Hickory, North Carolina

General Information

Named the ‘#1 place to live’ in a recent survey of U.S. cities, the city of Hickory is located in western North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is approximately 50 miles northwest of Charlotte, 80 miles east of Asheville, and 35 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The anchor city of the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area (2020 population of 365,276), Hickory’s population was 43,490 according to the 2020 census.

Lake Hickory, a man-made lake created in 1927 with the completion of the Oxford Dam runs along the northern edge of the city. The city has an altitude of approximately 1,200 ft.

Summers are usually warm but not hot. Winters generally include some light dustings of snow and falls are crisp with beautiful autumn foliage. Average weather temperatures for the year range from a high of 69° F to a low of 48° F. Hickory average 3.5-4 inches of rain per month.

Many retirees call Hickory home but the area has seen an influx of young professionals attracted by the proximity to Asheville and Charlotte and the many outdoor recreation options surrounding the area.


Hickory was founded in 1873 as “the Town of Hickory Tavern.” It was named after a tavern built in 1850 under a huge hickory tree near a stagecoach junction. The town was renamed “the City of Hickory” in 1899. Hickory has grown to become home to 43,000 residents and is “the regional hub for 365,000 people for commerce and recreation.” Hickory prides itself on offering residents a “life well-crafted.”




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Average Cost of Living


The Hickory area is considered a “data-center corridor” and houses data centers for both Apple and Google. Major industries in the area include manufacturing, education, healthcare, retail trade, professional and management, scientific, public administration, transportation, and construction. Fiber-optic cable manufacturing is a large industry with 40% of the world’s fiber-optic cable being made near Hickory.


The cost of living in Hickory is low and housing is relatively affordable compared to the state average. The median home price is $161,000 and the median monthly rent is $708.

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The Claremont neighborhood is a historic neighborhood that is largely residential. It is home to two beautiful parks as well as Lenoir-Rhyne University.

The Lakeland Park neighborhood is a residential neighborhood home to a lakefront park that includes walking and nature trails, a gazebo, activity center, picnic tables, and more.

Downtown Hickory boasts an array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. It is host a farmer’s market and annual Oktoberfest celebration.

Hickory includes eight recognized neighborhood associations; Claremont, Forest Hills, Green Park, Highland, Kenworth, Lakeland Park, Ridgeview, and West Hickory/Westmont. The city also has two business districts. The town of Long View (pop. 5,000), is a suburb of Hickory.

Things to Do

Hickory offers a wide range of activities for various tastes. Outdoor recreation options are plentiful with many nearby trails for hiking and lakes for boating and fishing.

The Hickory Crawdads baseball team is a Class-A, High-A East affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Nearby Lenoir-Rhyne University competes in the NCAA Division II, with athletic programs in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, triathlon, and volleyball.

Hickory’s arts and cultural attractions include the Hickory Aviation Museum, Hickory Museum of Art, and the Western Piedmont Symphony. The SALT (Science and Literature Together) Block is a hub for science and cultural events and programs throughout the year.

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