Things to do in Hickory
Hickory is a city with a vibe of a small cozy town and a population of 40,000 people in Catawba County of eastern North Carolina. This town is between Charlotte and Asheville, along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Known as the birthplace of NASCAR drivers, This place has a rich Southern charm and heritage in furniture manufacturing.
Visitors can indulge in numerous interesting, historical places for activities in nature, ultimate shopping experiences, and delicious food from local markets. Read on this article for some adventure in your itinerary of Hickory, North Carolina.
1. Hickory Museum of Art
Art lovers and enthusiasts can not miss this most popular attraction of Hickory. The Museum of Art, as the name suggests, is a beautiful museum space downtown of the city. The museum is famous for holding numerous exhibits, events, and public programs hosted by many local or nationally recognized artists throughout the year.
The museum’s permanent exhibit is a collection of art from the 19th and 20th-century. The main focus of the museum is on its long-term exhibit of Southern contemporary folk art. Hickory Science Center is right beside Hickory Museum of Art, so right after soaking some art, you can also satisfy your scientific curiosity in one day.
Address: 243 Third Avenue NE, Hickory, NC 28601
Website: Hickory Museum of Art
2. Hickory History Center
The Hickory History Center, also known as Harper House popularly, is another museum where history buffs can revisit the city’s history. It is a house museum that accounts for the familial history of the numerous families who once lived here. The museum has undergone reconstruction, and now it displays the home and decorations of Victorian times meticulously. Some of these furnishings and artifacts are initially from the era. Options of both guided tours and solo explorations of the museum are available to the visitors. Lyerly House is another popular attraction. It is right next to the History Center. History lovers and curious travelers should make sure to stop by this place also.
Address: 310 N. Center Street, Hickory NC 28601
Website: Hickory History Center
3. Bakers Mountain Park – Catawba County
Nature lovers are in for a treat at this popular attraction of Hickory. Bakers Mountain Park is a beautiful piece of paradise in Catawba County’s highest elevation point. This is a place where adventure lovers dream of going on a hike. Soak in the abundance of wildlife here at Bakers Mountain Park. The park has a large area of nearly 200 acres. The vegetation present here is of mixed hardwood forest. It is rich in trees like Chestnut Oak, Mountain Laurel, etc.
The park has plenty of recreational opportunities that will keep its visitors busy all day long. Visit with your family here and have a picnic in the lap of nature. If you are feeling more adventurous, climb to the top of the mountain to treat yourself to some stunning views of the Catawba Valley from a high observation point.
Address: 6680 Bakers Mountain Road, Hickory, NC 28602
Website: Bakers Mountain Park
4. Downtown Hickory Farmers Market
The Downtown Hickory Farmers Market is a small but popular market between both locals and visitors. The vendors line the market where they sell pure daily goods like honey, eggs, cheese, meats, etc. The unique finds of this market include mountain trout, preserves, and herbs. So make your afternoon eventful by casually strolling and picking up a few bargains in the market.
Address: Union Square, Hickory, NC 28601, United States
Website: Downtown Hickory Farmers Market
5. Union Square
Situated in downtown Hickory, Union Square is the heart of the city. The square boasts numerous restaurants and cafes. It also has a peaceful outdoor seating area where you can wine and dine with the person of your interest, or take yourself out on a solo date while watching people. The place also hosts live music during the summer months. After having your share of food and drinks, you can also indulge in some shopping here.
Address: Union Square NW, Hickory, NC 28601, United States
Website: Union Square
6. Emerald Hollow Mine
Emerald Hollow Mine is literally a gem of nature in the pretty foothills of the Brushy Mountains. You can go on a very short expedition searching for your own precious stones here. The mine is rich in more than 60 varieties of naturally occurring gems and minerals including the very rare gemstone, Hiddenite. It is one of the rare and quirky experiences that you’ll have in Hickory, NC so makes sure you spend a few hours in this treasure trove to take some gems home with you.
