17 AMAZING Things To Do in Hickory, NC (+ Map!) (2024)

From art to science to sports, there are plenty of fun things to do in Hickory, NC.

Hickory is a city with great museums, fun events, and much more. There’s something to do for everyone’s liking, including seeing a race, learning about aviation at a museum, having delicious food in a historic train station, attending a baseball game, and more.

I made this article with the most fun activities to help you decide what to do in Hickory. As I included a large variety of things you can do in the city, I’m sure there will be something you like.

Best Things To Do in Hickory

See Art at the Hickory Museum of Art

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The Hickory Museum of Art is an art museum where you can find a collection of art from the Unifour region, which consists of the Catawba, Caldwell, Burke, and Alexander counties.

The collection of the museum includes works of American art. The collection started with 8 works in 1944, when the museum was founded, but not contains about 1,500 different workers.

You can see a variety of types of art at the museum. For example, you can see works made by artists from North Carolina at the museum. There is also an interesting collection of high-speed photography works.

Besides the permanent collection, sometimes you can find temporary exhibitions at the museum that you are able to see for a limited amount of time.

Address: 243 3rd Ave NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Go to a Performance at the Hickory Community Theatre

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The Hickory Community Theatre is a performing arts theater that was founded in 1948. The first full-length production of the theater took place in the auditorium of Hickory City Hall, and this building is still the home of the Hickory Community Theatre.

Throughout the year, lots of different shows take place at the theater, including family-friendly productions, and these shows are made with a local cast.

The theater has a cozy atmosphere and the building that houses the theater adds a lot of charm. The concessions that you can get at the theater are great too. Seeing a performance here is also one of the most fun date ideas in Hickory.

Address: 30 3rd St NW, Hickory, NC 28601

Go to the Hickory Aviation Museum

The Hickory Aviation Museum is an interesting non-profit museum that makes for one of the best things to do in Hickory. It’s located at the Hickory Regional Airport. The museum is a great place to learn about aviation when you are in the city, and you can do so for free as there is no admission fee.

The collection of the museum includes more than 30 aircraft and all kinds of memorabilia. Some of the aircraft that you can see here include an LTV A-7A Corsair II and a Republic F-105 Thunderchief.

When you go to the museum, you can walk around outside and see the aircraft collection with displays next to each aircraft with information.

The inside of the Hickory Aviation Museum has several exhibits through which you can learn about aviation history. For example, you can see memorabilia related to WWI here.

Address: 3101 9th Ave Dr NW, Hickory, NC 28601

Learn New Things at the Catawba Science Center

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The Catawba Science Center is a large children’s museum that is dedicated to science and technology.

At the museum, you can find various rotating hands-on exhibits. Each exhibit is about a specific topic.

For example, one of the exhibits of the museum showcases fossils, rocks, seashells, live insects, and other items.

There’s also an exhibit that is all about nanoscience and engineering, where children can learn about these topics through real-world applications.

In addition to these exhibits, you can find salt and freshwater aquarium galleries with lots of species of aquatic life at the museum, as well as a planetarium. The planetarium shows films about both the universe and the natural world.

Address: 243 3rd Ave NE, Hickory, NC 28601

See a Movie at the Carolina Theater Hickory

Carolina Theater Hickory is a movie theater where you can see some of the newest family movies.

The movie theater opened in 1934 and has a beautiful historic design.

In addition to that, you can get delicious concessions at the movie theater. For example, you can get incredible popcorn. What’s great about these concessions too is that they have reasonable prices.

The rates for seeing a movie at Carolina Theater Hickory are very low as well, making seeing a movie here affordable for many. Moreover, seeing a movie during the day is cheaper than at night.

Address: 222 1st Ave NW, Hickory, NC 28601

See a Race at the Hickory Motor Speedway

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The Hickory Motor Speedway is a short track that opened in 1951. Lots of important stock car racing events took place at the Hickory Motor Speedway.

For example, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour occurred here.

Also, many famous drivers, such as Ralph Earnhardt, became track champions here.

Nowadays, the Hickory Motor Speedway is still in use for different types of races, and you can see a race here which is a very fun activity in Hickory.

Attend an Event at the P.E. Monroe Auditorium

The P.E. Monroe Auditorium is a performing arts venue that is part of Lenoir-Rhyne University.

The venue has a capacity of more than 1,300 and various organizations of the university use it for events. For example, symphonies perform at the venue, you can sometimes see musicals here, and it was used for speeches by famous people, such as President Jimmy Carter.

Some of the events at the P.E. Monroe Auditorium are free events.

The public can attend the events, and you can find out whether there’s an event that you would like to attend by using the calendar of the venue on the website of Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Address: 775 6th St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Jump on Trampolines at DEFY Hickory

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DEFY Hickory is an amusem*nt park that makes for an incredible thing to do in Hickory. You can find it in the south of the city. DEFY Hickory is one of many DEFY amusem*nt parks in the country.

At DEFY Hickory, you can find a variety of fun attractions.

For example, there is a large trampoline area with wall-to-wall trampolines that you can jump on.

Another fun attraction at DEFY Hickory is a ninja obstacle course. Here you have to get from one end of the obstacle course to the other end.

It is also possible to play dodgeball and basketball while you are on trampolines, and there are several other attractions.

There’s also a Kid Jump area where children 6 and under can jump. As an adult, you can jump with them for free.

Address: 1843 Catawba Valley Blvd SE, Hickory, NC 28602

Get Ice Cream at Udderly Delicious Ice Cream

Udderly Delicious Ice Cream is an ice cream store that opened in 1995. It has three locations in North Carolina, of which one is located in the city of Hickory.

The ice cream store is dedicated to making “The Best Homemade Ice Cream”. For this, Udderly Delicious Ice Cream uses only the finest ingredients and the ice cream store makes its ice cream using old techniques.

