Established in 1870, Hickory is a delightful town situated in the American state of North Carolina with a population of nearing 40,000 people. The city is most noted for its oldest furniture shops in the country, and it is an excellent place to buy artisan furniture. Hickory is often called the “Birthplace of NASCAR Stars” as the town is the birthplace of many NASCAR drivers. Lying on the Blue Ridge Mountains, this city is aesthetically very pleasing with sweeping views of the beautiful natural landscape. Lake Hickory also flows through the town and is a hub for recreational activities such as fishing and boating.
Along with the scenic beauty, Hickory is also full of vibrant life and rich culture with several museums, art galleries, history centres, and so much more. The food scene in the town is fantastic as well. You will find barbeques restaurants all over the city that serve delicious barbequed meat, sandwich melts, burgers, steaks, and much more. There is so much to do and see in this city, it’s incredible. Here are 15 of the best places to see and things to do in the charming town of Hickory in North Carolina.
Stroll Around Hickory
Hickory is a beautiful town with stunning architecture and picturesque streets. Hickory is a small town nestled between big cities of Charlotte and Asheville, which makes it the ideal town to explore on foot. Stroll around the city to enjoy its scenic glory. Roam around different streets and neighbourhoods to explore new places that are less famous and more awesome. Try food from different cafes and restaurants while strolling around the town and taste the authentic cuisine of Hickory. Long and peaceful walks in the various streets and boulevards of this splendid city while gazing at its architecture will refresh your mind, body, and soul.
See Fascinating and Wonderful Artwork at Hickory Museum of Art
Situated in Downtown Hickory, Hickory Museum of Art is an art museum that features numerous eclectic exhibitions, displays, events, workshops, educational programs, and more. Its permanent collection showcases the American works of art from the 19th century through the 21st century. The museum also features a long-term exhibition displaying southern contemporary folk art from local self-taught artists. Established in 1944 by Paul Whitener, this art museum is the second oldest museum in the state of North Carolina. The collection of this museum contains over 2000 art pieces and includes glass art, high-speed photography, sculptures, murals, paintings, art pottery, and several other works of local artists. The art pieces are organized and displayed with care and thought. The entry in the museum is free, and you can visit it from 10 am to 4 pm on weekdays. Visit the Hickory Museum of Art to check out the fascinating and beautiful artwork of Hickory.
Take a Guided Tour of the Hickory History Center
Often called “Harper House”, Hickory History Center is a local history museum that showcases the local history of the town with various displays and exhibits in an architecturally stunning historic Victorian house. The museum is in the Craftsman-style home and Queen Anne-style. You can see beautiful furniture, woodwork, and Victorian wallpaper all around the house along with impressive appliances and artefacts in the kitchen. Make sure to take a guided tour of this charming Victorian house. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guides will tell all about the Harper House’s history and significance along with the lovely stories of the families that once lived in this magnificent house and will keep you enthralled all through the tour. The museum is open from 9 in the morning to 4 in the evening, and the admission fee is $10.00 for adults.
Buy Local Produce at Downtown Hickory Farmer’s Market
Hickory’s Farmer’s Market is a seasonal market where several vendors sell local produce of fruits, vegetables, flowers, eggs, cheese, meats, and so much more. Although small, the market is very popular among locals and tourists alike. It is the best place in town to sample the wholesome organic local produce. Along with the produce, you can also sample or eat delicious and fresh loaves of bread, preserves, chocolate teas, pies, bagels, and more mouth-watering treats while enjoying live music and other fun activities. You can also buy gifts, accessories, pottery, handmade cosmetics, and more from this market. The farmer’s market is open from mid-April through the whole of October and operates only on Wednesdays and Saturdays from early morning to early noon. Make sure to spend a morning strolling through the Hickory’s Farmer’s Market and interacting with the locals while eating scrumptious food.
Find Gems at Emerald Hollow Mine
The Emerald Hollow Mine is the sole emerald mine in the whole world that is open for the public to mine. This literal gem of a place allows the visitors to explore the mine and search for their very own precious gems and stones. The visitors can choose from over 60 different varieties of naturally occurring minerals and gemstones including Hiddenite, a very rare gemstone. You can spend hours in this fascinating treasure trove to find gems for you to take home.
Dine and Shop at Union Square
Located in Downtown Hickory, Union Square is the heart of Hickory and has several restaurants, cafes, retail shops, entertainment venues, and much more to keep you busy for easily a few hours. Eat the meals cooked by award-winning chefs at the numerous cafes and restaurants in this area. After eating your heart out, you can peruse through the several shops and outlets and treat yourself to retail therapy. Visit Union Square and enjoy the Downtown experience by eating, drinking, shopping, or just by strolling around in the area gazing.
Enjoy a Picnic and Feed Ducks at Glenn C. Hilton, Jr. Memorial Park
Glenn C. Hilton, Jr. Memorial Park is a lovely memorial garden and an excellent park with playgrounds, multiple trails, a gazebo, canoe launch, horseshoe pits, and more. This well-maintained park is an ideal place where you can enjoy a nice picnic in any of the five picnic shelters. If you are not interested in picnicking, then you can just stroll around in the peaceful and tranquil environment of the garden. Or you can enjoy golding in the 24-hole disc golf course. You can even spot neat birds on the trees if you are lucky. There are tonnes of things to do and places to do here. Make sure to walk on the nature boardwalk paved with woods and feed the little ducks in the nearby Lake Hickory. You can also buy the food to feed the ducks at the feeding stations. Visit Glenn C. Hilton, Jr. Memorial Park to spend enjoying a nice picnic or have some fun kayaking and paddling to Lake Hickory.
