Hickory is home to a Life. Well Crafted. From delectable farm-to-table restaurants, outdoor adventures on Lake Hickory, and eclectic downtown shops, to a growing craft beer scene and an arts and cultural community to rival that of cities more than twice its size, Hickory offers a unique experience that continues to enthrall residents and attract visitors from all around. A manufacturing hub that continues to evolve and reinvent itself, Hickory is a city capturing the attention and affection of people and publications beyond the region. Check out the stories below, which highlight Hickory.
Hickory is trending.
Hickory MSA holds “most affordable metro” spot and moves up livability rankings (US News & World Report 05.16.2023)
Hickory, North Carolina tops the list for the second year in a row as America’s most affordable metro and ranks 25th among the country’s best places to live, according to the latest report released by U.S. News & World Report. With a low cost of living, the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton MSA ranked No. 1 in Most Affordable Places to Live in the United States. This ranking factors in both housing affordability, which looks at the cost of living compared with median household income, and price parity, which examines the cost of goods and services as they compare to the rest of the U.S. In addition to ranking as the cheapest place to live, Hickory climbed six spots to become No. 25 in Best Places to Live in the United States. Hickory also held its strong ranking as No. 3 in Best Places to Live in North Carolina, just behind Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte.
Hickory listed among 10 Most Beautiful and Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. (03.27.2023)
Travel + Leisure compiled a list of the most beautiful and affordable places to live in the nation. Hickory made that list. The article read: "Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Hickory is a family-friendly destination known for its ample hiking trails and Southern charm. Currently ranked as the cheapest place to live in the U.S., Hickory has a median home price of $161,000. This affordable neighbor to the east of Asheville and north of Charlotte is popular with retirees, but it's also becoming more attractive to young families; a steady stream of residents has been flocking here for its newfound fame as a technological hub for Google and Apple."
Hickory named No. 2 Best Off-the-Radar Winter Destination in America (12.19.2022)
Best Life compiled a list of the top 10 off-the-radar winter destinations in the United States. Hickory took the No. 2 spots on this short list for its winter appeal. The article stated, "With a population of 43,000, Hickory, North Carolina combines the charm and feel of a small town with the amenities of a larger city...Hickory is especially beautiful during the holidays when the town square is strung with twinkling lights, heated outdoor dining, and live music."
In the article, travel writer Meg St. Esprit also stated, "The artsy mountain town at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the perfect compromise between cold and warm weather destinations. You can shop the cute downtown in crisp but still comfortable temperatures and enjoy hiking without donning heavy winter gear." St. Esprit also likes how the train tracks that run through the center of town "add to the old-time feel." For more historic fun, "you can have dinner inside the former train station at the Olde Hickory Station restaurant," she added.
North Carolina ranks No. 1 in America's Top States for Business (07.13.2022)
The Tar Heel State tops CNBC's list in 2022 as the Top State for Business in America. According to the article, North Carolina is "powered by an economy that has hit its stride, and turbocharged by a long track record of innovation." NC has always been a contender in CNBC’s annual competitiveness rankings, rarely finishing outside the top 10 since the study began in 2007. Last year, the state climbed to the second place spot. The CNBC study measures all 50 states across 10 categories of competitiveness - workforce; infrastructure; cost of doing business; economy; life, health & inclusion; technology & innovation; business friendliness; education; access to capital; and cost of living.
Hickory named most affordable metro and ranked among best places to live in America (05.17.2022)
Hickory, North Carolina ranks among the country’s best places to live and takes the lead as America’s most affordable metro, according to a new report released by U.S. News. U.S. News analyzed the 150 most populous metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) to find the best places to live and released the new 2022-2023 rankings on Tuesday. To make the top of the list, a place had to have good value, be a desirable place to live, have a strong job market, and provide a high quality of life. With a low cost of living, the Hickory MSA ranked No. 1 in Most Affordable Places to Live in the United States. This ranking is based on the median gross rent and annual housing costs for mortgage-paying homeowners of each metro area. In addition to ranking at the top of the list for affordability, Hickory moved up 21 spaces to become No. 31 in Best Places to Live in the United States. Hickory also moved up 2 spaces to rank No. 3 in Best Places to Live in North Carolina.
