The Best Times to Avoid Crowds at Costco

The Best Times to Avoid Crowds at Costco

Costco is recognized for its bulk supplies, cheap rates, and vast selection. However, navigating its congested aisles can sometimes be overwhelming. To make your shopping experience more enjoyable and efficient, it's crucial to know the best times to avoid crowds at Costco. This guide provides insights into optimal shopping hours, backed by common trends and practical advice.

The Best Times to Avoid Crowds at Costco

Understanding Peak and Off-Peak Hours

Understanding Costco’s peak and off-peak hours is vital for planning your visits. Here’s a full breakdown of when you’re likely to experience the most and least crowded situations.

Peak Hours

Costco tends to be busiest during:

1. Weekends: Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest days, especially from mid-morning until mid-afternoon. Families and people who are working during the week rush to Costco to stock up on supplies.

2. Early Evenings on Weekdays
: Many shoppers visit Costco after work, often between 5 PM and 7 PM. This period sees a big surge of customers eager to pick up food on their way home.

3. Holidays and Days running Up to Holidays: Major holidays and the days running up to them witness a surge in shoppers planning for celebrations. Expect significant crowds throughout Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and Fourth of July periods.

4. First Three Days of the Month: Many people receive their salaries, social security payments, or other monthly income at the beginning of the month, leading to a considerable rise in shoppers.

Off-Peak Hours

To avoid the crowds, consider shopping around these times:

1. Weekdays, Mid-Morning to Early Afternoon: Visiting Costco between 10 AM and 2 PM on weekdays is usually the best way to avoid crowds. These hours are after the early morning rush and before the after-work surge.

2. Late Afternoons: Another rather tranquil period is from 3 PM to 5 PM on weekdays. Shoppers are generally still at work or preoccupied with other activities, resulting in fewer people in the store.

3. Tuesday to Thursday: These middle-of-the-week days are often less crowded than Mondays or Fridays, as less people do their shopping during these periods.

4. After 7 PM on Weekdays: While not as optimal as mid-morning to early afternoon, shopping after 7 PM can be quieter than the early evening bustle.

Seasonal Considerations

Seasonal variations can affect crowd patterns at Costco. Here’s how different seasons of the year can effect your shopping experience:

Winter Holidays

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s: These holidays are some of the busiest times at Costco. To avoid crowds, try shopping several weeks in advance or during non-peak hours on weekdays.
Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving is extremely chaotic. It’s advisable to avoid Costco totally on this day unless you’re expressly seeking for Black Friday deals.

Spring and Summer

Spring Break: Depending on the local school schedules, there can be greater activity during spring break as families arrange for getaways or staycations.
Summer Months: Families stock up for barbecues, picnics, and vacations. The mid-week technique applies here, with the addition of early weekday mornings being particularly successful.

Back-to-School Season

Late August to Early September
: Families preparing for the new school year lead to higher traffic. Shop throughout weekday mornings or late afternoons to avoid the rush.

Special Costco Shopping Tips

Aside from finding the ideal time to shop, numerous more tactics might enhance your Costco experience:

1. Use the Costco App

The Costco app gives essential information about store hours, deals, and even allows you to build shopping lists. Checking the app before heading out will help you organize your visit more successfully.

2. Check Google Popular Times

Google Maps has a “Popular Times” tool that indicates the busiest hours at specific areas. This real-time data can help you select the optimum time to visit your local Costco.

3. Early Entry for Executive Members

Some Costco locations allow early entry for Executive members. If you have an Executive membership, take advantage of this opportunity to shop with less crowds.

4. Shop Online

If avoiding crowds is a priority, consider purchasing on Costco’s website. Many bulk items and special prices are available online, and you may have them delivered to your home or prepared for pickup.

5. Plan Ahead

Make a shopping list before you go to avoid roaming the aisles and to ensure a speedy and effective journey. Stick to your list to reduce the time spent in the store.

Navigating Costco Efficiently

Efficient navigation throughout the store can also help you avoid crowds and save time:

1. Arrive Early

Being one of the first to enter the store when it opens can considerably cut the time spent in line and navigating busy aisles.

2. Head to the Back First

Many important commodities like milk, eggs, and meat are located near the back of the store. By traveling to the rear first, you may obtain these basics before the crowd creeps in.

3. Avoid Sample Stations

Sample stations can create bottlenecks and slow down your purchasing. If possible, arrange your journey to avoid these locations.

4. Use Self-Checkout

If accessible, self-checkout can be faster than waiting in line for a cashier, especially if you have a lower amount of products.

Knowing Your Store Layout

Familiarizing yourself with your local Costco’s layout will considerably boost your shopping efficiency. Knowing where products are normally stocked means less time wondering and more time getting what you need promptly.


Avoiding crowds at Costco is all about time and planning. By choosing the ideal times to shop and adopting smart shopping strategies, you can make your excursions to Costco more pleasurable and productive. Whether it’s arranging your visit for mid-week mornings or leveraging technology to evaluate store busyness, these suggestions can help you enjoy a more relaxing shopping experience. Remember to plan ahead, buy wisely, and take advantage of quieter periods to maximize the benefits of your Costco membership.
The Best Times to Avoid Crowds at Costco

Previous Post Next Post