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Avoid the traffic: When to shop during the holiday season, according to Google Maps

(Pexels)

Though Austin's temperate weather may not show it, the holiday season is right around the corner. Black Friday may have been awash in 2020 but now, it's time to prepare for the city's comeback traffic.

Google Maps' wealth of information narrows down the best and worst times to do your holiday duties.


This year, some of the top-searched attractions include the Museum of Weird, the Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Thinkery and the Austin Aquarium, so expect lines over the holidays. Depending on where you're coming from, you might hit high traffic at the most-crowded intersection of Burnet Road and S. Lamar Blvd.

If you're ordering takeout for the holidays (we won't tell), try ordering anything other than Chinese food on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve for the fastest service. On Jan. 1, Chinese food is greenlit since Mexican is the most popular option of the New Year.

As we roll into such a busy time of year, stay one step ahead of the traffic with these insights.

Bakeries

Whichever bakery is your favorite in the city, stay away from it on Sunday afternoons. Google Maps found that bakeries are at their busiest at 3 p.m. on Sundays, though you might want to steer clear on Saturdays too for good measure. Head to the bakery around 2 p.m. on Fridays for the shortest wait.

Bars

Surprisingly, the busiest time of the week for bars isn't on Friday or Saturday nights. Instead, bars are at their most busy at midnight on Sundays and the least busy time clocks in at 7 p.m. on Saturdays. You can get to bars early, avoid having to fight for a drink and stay until dawn, or leave as the crowd trickles in.

Department stores and outlets

The dreaded holiday shopping season is nigh, so start shopping early for the best bet on avoiding crowds. The best and worst shopping times fall on Saturdays: most crowds flock to shop in the mid-afternoon around 2 p.m. but will have died down by 6 p.m.

Grocery stores

Your best bet is to avoid grocery stores like the plague on days leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, but if you must, avoid Sunday afternoons. The best time to get your grub is Saturday evenings, specifically around 5 p.m.

Hair and nail salons

While a day at the spa sounds nice, an evening at the spa will prove more tranquil. Getting your hair and nails done after 11 a.m. on Saturday will result in the longest wait. Wait until 5 p.m. and the salon will have emptied out.

Movie theaters

A Friday night at the movies is a classic way to spend your weekend but according to Google, 8 p.m. at the start of the weekend is the busiest time to go. Movie theaters are at their emptiest at 3 p.m. on Saturday—if you can stand seeing a movie in the daytime.

Post offices

For those of us with family and friends outside the great state of Texas, the holiday season is the busiest time of year for our USPS friends. A very narrow window separates the post offices' busiest from least busy: Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively. Opt for later if you can!

Restaurants

Restaurants tend to be busiest at—you guessed it—dinnertime, so if you want to avoid the rush, sneak in just a few minutes early. Restaurants hit their busiest time at 7 p.m. on Fridays, meaning arriving at 5 p.m. makes all the difference.


Take that, traffic!

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Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

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Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

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Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway