Alana Vandagriff | 

The Perfect Time to Go to Costco (To Avoid the Crowds)

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Heading into Costco can often feel like stepping into a boxing ring, especially when it's crowded. Packed aisles, long checkout lines, busy parking lots, and that last coveted rotisserie chicken — it's almost enough to make you wonder if a Costco membership is worth it. But navigating the store doesn't have to feel like a survival challenge. You just need to learn the best time to go to Costco.

By avoiding Costco busy hours, you can transform your visit from a frantic dash to a calm and collected outing. And the timing of your trip really does matter, since Costco doesn't offer early access for Executive members, and they don't have a Costco employee benefit to get you in the door early.

Whether you're a seasoned shopper or a newbie looking to get the most of your Costco membership, study these tips for the best time to shop at Costco.

For more smart shopping tips and savings hacks, download the KCL app or text HACKS to 57299.

What day and time is best to shop at Costco?

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We reviewed Google Maps data and polled our KCL deal hunters (who are in Costco stores every single week) to identify trends shared across Costco locations. Generally speaking, the best day and time to shop at Costco is in the middle of the week, about an hour before they close.

And if you're looking for the absolute best day to go to Costco, aim for Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. That's because stores usually close at 8:30 p.m., so it's generally nice and quiet in the final shopping hour in the middle of the week.

If you're up with the sunrise and need an early trip, go to Costco as soon as they open on weekdays (at most locations, that's 10 a.m.). Everything's just been restocked, and the crowd is still pretty thin.

KCL TIP: If you’re looking for the best time to go to Costco for samples, then the weekends are the winner. On the weekends, you'll find more free samples up for grabs, and they're available for longer stretches of time, too.

What are Costco's busiest hours?

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Costco busy hours are always on the weekends, with Sunday being the busiest day of the week at Costco, by far. I don't recommend going on Mondays either because it can get a bit hectic with employees restocking after the busy weekend crowd.

But if you absolutely have to shop on the weekends, get there right when they open or before they close. Midday, especially on Saturdays, is just crazy busy, especially because of the free samples and the food court.

KCL TIP: If you need to make a Costco return, just know that the return line is extra long first thing in the morning. With the awesome Costco price adjustment policy, it's no shocker that people are there utilizing it.

When should you go to Costco for gas?

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Costco's gas hours are different than the stores' hours. They generally open the gas stations earlier than the stores (around 6 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends) — and they close the pumps a little later, too (9 p.m. on weekdays and 7 p.m. on weekends).

The best time to go to Costco for gas is between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Since we found that Costco gas prices tend to be the lowest on Mondays, I’d say the perfect day is Monday at 7 a.m. And at all costs, avoid the gas pumps on the weekends unless you want to wait in long lines.

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