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The best times to do your Costco shopping, according to workers and members

Here's when you can avoid Costco crowds

Costco store exterior shot
Juan Llauro / Shutterstock

If you love Costco as much as we do, you probably think there is no bad time to hit up the superstore. But if you’re looking to avoid the rush of people and long lines, there are better times to go than others. As many know, Reddit has a wealth of information about Costco under the subreddit r/Costco, where droves of shoppers log in to ask all sorts of questions — from the best deals to their favorite purchases. One recently asked the question: “What is factually the best time to go to Costco? Weekdays, weekends, sunny, rainy, snowy days?” and the answers do not disappoint.

kids at costco in grocery store
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The best of the best

Of course, it wouldn’t be social media without some entertainment thrown in, and this question got plenty of those responses. The most popular: “When you are craving a hot dog.” While it’s funny, Costco makes headlines for never increasing the price of their hot dog plus soda deal in the 40 years it’s served up the tasty treat (which can be yours for the low price of $1.50). Another happy shopper recently found another good time to go: “Apparently during [the] Super Bowl.” Makes sense.

Person grocery shopping with a Costco membership
dennizn / Shutterstock

The real perfect time

Others answered the question seriously, but it may vary depending on the state and area you live. The most popular answer was Tuesdays at 10 a.m., with many chiming in to agree. One Redditor expanded on the response, adding, “New items arrive and have been stocked, the chaos of the weekend has been cleared, children are in school, so there is less of a risk of running over one with your cart, first samples of the day are being handed out. It’s the best time to shop in the warehouse.”

One Costco employee offered advice about avoiding Costco’s busy hours, adding, “I would say a Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday mid to late afternoon is prime shopping time if you don’t want mad crowds.”

Of course, some said weekdays after the after-work rush, around 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., and while many agreed, they did point out one of the staples of any Costco visit would be missing — the free samples. Others said some of the food items like dairy or fruits/vegetables may also be picked over the later in the day you visit. But, if you can forego a snack-sized chicken burrito or the newest gouda cheese, you may avoid the crowds during this time.

person holding costco receipt
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If you want fewer shoppers and samples

While weekdays before the after-work rush often have the fewest crowds, weekends tend to have the most samples. If you’re looking for a nice middle ground between the two, you may want to visit Costco during the week in the morning. One Redditor shared that the best time to visit Costco is “middle of the week, right at opening.”

While we might recommend arriving thirty minutes to one hour after opening to allow workers to set samples up, you’re more likely to avoid large crowds at this time of day. After all, weekday shopping is often occupied by seniors or parents who just dropped their kids off at school. However, if you value the samples at Costco, you may consider arriving early Saturday or Sunday morning to beat the crowds and snag some tasty treats.

Regardless of what time you visit the stores, you’re sure to find comedy-sized jars of pretzel bites, sheets of chocolate cake, new watch batteries, and a month’s supply of paper towels, all in one convenient location. If you’re making a big shopping trip or need the experience to be a little more peaceful, heading out mid-morning or later in the day during the week seems to be your best bet.

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Julie Scagell
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
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