There are more than 40 flavors of ice cream to choose from, including very unique ones.

You can also choose from many different types of ice cream and other desserts. You can get regular gelato in cones, cups, and delicious waffles, there are milkshakes, you can get banana splits, there are sundaes, you can get shaved ice here, and there’s much more to choose from.

Address: 131 US Hwy 70 SE, Hickory, NC 28602

See a Baseball Game at the LP Frans Stadium

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The LP Frans Stadium is a baseball stadium that is located in Winkler Park. The stadium is located at 2500 Clement Boulevard and it has a capacity of over 5,000.

The stadium is the home of the Hickory Crawdads, which is a baseball team that competes in Minor League Baseball in the South Atlantic League.

Seeing a game at the stadium is a fun activity for the whole family. Also, the stadium has a great atmosphere, and you can get good and reasonably priced food and drinks at the stadium.

Address: 2500 Clement Blvd NW, Hickory, NC 28601

Stroll the Downtown Hickory Farmers Market

The Downtown Hickory Farmers Market is a bi-weekly farmers market that takes place at Union Square in Hickory. It is a year-round market, with a “Winter Market” during the winter season.

From street foods to fresh produce to artisan crafts, there’s much to see at the market.

Most of the vendors at the market are the producers of what they sell in their booths. Only some of the original vendors at the market sell a small part of what they sell from another farm. You can see a list of vendors and whether they are a “100% producer” on the farmer’s market’s website.

Lots of events also take place at the market. For example, you can often listen to live music at the Downtown Hickory Farmers Market.

Have Dinner at the Olde Hickory Tap Room

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The Olde Hickory Tap Room is an independent, local restaurant where you can enjoy American cuisine and locally brewed beer.

The tap room is open every day of the year, with special hours during some holidays.

You can find the Olde Hickory Tap Room at Union Square in downtown Hickory.

Having dinner at the Olde Hickory Tap Room is a great idea because the dinner menu includes many delicious food items. For example, you can get great pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and other dishes.

Besides that, this place is great for having lunch or drinks as well.

Because of its central location, you can also go here before or after shopping at shops near the tap room.

Address: 222 Union Square NW, Hickory, NC 28601

Go to the Science After Dark Event at the Catawba Science Center

Science After Dark is an event that makes for a very fun thing to do in Hickory. It takes place at the Catawba Science Center. This is a hands-on educational and fun event for adults.

During the event, adults can visit the different exhibits of the Catawba Science Center and learn about science from experts.

Each version of the Science After Dark event, which takes place many times every year, has a different theme and there are other activities that you can do.

From talks to experiments to light shows, there’s much to see at these events.

In addition to that, beer and wine are available at the event with a donation.

Keep in mind that you need to buy a ticket in advance if you want to attend this event.

Address: 243 3rd Ave NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Go to Chuck E. Cheese Hickory

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Chuck E. Cheese Hickory is a great place to go for families in Hickory.

At this chain restaurant, children can have a fun time with great food and fun games.

There’s an arcade here with all sorts of arcade games through which children can win game tickets and redeem arcade prizes.

In addition to that, you can get all kinds of pizzas at Chuck E. Cheese Hickory and other are other food options.

Address: 2032 Catawba Valley Blvd SE, Hickory, NC 28602

Join the Downtown Hickory Art Crawl

The Downtown Hickory Art Crawl is an event that is held in downtown Hickory twice every year. The event is free to attend for the public and is a great way for the public to explore the art scene of Hickory.

During the event, local artists and art galleries showcase their artworks at more than 20 local businesses in the city. From pottery to woodworking to paintings, there’s much to explore during the art crawl.

In addition to that, much more is happening during the Downtown Hickory Art Crawl. For example, there are art demonstrations, you can listen to live music, and there’s much more.

All events are happening in a walkable area of the city.

Have Food and Drink in a Historic Train Station at The Olde Hickory Station

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The Olde Hickory Station is a unique restaurant that’s great to check out if you’re looking for activities in Hickory. What’s unique about this restaurant is that it is located inside the historic train station in Downtown Hickory.

The train station was restored by Olde Hickory Brewery and is operated as a restaurant by that organization.

You can go to The Olde Hickory Statin for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the week. You can also enjoy great brunch on the weekends.

There’s an in-house bakery that creates incredible pastries, baked goods, and other items.

You can also choose from about 50 beers, there is a very large wine list, and you can get hand-crafted co*cktails.

Both the lunch and dinner menus include many delicious food items.

Address: 232 Government Ave SW, Hickory, NC 28602

Go to a L.A.T.E. Night Thursday Event at the Hickory Art Museum

Lots of events take place at the Hickory Art Museum. One event series that you can attend is the L.A.T.E. Night Thursday event series.

These events take place on Thursday nights when the museum has extended opening hours.

Each event of L.A.T.E. Night Thursday has a different activity. For example, there might be an art class during one of the events.

You can look at the events page on the website of the Hickory Art Museum to see if there’s a L.A.T.E. Night Thursday Event that you would like to attend.

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What To Do in Hickory Tips

When going to a performance or event that I mentioned in this article, you often need to buy tickets or make a reservation in advance, so keep this in mind when deciding what you are going to do in the city.

Also, when deciding what to do in Hickory, you can consider doing two or more activities from this list on the same day. For example, you can combine having ice cream at Udderly Delicious Ice Cream with any of the other activities on the list.

17 AMAZING Things To Do in Hickory, NC (+ Map!) (10)

Hickory Things To Do Map

This was my list of the best things to do in Hickory, NC. I hope you liked the activities!

17 AMAZING Things To Do in Hickory, NC (+ Map!) (2024)
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