Aria Bendix is a frequent contributor to The Atlantic, and a former editorial fellow at CityLab. Her work has appeared on Bustle and The Harvard Crimson.
Turns out, leftovers aren’t big priorities on Thanksgiving Day. Hookah bars and beauty salons are.
As Thanksgiving Day approaches, it’s safe assume that most Americans have pie and mashed potatoes on their minds. But a recent project from Google Maps says otherwise. After looking at the most popular Thanksgiving search terms over the past three years, the site found that many Americans were interested in some pretty odd subjects around Thanksgiving time.
The day before Thanksgiving, for instance, Americans weren’t interested in holiday favorites like stuffing or gravy. (Or even how to deep fry a turkey.) Instead, the trending destination was a “ham shop.” In second place was a less surprising term: “pie shop,” followed by “liquor store.” Based on this data, it would seem that most Americans have made booze a priority over more traditional holiday treats (we do have to withstand an entire day with our relatives, after all).
It would also appear that fewer Americans are cooking on Thanksgiving than one might expect. Surprisingly, the top trending term across America on Thanksgiving Day was “buffet restaurant.”
Once Black Friday arrived, Americans’ favorite search terms were more predictable. The majority of Americans were looking to find electronics stores, outlet malls, and Christmas tree farms.
But these Thanksgiving search terms also varied depending on where people were located in the U.S.
In Houston, people were most interested in finding doughnut shops on Thanksgiving Day, because nothing kicks off a day of gorging yourself like a deep-fried ring of sugary goodness. Over in Detroit, residents were on also on the lookout for some added calories: “hamburgers” was the city’s number one search term.
In other cities, people were less interested in food and more interested in finding a kooky destination to spend the holiday. In New York City, residents were on the hunt for tattoo shops to permanently commemorate their Thanksgiving. And in L.A., Angelenos were searching for hookah bars.
In Miami, looking good for the holidays seemed to be the top priority: Their most popular search term was “beauty salons.” And finally, in Chicago, the surprisingly popular trend of boozing on Thanksgiving re-appeared once more: Most Chicago residents were looking to spend their day in bars.
Whether or not the majority of Americans are actually frequenting hamburger joints and tattoo shops on Thanksgiving Day, these search terms prove that each city has its own unorthodox Thanksgiving Day rituals.
While there’s nothing more timeless than stuffing yourself to the brim with cranberry sauce and candied yams, tradition won’t stop urbanites from having a burger and a doughnut, too.