Hickory Among Top 100 Best-Performing Cities (Milken Institute 04.2022)
The Hickory MSA ranked No. 91 on the Milken Institute's Best-Performing Cities Index. Hickory moved up 24 spots from the previous year's rankings.
Hickory ranked No. 15 of Top 20 Hottest Housing Markets in December 2021 (01.20.2022)
In Realtor.com's December 2021 Market Hottness Report, the Hickory metro ranked No. 15 on the list of the nations hottest housing markets. The Realtor.com economic research team came up with its monthly ranking of the hottest U.S. markets for real estate by tracking the metropolitan areas where homes are selling the quickest and where the most potential buyers are clicking on property listings.
Hickory listed among America's 10 Best Places to Live Near the Mountains (10.20.2021)
Hickory, North Carolina ranks among the 10 best places to live near the mountains, according to a new report. U.S. News & World Report looked at the 150 most populous metro areas in the country that make up the U.S. News Best Places to Live ranking, and compiled the top-ranking spots that offer easy access to mountain trails and breathtaking views. The article states, "Located in the Catawba Valley of North Carolina, Hickory is a part of the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The closest popular hiking trails in Hickory range from easy to moderate, with longer and more complex hiking trails just a short drive deeper into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The iconic blue hues of the mountains are visible in the distance from higher points in the metro area, and residents benefit from a low cost of living."
Hickory ranked No. 2 Best Place to Retire in North Carolina (09.16.2021)
According to a new study by SmartAsset, Hickory, North Carolina ranked the second best place to retire in the state of North Carolina. To find the best places to retire, SmartAsset gathered data on three separate regional factors that affect the quality of life for retirees, including tax-friendliness, medical care, and social opportunities.
Hickory among Best and Most Affordable Places to Live (07.13.2021)
Hickory, North Carolina ranks among the best places to live in the state and the most affordable metros in America, according to a new report released by U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News analyzed the 150 most populous metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) to find the best places to live and released the new 2021-2022 rankings on Tuesday. To make the top of the list, a place had to have good value, be a desirable place to live, have a strong job market, and provide a high quality of life. With a low cost of living, the Hickory MSA ranked No. 4 in Most Affordable Places to Live in the United States. This ranking is based on the median gross rent and annual housing costs for mortgage-paying homeowners of each metro area. In addition to ranking among the most affordable places to live, Hickory ranked No. 5 in Best Places to Live in North Carolina and No. 52 overall in Best Places to Live in the United States.
Hickory ranked among Best Places to Live in North Carolina and Most Affordable Cities in U.S. (10.13.2020)
U.S. News and World Report analyzed the 150 most populous metro areas to find the best places to live. To make the top of the list, a place had to have good value, be a desirable place to live, have a strong job market, and a high quality of life. The Hickory MSA ranked No. 4 in Best Places to Live in North Carolina and No. 8 in America's Cheapest Places to Live.
Hickory ranked No. 5 midsize MSA for Manufacturing (7.29.2020)
The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton MSA was ranked No. 5 for manufacturing among midsize MSAs in the nation, according to Business Facilities' 2020 Metro and Global Rankings Report.
Best Places to Work in Manufacturing - 2019 Edition (12.19.2019)
The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metro area cracks the top 25 best places to work in manufacturing on SmartAsset's list for 2019. The manufacturing industry accounts for 8% of the U.S. workforce. While those 12.8 million employees are scattered nationwide, some parts of the country offer better employment opportunities and income growth for them. To find the best places to work in manufacturing, SmartAsset analyzed metrics such as local manufacturing job and income growth. It's no surprise that Hickory ranks No. 11 on the list for 2019.
Forbes: Best Places for Business and Careers 2019 (10.30.2019)
According to Forbes's 2019 ranking of the Best Places for Business and Careers, Hickory, N.C. ranks No. 1 in the nation for lowest business costs, at 25% below the U.S. average. Hickory also held the No. 1 spot for business costs in 2017 and 2018.
