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).

Mark Byrnes/CityLab

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.

Mark Byrnes/CityLab

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.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    With Trains Like Schwebebahn, No Wonder Germans Love Public Transit

    Infrastructure like this makes it clear why Germany continues to produce enthusiasm for public transit, generation after generation.

  2. Transportation

    You Can’t Design Bike-Friendly Cities Without Considering Race and Class

    Bike equity is a powerful tool for reducing inequality. Too often, cycling infrastructure is tailored only to wealthy white cyclists.

  3. Amazon HQ2

    Without Amazon HQ2, What Happens to Housing in Queens?

    The arrival of the tech company’s new headquarters was set to shake up the borough’s real estate market, driving up rents and spurring displacement. Now what?

  4. Amazon HQ2

    New York’s Ejection of Amazon Is the Start of a Movement

    NYC lawmakers who led a resistance campaign against HQ2 are declaring victory. And already, they have plans to escalate their opposition to tax incentives.

  5. Charts

    The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

    A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live.