busiest: 10 a.m. Saturday
  • Least busy: 4 p.m. Tuesday


  • Busiest: 3 p.m. Friday
  • Least busy: 9 a.m. Monday

Grocery stores

  • Busiest: Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday
  • Least busy: 8 a.m. Monday


  • Busiest: 6 p.m. Friday
  • Least busy: 3 p.m. Tuesday


  • Busiest: 4 p.m. Saturday
  • Least busy: 7 a.m. weekdays

Of course, these are general guidelines. If you want more specific data about your favorite haunts, Google can help you find it via a Google Maps feature called “Popular times.” Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open the Google Maps app on a mobile device.
  2. Search for the place you want to visit. When you see it on the map or the list of search results, tap on it.
  3. Scroll down to the “Popular times” section. There, you will see a chart showing the busiest and least busy times during a given day of the week. If the establishment is open, you also will see a “Live” feature that tells you how busy the location is at the moment.

For more on staying safe from the coronavirus when shopping or simply venturing out, check out:

Of course, the best way to stay safe is to remain behind closed doors, at least until the worst of the pandemic passes. A few retailers have emerged as true favorites among shoppers who love to shop from the comfort of home. To learn more, check out “America’s 3 Favorite Online Retailers During the Pandemic.”

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