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Atlanta Thanksgiving Traffic and Travel Trends

Thanksgiving is just two weeks away, and Google Maps has put together some traffic and travel trends to help make celebrating even easier. Using data from 2018’s holiday season, the internet giant is giving Atlantans a closer look at the places people visit during the holidays, when to visit them, and the best times to get on (or stay off) the road. We’re hopeful this information will be interesting and helpful for your readers. See below for some national and Atlanta specific tips.

Ditch the Traffic

To make sure you don’t get caught in the gridlock, we analyzed 2018 traffic data to pinpoint the best and worst times to leave for your Thanksgiving road trip. Nationally, we see that the day before Thanksgiving between 3-4 p.m. is the worst time to hit the road, but traffic clears up significantly by 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning.

In Atlanta:

  • The best time to leave before Thanksgiving is Thursday at 6 a.m.
  • The best time to leave after Thanksgiving is Sunday at 6 a.m.
  • The worst time to leave before Thanksgiving is Wednesday at 3 p.m.
  • The worst time to leave after Thanksgiving is Sunday at 3 p.m.

Avoid the Crowds

Holiday crowds can easily transform a quick stop into an hours-long adventure. To save Atlantans time, we analyzed Popular Times data at key holiday destinations during Thanksgiving week to find when the crowds tend to peak and when to avoid them.

We identified when crowds tend to be the largest at five holiday favorites in Atlanta: bakeries, grocery stores, liquor stores, movie theaters, and shopping centers.

  • Bakery: The best time to visit a bakery is on Thursday at 9 a.m. (least crowded). The worst time is on Wednesday at noon (most crowded).
  • Grocery store: The best time to visit a grocery store is on Thursday at 7 a.m. The worst time is on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
  • Liquor store: The best time to visit a liquor store is on Tuesday at 10 p.m. The worst time is on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
  • Movie theater: The best time to visit a movie theater is on Tuesday at 11 a.m. The worst time is on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Shopping center: The best time to visit a shopping center is on Thursday at 7 a.m. The worst time is on Wednesday at noon.
  • Black Friday: On Black Friday, the best time to visit a shopping center is at 8 a.m. The worst time to visit a shopping center is at 3 p.m.

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