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Time & Business Hours

Official Travel Information

In the U.S., time is read on a 12-hour clock with a.m. (before noon) and p.m. (after noon). If you are told 8 o'clock, it could mean 08:00 or 20:00. Make sure to ask Americans to specify a.m. or p.m., as most of them are not accustomed to a 24-hour clock.

Time Zones

The United States and its territories operate under the following nine time zones (only four of which apply to the continental U.S.):

  • Atlantic Time (AST) - Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Eastern Standard Time (EST)
  • Central Standard Time (CST)
  • Mountain Standard Time (MST)
  • Pacific Standard Time (PST)
  • Alaska Standard Time (AKST)
  • Hawaii-Aleutian Time (HAST)
  • Samoa Standard Time (SST) - American Samoa, Midway Islands
  • Chamorro Standard Time (ChST) - Guam, Northern Mariana Islands

Daylight Saving Time

The United States utilizes daylight saving time. The adage “spring forward, fall back” applies to daylight saving time. Clocks are set ahead one hour on the second Sunday in March and turned back one hour on the first Sunday of November. Arizona, Hawaii and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands do not follow daylight saving time. 

Business Hours  

Business hours vary greatly across the U.S. Big cities tend to have longer or even 24-hour business openings, while small towns have more limited service hours and increased closures during off-peak times. It is always helpful to check operating hours in advance.

Here are some general business hours in the United States:

Banks:

  • Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Sunday: Closed
  • ATM open 24 hours

Post Offices:

  • Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Shopping Malls

  • Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 

Supermarkets:

  • Daily: 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Some open 24 hours

Convenience Stores:

  • Open: 24 hours or until 12 a.m.; sells food, drinks, toiletries and other necessities

Beauty Salons:

  • Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Sunday-Monday: usually closed 

Bars

  • Daily: 5 p.m.-2 a.m., depending on location