Hickory ranked among "The South's Top 8 Hidden Tracks of the Southern Music Scene" (9.16.19)
Hickory, North Carolina was named No. 6 on ConventionSouth Magazine’s 2019 list of “The South’s Top 8 Hidden Tracks of the Southern Music Scene.” Readers and fans were asked to vote on destinations where groups can best experience unique music while holding a meeting or event, according to ConventionSouth Editor Marcia Bradford. The Facebook ballot provided a list of 17 thriving destinations from across the South, not commonly known for their music-scene. After the vote, Hickory came in at No. 6 on the list!
Investment U: Hickory Ranks No. 7 Best Place to Retire in North Carolina (6.27.2019)
Hickory has been ranked among the Top 10 Best Places to Retire in North Carolina, coming in at No. 7 on the list. Hickory was noted as "one of the most beautiful towns in the state" and a popular destination for sports fans. Several key indicators were considered for the list, including: tax rates, cost of living, crime rates, entertainment value, recreational value, medical care, culture, and art.
Chamber of Commerce: Hickory Ranks Within Top 25 Best Cities to Live in North Carolina (6.2019)
Hickory was recently named one of North Carolina's Best Cities to Live in America, according to ChamberofCommerce.org. Hickory ranked No. 22 out of nearly 80 cities that were listed. ChamberofCommerce.org gathered information from both the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control for over 2,500 cities. The comprehensive analysis looked at cities with populations of over 25,000, and covered five essential factors to determine rankings: employment, housing, quality of life, education, and health.
Hickory's top 25 ranking is due to an exceptionally low average housing cost, a remarkably high employment rate, and fantastic median household earnings and commute times in relation to the rest of the state.
TODAY Show: Hickory's Kairi Yang named 2019 Gerber spokesbaby (2.26.2019)
Meet Kairi Yang, the 15-month-old cutie from Hickory, North Carolina who was recently announced as the 2019 Gerber spokesbaby. Kairi and her parents, Ying Vue and Peter Yang, appeared on NBC’s TODAY Show on February 26 for the big reveal of the new spokesbaby. Kairi Yang beat out more than 544,000 contestants, ranging in age from birth to 4, to become Gerber’s 2019 spokesbaby. And she’s already making history as the first Gerber baby of Hmong descent.
Hickory, N.C. Among Top 10 Least Expensive Retirement Towns in America (9.5.2018)
Realtor.com ranked Hickory, N.C. as the No. 6 least expensive retirement town in the country. Data analysts at Realtor.com "looked at the 500 largest metropolitan statistical areas, focusing on those where at least a quarter of the population is aged 60 and up, and where the most folks in this age group moved to between 2011 and 2015." Metros were then ranked by the total cost to pay down a 15-year mortgage on a median-priced home, assuming buyers would have a 20 percent down payment and a 5 percent mortgage interest rate.
Area Development: 2018 Leading Metro Locations (7.2018)
Area Development recently released a report ranking all of the metro areas by a number of different criteria. The Hickory MSA climbed the ranks in several notable measures over the last several years.
- Overall, Hickory MSA ranked 109th out of 394 metros, rising from 346th in 2014. Only 2 U.S. metro areas have improved more during the same period (Albany, GA and Niles-Benton, Michigan).
- Hickory MSA ranked 20th in terms of 5-year unemployment rate change, with only 19 places in the country having had a bigger positive swing in unemployment.
- Hickory MSA ranked 54th in overall economic strength for 2018, ahead of places like Jacksonville, Florida (55), Provo (64), Dallas (67), or even Charlotte (76).
- Hickory MSA ranked 41st in YOY growth, ahead of Seattle (42), Boston (68) and Chattanooga (91).
- Hickory MSA ranked 37th in 5-year growth, ahead of Nashville (53), Knoxville (201) or San Antonio (207).
National Geographic Travel recognizes Hickory as one of this year's Best Small Cities in America (1.15.2018)
National Geographic Traveler, the world’s most widely read travel magazine, recently unveiled its 29 “Cities on the Rise” based on a unique set of metrics, as well as expert picks from its editors. Hickory, N.C. made the list of National Geographic Travel’s Best Small Cities for 2018, as one of the most “Hipster Friendly” cities in America!
