MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There’s plenty to love about Thanksgiving – family, food, football – but if there’s one downside, it’s the traffic.

As people leave their jobs and homes to visit out-of-state relatives or return to their hometowns, highways across the nation clog like your arteries after the Turkey Day meal.

Luckily, this year Google has you covered. The search engine released a new tool that uses data from Google Maps to identify trends over the Thanksgiving holiday – including traffic.

According to Google, the worst time to leave Minneapolis is Wednesday at 4 p.m. This makes sense – it’s the day before Thanksgiving right around when people are getting off work.

The best time to leave? Thanksgiving Day, 5 a.m.

And for your return trip, Google says to avoid coming home at 3 p.m. Friday. They recommend leaving 11 hours earlier, at 4 a.m.

Other interesting insights from Google’s new tool:

  • On Wednesday around noon, searches for “Ham Shop” spike nationwide. You’re probably wondering what a ham shop is – well, so are we.
  • In Minneapolis, the most uniquely popular search in the food and drink category on Black Friday is “Brewery.”
  • The most uniquely popular entertainment search for the overall holiday (Wednesday to Friday) is “Ice Skating Rink.” On Thanksgiving, it’s “Movie Theater.”
  • Here are the most-searched shopping destinations in Minneapolis on Black Friday: Clothing stores, followed by department stores, then electronics stores and finally home improvement stores.

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