Go Hiking or Biking at Bakers Mountain Park
Located at the highest elevation point in Catawba County at 1780 feet, Bakers Mountain Park is the perfect place to go hiking or biking amid the abundant wildlife and plants. This park covers an area of about 200 acres of land, and the mixed land comprises of Mountain Laurel, mature Chestnut Oak, and hardwood forest. There are multiple trails for you to enjoy hiking or biking while being surrounded by scenic greenery all around. Aside from biking or hiking, you can enjoy a picnic in the designated picnic areas with picnic tables. Do not forget to climb to the top and see the breathtakingly beautiful views of Catawba County from the observational platform. Spend an afternoon at the Bakers Mountain Park while gazing at lush nature all around you to relax and rejuvenate.
Revisit the 1800s at Henry River Mill Village
Located only an 11-minute drive away from Hickory, Henry River Mill Village is a quaint and charming textile village in Burke County. This small textile village of the only few such places in the country. The village is more or less unaltered and shows the true craftsmanship of the industrial area of the 1800s. Back in the day, this village used to use waterpower to power the pieces of machinery along with the factories which were then considered to be very advanced. Unfortunately, some parts of the village were burned in a fire in 1977. However, there are still many original and authentic structures, such as a general store and country houses that can be seen today. You can walk around by yourself or take guided tours from well-informed guides that will tell you all about the history of this historic textile village and its surrounding area. Visit the Henry River Mill Village to revisit the 1800s and imagine what life must have been like if you lived at the village in the 19th century.
Learn All About Planes at Hickory Aviation Museum
Situated at the Hickory Regional Airport, Hickory Aviation Museum is an aerospace museum that showcases the history of the golden age of aviation. The museum is kept up to date by regularly adding artefacts and exhibits. That is why the artefacts in the museum range from World War II to the present day. The displays and exhibits include NC natives Bill and George Preddy’s display. Along with displays, the museum also has models for the visitors to see to showcase how much the designs of the aircraft changed to the F-18 Hornet from Wright Flyer. The visitors can learn all about the science behind aeroplanes, step inside old engines, and see the old aviation uniforms. You can take guided tours as well to learn all about the museum and its displays. It is open from Tuesday through Saturday, and the admission is free. Visit the Hickory Aviation Museum to learn about planes and see them up-close.
Go Furniture Shopping at Hickory Furniture Mart
North Carolina and especially Hickory, has a reputation for its beautiful artisanship of stunning furniture and unique pieces. Hickory Furniture Mart is a popular place to buy renowned furniture with its trademark craftsmanship of North Carolina. This shopping mart is the go-to place of a lot of locals to buy their quality furniture without being too heavy on the pocket. You will find some fantastic pieces from the expert craftsmen here at a reasonable cost. Even if you cannot buy furniture, visit the Hickory Furniture Mart to look around and see the beautiful furniture that North Carolina is famous for.
Eat Sandwiches at Hatch Sandwich Bar
Hatch Sandwich Bar is the best place in Hickory to get a sandwich from. It was opened in 2012 and became an instant hit. This place has a relaxed atmosphere with a laid back vibe to enjoy your mouth-watering sandwiches. The restaurant serves excellent food made with fresh ingredients with excellent service. Make sure to try their pulled pork sandwich, grilled cheese sandwich, and local heirloom BLT when you dine at Hatch Sandwich Bar.
Eat Burgers at Olde Hickory Tap Room
Olde Hickory Tap Room is a brewpub that serves authentic American grub and locally brewed beer with live music and bar. They also have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options for the guests to cater to the needs of their broad customer base. If you love beer, then this is the perfect place for you to be; you can choose from the excellent selection that this place offers. This eatery serves delicious food with excellent service. Do not forget to try the burgers (best burgers in town!) and blackened grilled chicken caesar salad.
Grab a Beer at Blowing Rock Brewery
Blowing Rock Brewery is a boutique microbrewery in Hickory that offers delicious craft beers along with appetizers, pub food and wood-fired pizza. This brewery has some of the best pieces of equipment to brew beers in the world! You can take guided tours of the brewery to learn about the process of brewing with some of the best fermenters and kettles. After the tour, make sure to grab your favourite chilled beer and enjoy it with delicious food.
Stay at the Hampton Inn
Hampton Inn is the number one choice of all the travellers to stay in Hickory. This lovely hotel provides various amenities such as outdoor pools, breakfast buffet, fitness centre with a gym, business centre, and much more to make your stay as worthwhile and comfortable as possible. Stay at the Hampton Inn to treat yourself with a wide array of amenities and beautiful spacious suites.
Hickory has more than enough to make you feel like you’re in a great place. What are you waiting for? Visit Hickory and do not forget to tell us your favourite thing from the list and make sure to do all these things when you visit this delightful city.