Address: 484 Emerald Hollow Mine Drive, Hiddenite, NC 28636
Website: Emerald Hollow Mine
7. Hickory Aviation Museum
Hickory Aviation Museum is another popular attraction where you can indulge in some fun and appreciate aviation history. Aerospace enthusiasts are in for a treat here as they can find interesting facts about exhibits, artifacts, and pieces from the Golden Age of Aviation. You can also get a chance of sitting in some of the old air-planes.
The location of the museum also speaks about aerospace history as it is located in a former airport that has a terminal and the hangar as outdoor exhibits.
Address: 3101 9th Avenue Drive NW, Hickory, NC 28601
Website: Hickory Aviation Museum
8. Glenn C. Hilton Jr. Memorial Park
Glenn C. Hilton Jr. Memorial Park is a well-maintained city memorial garden. It is an oasis of lovely green ambiance where you can have a peaceful walk away from the hustle-bustle of the city. Visitors can also have a small picnic here. The boardwalk here is popular for being manageable, well-lit, and paved. Visitors can feed ducks, do some photography and play with kids in the playgrounds.
The park also has a 24-hole disc golf course. The golf course provides a different experience to the golfers as it is designed in the woods. One can soak in the sights of the hills while having a round of a challenging game!
Address: 1451 8th Street Drive NE, Hickory, NC 28601
Website: Glenn C. Hilton, Jr. Memorial Park
9. Maple Grove
The Maple Grove is an Italian delight and it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is an Italian farmhouse that was built in 1883. It is now a restored house museum. The property belongs to an original family member who was one of the founders of the historic Hickory Tavern.
Maple Grove is one of the oldest buildings in Hickory. History enthusiasts can visit this place to travel back in the mid-1890s. The museum is furnished with original family furnishings and items.
Address: 542 2nd St., N.E. (Hwy. 127N), Hickory, NC 28601
Website: Maple Grove
10. Catawba Science Center
For people who are traveling with their families and have kids, visiting Catawba Science Center will be fun for the whole family. The science center has an array of interactive activities and exhibits that are designed to make visitors curious about the wonders of science. These exhibits cover disciplines from biology to physics.
Exhibits of live animals like Seymour the giant tortoise are highlights of this place. Many simulated habitats, physical experiments, and exhibits of fossils, scientific replicas, informative signs, and touch screens will be an impressive experience for the kids. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
The center also hosts many programs like STEM trek from time to time. You can visit their website (given below) for more information about such programs at the time of your visit.
Address: 243 3rd Ave NE, Hickory, NC 28601, United States
Website: Catawba Science Center
11. Geitner Park
Looking for a site where you can have a laid-back day or an idyllic weekend together with your family? Geitner Park is the place for you. The place is blessed with lots of outdoor recreational activities. A visit to this park will make up for a fun but relaxing afternoon. Visitors here can indulge in hiking, fishing, picnic, bird watching, photography, etc. You can also have a peaceful walk along the nature trails or do boating in calm blue waters.
Address: 2035 12th St Dr. NW, Hickory, NC 28601, United States
Website: Geitner Park
12. Lake Hickory Haunts
This place will offer an unusual experience and a different side of Hickory. People who collect creepy and spooky stories and experiences should visit Lake Hickory Haunts. It is a one-of-a-kind attraction that involves a 45 minutes long tour. If you’re visiting Hickory with your friends or traveling solo, this is a must-hair-raising and thrilling experience to have. Lake Hickory Haunts is very popular, so it is better to make reservations in advance.
So don’t wait for Halloween to have your share of trick or treat and visit Lake Hickory Haunts next time you visit Hickory, NC.
Address: 520 Carolina Ave, Connelly Springs, NC 28601, United States
Website: Lake Hickory Haunts
13. Henry River Mill Village
The Henry River Mill Village is one of the few places in the United States that offers an unabridged experience of the industrial era from the 1800s. The village pioneered the use of waterpower. The parts of the Henry River Mill Village were burned down in 1977 but still, numerous original structures are still on display here. It exhibits country houses, a general store, etc. Guided tours of the village are available. One of the popular tour packages involves touring the area at night to tell you the stories of local ghosts.
