Here’s something else that the pandemic gets the blame for impacting: the number of stores, restaurants and gas stations in the United States that are open 24 hours a day.
Remember back to spring of 2020, when stores deemed to be essential to purchase things such as food and medicine stayed open, but with vastly reduced hours? Walmart shifted from stores open 24/7 to limited hours, opening each morning and shutting the doors around the bedtime of most people. Other grocery and convenience stores followed suit, and that left essential workers with odd hours who once shopped in the middle of the night to juggle how they purchased goods.
And not all retailers have snapped back to their old hours, considering both the ongoing health concerns and a worker shortage. Still, in your area, you probably can find at least a few locations open 24/7 to meet your needs.
24-Hour Stores Near Me
From restaurants to gas stations, chances are there’s something open near you. The easiest way to find it is Google Maps.
The Beginning of 24/7 Hours
The innovator of the 24-hour-a-day store is 7-Eleven, which traces its roots to the Southland Ice Company, which sold ice from docks in Dallas and San Antonio in the late 1920s. The ice retail stores later began staying open longer hours and selling grocery goods. In 1946, the growing chain of stores came to be called 7-Eleven to mirror their operating hours: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
In 1963, a 7-Eleven store near an Austin, Texas, university began to stay open all night for student shoppers. It was such a success that other stores in the chain adopted the 24/7 hours, and other companies eventually followed suit.
Today, most 7-Elevens are open 24 hours a day, according to the company.
No Quick Return
Walmart was among the stores to expand its hours to following 7-Eleven’s lead eventually, keeping some of its stores open all night. And it was among the first to adjust its hours of operation across the country after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
In mid-March 2020, Walmart changed its operating hours to 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at any store than operated outside those parameters. That changed allowed Walmart employees to restock the shelves, as well as to clean and sanitize the stores for employee and customer safety.
Walmart has yet to resume 24-hour operations, and in August 2022, the nation’s largest retailer had to dispel an internet rumor that its old hours were coming back.
“There are no plans at this time to return our Walmart stores to 24-hour-a-day operations,” Walmart spokesperson Charles Crowson told USA Today via email on Aug. 11.
Just two weeks earlier, Walmart had tweeted the same message.
Challenges for 24/7 Operations
The Denny’s restaurant chain used to be known for never locking its doors, but the pandemic changed that. As of January, only 50% of Denny’s 640 restaurants in the United States were open full-time, Restaurant Business reported. At that point, about 2% of the company’s restaurants were reopening per month.
“I would like to say that we could move beyond this 2% trend that we’ve experienced for the last six to eight months, but it’s just probably too early to quote that,” Denny’s CFO Robert Verostek told analysts in February, per Restaurant Business.
A big part of the reopening challenge came with finding staffing. The restaurants that had limited hours only had 80% of their pre-pandemic numbers, Restaurant Business reported.
Who are the people who shop or dine or buy gas in the middle of the night? It could be any of us.
Night-shift workers who leave work at 4 a.m. and need to stop to buy peanut butter, jelly and bread for the kids’ lunch, or enough gas to get home. Moms or dads who realize they’ve run out of diapers. You have an illness requiring over-the-counter medications. Travelers who want breakfast before hitting the road early in the morning.
With a world constantly on the go, and minor emergencies that are bound to happen, we all at one time or another need access to a good or service after regular hours.
Stores Near Me
So you ask yourself, “What Stores Are Open Near Me?” Answering that isn’t as easy as it was just a few years ago. Of the 40 supermarkets, drugstores, convenience stores, restaurants and gas stations listed, not every location is open 24 hours.
Grocery Stores Open 24 Hours
Cub: The Minnesota-based grocery chain has some locations open 24 hours.
Giant Eagle: With about 230 grocery locations in Indiana, Ohio, western Pennsylvania, north central West Virginia and Maryland, this grocery store keeps some stores open 24 hours.
WinCo Foods: Most WinCo Foods locations are open 24 hours. You’ll find WinCo in the Pacific Northwest, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Montana, Texas and Oklahoma.
Woodman’s Market: The grocery chain has 19 locations in Illinois and Wisconsin. Some are open 24 hours.
Convenience Stores and Gas Stations Open 24 Hours
At least two dozen convenience store chains across the country can fulfill the fuel and food needs of everyone from travelers to night-shift workers. Not every location in every chain is open 24 hours a day.
BP: There are about 7,000 BP locations in the eastern half of the country, plus Southern California.
Casey’s: The Iowa-based chain has more 2,400 stores in 16 states in the Midwest and South.
Chevron/Texaco: Chevron products are sold in more than 8,000 Chevron and Texaco stations coast to coast.
Circle K: Circle K boasts roughly 7,000 convenience stores in 47 states.
Conoco: Conoco operates nationwide.
Cumberland Farms: This Northeast-based convenience store has about 500 locations in eight states.
Exxon Mobil: The industry giant has more than 10,000 fuel stations across the United States.
