Hickory is located on the eastern edge of North Carolina. It was named by Henry Robinson, the man who founded the city, after a hickory tree he built a tavern under. During the 1940s, Hickory was the site of one of the worst polio outbreaks in the United States. The city is known for being home to some of the oldest furniture stores in the United States. It’s also the birthplace of many iconic NASCAR drivers earning it the nickname of “Birthplace of NASCAR Stars”. Hickory is about an hour away from Charlotte and features numerous art shops, parks, and barbecue joints.
1.Henry River Mill Village
The Henry River Mill Village is one of the last places in the country that shows an unaltered industrial area from the 1800s. The village used waterpower to run its factories, something which was considered very high-tech back in the day. While parts of the village were burned during a fire in 1977, many original structures can still be seen today, such as country houses and a general store. Tours are available of the village, including one that will take you through the area at night while telling you of local ghost stories.
4255 Henry River Rd Hickory, North Carolina 28602, Phone: 828-471-4768
2.Hickory Crawdads - L.P. Frans Stadium
© Terrance Emerson/stock.adobe.com
Built in 1993, the Hickory Crawdads / L.P. Frans Stadium is home to the Hickory Crawdads, the local minor league baseball team. It was named after a local Pepsi manufacturer who helped to fund the stadium’s construction. The L.P. Frans Stadium has over 4,000 seats and a handful of cafes and eateries to grab some snacks at. After a recent renovation, the structure now has a large LED scoreboard and massive dugouts. The stadium has hosted a handful of major baseball tournaments throughout the years, including the South Atlantic League Finals.
2500 Clement Blvd NW Hickory, North Carolina 2860, Phone: 828-322-3000
3.Catawba Science Center
The Catawba Science Center opened in 1975 and is housed inside an old Victorian building. The science center is designed to teach visitors more behind various science fields and includes numerous exhibits and classes to help do so. The Catawba Science Center has a planetarium that plays laser light shows and guided constellation lectures. It also has a large aquarium filled with different marine species. When you’re done exploring the science center, you can stop by its gift shop which sells unique merchandise such as freeze-dried ice cream and puzzles.
243 3rd Ave NE Hickory, North Carolina 28601, Phone: 828-322-8169
4.Hickory Aviation Museum
© Terrance Emerson/stock.adobe.com
The Hickory Aviation Museum holds hundreds of aviation artifacts from World War II to modern-day, including plane models such as The F-18 Hornet and Wright Flyer. While here, you can step inside old engines, learn the science behind how airplanes fly, and view aviation uniforms. In addition to many exhibits inside, the museum also has a Wall of Honor which honors local veterans. The museum offers guided tours and holds various events during the year, such as HAM radio meetings. Admission is free.
3101 9th Avenue Drive NW Hickory, North Carolina 28601, Phone: 828-323-1963
5.Hickory Museum of Art
This art museum holds a vast collection of art from the 19th-21st centuries. The Hickory Museum of Art has numerous traveling exhibits which range from travel photography to behind-the-scenes views of artists at work. The museum additionally holds an impressive collection of folk art which it has dedicated its third floor to. Visitors can also attend one of the many art classes held here, including an introduction to ceramic pottery and abstract painting. The Hickory Museum of Art has an art shop which sells works by local artists.
243 Third Ave NE Hickory, North Carolina 28601, Phone: 828-327-8576
6.Harper House/ Hickory History Center
The Harper House, which was once a prominent family’s home, now serves as the Hickory History Center. Featuring a beautiful display of Queen Anne-style architecture, the home takes guests back in time to the 1800s. While here, you’ll be able to view stained glass windows, twirling staircases, and even a tower built into the top of the house. The home also has a few exhibits inside which hold items such as vintage jewelry, silverware, and clothing. The center is open from Thursday to Saturday and offers a few guided tours throughout the day.