Address: 4255 Henry River Rd Hickory, NC 28602, United States
Website: Henry River Mill Village
14. Hickory Crawdads – L.P. Frans Stadium
Sports lovers can have a relaxing time here at Hickory Crawdads – L.P. Frans Stadium. It was built in 1993. The stadium is home to the local minor league baseball team known as Hickory Crawdads. The stadium can host over 4,000 people. It has a list of cafes and eateries so recharge your energy and grab some snacks. There is also a large LED scoreboard.
The stadium has already hosted numerous major baseball tournaments, including the South Atlantic League Finals. Make sure to check their website to know about the events being hosted here at the time of your visit.
Address: 2500 Clement Blvd NW Hickory, NC 2860, United States
15. Hickory Furniture Mart
As it has been established already, Hickory is known as the furniture capital. So visiting its world-famous market is a must if you find yourself in Hickory. This massive, four-storied store will be a dream come true for furniture enthusiasts. Here you can find furniture in every permutation and combination of style, brand, model, and design palette that you can think of.
From wooden mahogany tables with intricate craftsmanship to luxurious leather and fur couches to comfortable sofas, this place is a must-visit if you are planning to redesign your abode. The staff here is also incredibly warm and knowledgeable. They even have an interior design firm that will help in planning your space according to your aesthetics.
Once you’re done with browsing the market, stop by at one of the two cafes located inside the building, namely, Taste Full Beans and The Wooden Spool. These cafes serve premium coffee and delicious snacks.
The market opens daily from 9 am to 6 pm, but it is closed on Sundays.
Address: 2220 US Hwy 70 SE, Hickory, NC 28602, United States
Website: Hickory Furniture Mart
Places to stay in Hickory, NC-
If you are visiting Hickory for the first time and you are unfamiliar with hotels for your trip to Hickory, below is the list of some top-rated places to stay in Hickory:
Hilton Garden Inn
Courtyard by Marriott
AirBnBs and rentals to stay in Hickory can be found here.
Places to eat and drink in Hickory, NC-
(i) Hatch Sandwich Bar
Satisfy your cravings for food from a local restaurant with a small-town vibe. Hatch Sandwich Bar serves the most palatable sandwiches. They have a large menu of guaranteed delicious food with gluten-free bread options. They even have a huge assortment of beers and drinks along with local wines. Visitors who have been here recommended brussels sprouts side dish here a lot. So stop by here for a late brunch of sandwiches or sides and drinks for yourself.
It is closed on Sunday. They also offer no-contact delivery.
Address: 268 1st Ave NW, Hickory, NC 28601, United States
Website: Hatch Sandwich Bar
(ii) Backstreets Bar and Grill
A former barbecue grill restaurant, Backstreets Bar and Grill opened in 1996. It offers a large menu of hand-cut steaks, hamburgers, salads, homemade pasta, pizza, etc., along with an assortment of a variety of beers and wines. They even have an array of sports and bar memorabilia hanging on their walls where you can click a perfect picture for your Instagram.
Address: 246 14th Ave NE Hickory, NC 28601, United States
Website: Backstreets Bar and Grill
(iii) Blowing Rock Brewery
One of the most popular dining places in Hickory, NC is Blowing Rock Brewery. This place was created with the purpose of teaching people about the art of craft beer. It is a boutique brewery with the best brewing equipment like high-quality fermentors and kettles in the world. Visitors can enjoy guided tours as well as tasting rounds of the brewery’s magnum opus creations with their creative combinations. They also have an inn facility for their guests here at the Blowing Rock Brewery and offer cozy rooms.
Address: 883 Highland Avenue SE Hickory, NC 28602, United States
Website: Blowing Rock Brewery
Hope our list of best things to do in Hickory, NC will help you in planning your next weekend getaway. Make sure to check out the best things to do in Charlotte, NC which is just an hour of drive away from Hickory.