GetGo: Part of the Giant Eagle chain, GetGo has 178 fuel and convenience stores in Indiana, Ohio, western Pennsylvania, north central West Virginia and Maryland.
Huck’s Market: Food and fuel both are available at Huck’s Market, which has more than 120 convenience stores in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee.
Kum & Go: Stop into Kum & Go’s 430 stores, spread across the country — many of them open 24 hours — for gas or dinner. On Friday, pizza is buy one, get one free for rewards members.
Kwik Trip/Kwik Star: The convenience store/fuel stop has more than 800 stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.
Love’s Travel Stops: Love’s has about 600 travel center stores in 42 states that sell gas, diesel and compressed natural gas, along with snacks, restaurant offerings and more.
Marathon: The Ohio-based company has about 6,000 stations and convenience stores in the U.S., with most of them in the Midwest.
Phillips 66: You’ll find Phillips 66 stations in more than 20 states.
Pilot Flying J: The company says is North America’s largest operator of travel centers, with more than 750 in 44 states and six provinces in Canada. It offers food and fuel, but also showers and parking to those who make their living on the road.
7-Eleven: Almost all of the 14,000 7-Eleven stores are open 24 hours.
Sheetz: Fill up at family-owned and operated Sheetz, then go inside to grab a special-order sandwich or salad. Forbes reports that Sheetz has more than 630 convenience stores in six states: Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
Sinclair Oil: More than 1,600 independent Sinclair-branded stations are spread across 30 states.
Speedway: Speedway has about 3,900 stores in 39 states, making it the second-largest company-owned and operated convenience store chain in the U.S.
Sunoco: The company has more than 5,200 stations across the country.
Thorntons: Thorntons has more than 200 travel centers in six states: Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.
Turkey Hill Minit Markets: You can find Turkey Hill Minit Markets in more than 270 locations in in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Valero: Valero supplies gas to more than 7,000 stations and convenience stores.
Wawa: You’ll find Wawa stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C.
Pharmacies Open 24 Hours
According to Statista, the 10 largest drugstore chains by sales volume have about 37,500 locations across the country — and that doesn’t count all of the independent pharmacies. You never know when you’ll need a 24-hour drugstore for prescription or over-the-counter drugs, baby needs and more.
These stores have some locations open 24 hours, but most of the stores in each chain have more traditional hours.
CVS: Statista reports that CVS has about 10,000 pharmacies in the U.S.
Rite-Aid: Rite Aid has more than 2,450 pharmacies across 19 states.
Walgreens: The chain operates in all 50 states, plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens has about 9,000 locations.
Restaurants Open 24 Hours
A 24-hour restaurant certainly helps you handle your hunger when you’re just getting off work, on your way to the early shift, cramming for a test or traveling cross-country. What are some chains that offer 24-hour-a-day service? Remember that, unless otherwise noted, not every restaurant location is open all the time.
Carl’s Jr.: West Coast burger chain Carl’s Jr. has more than 1,000 locations in the United States. Some are open all day.
Denny’s: The pandemic forced many Denny’s to reduce their 24-hour-a-day staffing. Slowly, they are extending their hours to 24/7, Restaurant Business reported.
Dunkin’: The familiar hot pink and orange signage of Dunkin’ graces 8,500 locations across 41 states. Some of them never close.
Jack in the Box: If you’ve got a craving for a Sourdough Jack in the middle of the night, Jack in the Box has some locations with a 24/7 drive-thru. As of last year, the chain had more than 2,200 restaurants in 21 states and Guam, with an aggressive plan to expand, QSR magazine reported.
IHOP: Pancake craving at 2 a.m.? IHOP has about 1,650 locations in the United States, according to Statista. Some of them stay open 24 hours a day.
McDonald’s: According to USA Today, McDonald’s has about 13,500 restaurants and is located in all 50 states. Chances are there is a 24-hour store near you.
Starbucks: Need a pick-me-up to get through the night shift? Many Starbucks locations are open 24/7. Starbucks has 34,000 shops around the world.
Waffle House: Founded in 1955 with a single location in Avondale Estates, Georgia, Waffle House now has more than 1,900 locations in 25 states, all open 24 hours a day, every day, according to the restaurant’s website.
Whataburger: How good does a Whataburger Patty Melt sound right now? The chain has about 800 restaurants — many of them with at least 24/7 drive-thru service — in 14 states.
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Hours are subject to change and may vary by branch. Information is accurate as of Sept. 27, 2022.
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- Statista. "Statista."
- USA Today. 2022. "Number of McDonald's locations in the United States, North America and world in 2022."
- QSR Magazine. 2021. "Jack in the Box Begins the Journey to 6,000 Locations."
- Restaurant Business. 2022. "DENNY’S FORTUNES HINGE ON TWO NUMBERS: 24/7."
- Forbes. "Sheetz | Company Overview & News."
- Texas State Historical Association. "Southland Corporation."
- USA Today. 2022. "Fact check: Walmart has no plans for immediate return to 24-hour operations."