310 N. Center Street Hickory, North Carolina 28601, Phone: 828-324-7294
Maple Grove, a farmhouse built in 1883, was the home of the Shuford family who helped found the city of Hickory. The home is preserved to look exactly as it did during the 1800s and is considered to be one of the oldest homes in the area. Guests to Maple Grove can step inside its various rooms, including bedrooms, a parlor, and kitchen. Each room also contains family heirlooms which range from clothing to furniture. The home is open from Monday to Friday and guided tours are available by appointment.
542 Second Street NE Hickory, North Carolina 28601, Phone: 828-322-4731
8.Blowing Rock Brewery
Founded in 2007, Blowing Rock Brewery is designed to help teach others more about the art of craft beer and some of the best ways to enjoy it. This boutique brewery features some of the best brewing equipment in the world, including high-quality fermentors and kettles. Guided tours are available of the facility as well as tastings of the brewery’s top creations which are known for their creative combinations. Blowing Rock Brewery also operates as an inn which has a handful of quaint rooms guests can book.
883 Highland Avenue SE Hickory, North Carolina 28602, Phone: 828-855-9999
9.Backstreets Bar and Grill
© Backstreets Bar and Grill
Backstreets Bar and Grill first opened in 1996 in what was once a former barbecue restaurant. Eventually, the company relocated to a building a few feet away from its original location, but has remained an important fixture in the community. This bar and grill offers a vast menu which includes hamburgers, salads, hand-cut steaks, and homemade pasta and pizza. Diners will also find the bar well-stocked with a variety of beers and wines. Besides its dishes and drinks, Backstreets Bar and Grill has a unique assortment of sports and bar memorabilia hanging on its walls.
246 14th Ave NE Hickory, North Carolina 28601, Phone: 828-328-6479
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Shell’s Bar-B-Q is situated inside an old 1950s diner that is covered in shiny metal and flashing red neon lights. The diner displays nostalgic items from the 1950s-60s, such as vintage cars and posters. Its menu reflects favorite dishes from the past, like country-style steak, sandwich melts, and fresh barbecue. Customers can also enjoy classic sweet treats, like banana splits and ice cream sundaes. Shell’s Bar-B-Q offers a picnic pack which includes everything you need for a day out in the county. Patrons can sit inside the diner to eat or use its drive-thru.
2609 Springs Rd Hickory, North Carolina 28601, Phone: 828-256-2275
11.Sam's Hot Dog Stand
Sam’s Hot Dog Stand was created in 1983 in West Virginia. The business soon became very popular and expanded to have a stand in the area. This hot dog stand sells 100% beef hot dogs and allows you to create your own special hot dog topping combinations. In addition to hot dogs, the stand also serves hand-cut fries, homemade milkshakes and ice cream, fresh coleslaw, and its top-secret chili sauce. Customers will be able to easily find the stand thanks to its vibrant red and green roof.
P.O. Box 539, Waynesboro, Virginia 22980, Phone: 540-942-9093
11 Best Things to Do in Hickory, NC
- Henry River Mill Village, Photo: Cynthia/stock.adobe.com
- Hickory Crawdads - L.P. Frans Stadium, Photo: Terrance Emerson/stock.adobe.com
- Catawba Science Center, Photo: Brunbjorn/stock.adobe.com
- Hickory Aviation Museum, Photo: Terrance Emerson/stock.adobe.com
- Hickory Museum of Art, Photo: JackF/stock.adobe.com
- Harper House/ Hickory History Center, Photo: kumpolstock/stock.adobe.com
- Maple Grove, Photo: Unclesam/stock.adobe.com
- Blowing Rock Brewery, Photo: bartsadowski/stock.adobe.com
- Backstreets Bar and Grill, Photo: Backstreets Bar and Grill
- Shell’s Bar-B-Q, Photo: bnenin/stock.adobe.com
- Sam's Hot Dog Stand, Photo: Liudmyla/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: mkos83/stock.adobe.com