Hickory ranked among safest cities in North Carolina (1.12.2018)
The City of Hickory is ranked the No. 20 safest city in North Carolina, according to SafeHome, a professional review site dedicated to making communities safer. With a safety score of 64.06, Hickory is noted to have exceptionally low violent crime and property crime rates, as well as the best citizen-to-officer ratio among North Carolina’s top 25 safest cities.
Hickory’s on the rise: Ranks No. 3 “biggest gainer” in new economic growth study (1.10.2018)
Hickory’s economy is rapidly growing, according to a new study cited by USA TODAY. Hickory, N.C. is ranked the No. 3 “biggest gainer” of 2017, after rising 64 places to No. 103 on Milken Institute’s list of Best-Performing Cities in America. Milken Institute’s annual report analyzes economic trends and dynamics shaping American cities and highlights the factors driving innovation and growth across the nation.
Hickory, N.C. Named Top Tinsel Town in America (12.11.2017)
Realtor.com named Hickory, N.C. as the #1 Best City in America for Holiday Lovers. Hickory was selected as the Top Tinsel Town after considering a variety of holiday aspects, including: flights coming in to town for the holidays, Christmas parades, holiday events, and the number of Christmas trees cut down. The City of Hickory’s annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting in Downtown was listed as the holiday highlight for our city, as well as other local events that make Hickory, N.C. very special, especially during the holiday season.
Articles about Hickory
Our State: Step Into Hickory (5.5.2021)
City of Hickory gearing up to entice critical and essential industries (07.2020)
Business North Carolina: Where work and play collide (04.2020)
Giant Hickory "Leaves" Welcome Visitors (10.30.2019)
Hickory's iconic gateway on U.S. 321 named Best in Show by Sign Builder Illustrated
Southern Living: 5 Reasons To Visit Hickory, North Carolina (10.2019)
Here We Grow: A Full-Scale Revamp in Hickory (8.7.2019)
Charlotte Business Journal: Hickory takes new path (7.26.2019)
Business North Carolina: Catawba County reinvents itself as high-tech manufacturing hub (5.2019)
Forbes: Best Places for Business and Careers 2018 (10.24.2018)
Hickory ranked 1st in the nation for lowest business costs at 25% below the U.S. average
Asheville Today: Hickory: Your 24-hour guide (6.28.2018)
Our State Magazine: The Miracle of Hickory (6.25.2018)
Charlotte Business Journal: Hickory-area business park breaks ground, aims to bring hundreds of clean, high-tech jobs to the region (5.18.2018)
Our State Magazine: A Day at the Park in Hickory (3.27.2018)
SmartAsset: Best Places to Retire in North Carolina (3.8.2018)
Hickory ranked 7th best place to retire in NC
Business North Carolina: Catawba county delivers on its promises (2.2.2018)
Hickory Daily Record: County getting positive attention (2.2.2018)
Charlotte Magazine: Around Towns: Exploring Hickory (1.22.2018)
Forbes: Best Places for Business and Careers 2017 (10.27.2017)
Hickory ranked 1st in the nation for lowest business costs at 23% below the U.S. average
SmartAsset: The Best Places to Raise a Family in North Carolina (10.24.2017)
Hickory ranked 9th best place to raise a family in NC
Our State Magazine: 10 Great Mountain Towns (10.1.2017)
Kiplinger: Why Hickory, N.C., Is a Great Place to Retire (8.2017)
10 Great Places to Retire
LendEDU: Best Cities to Start a Small Business (4.6.2017)
Hickory ranked 140 among top 250 cities to start a business
Business North Carolina: Regional Focus: Catawba County (2.2017)
WNC Magazine: Hickory Rising: The city’s long-planned major makeover takes off (9/10.2016)
Our State Magazine: City Portrait: Hickory (6.8.2016)
This Catawba County city inspires residents to craft well-rounded lives — and much, much more.
Our State Magazine: Hickory Day Trip Guide (9.2.2015)
NerdWallet: Best Places to Start a Business in North Carolina (5.11.2015)
Hickory ranked 4th best place to start a business in NC
Highlighted Hickory Arts and Culture
Our State Magazine: The Art Museum That Became Hickory's Masterpiece (10.27.2020)
Our State Magazine: Hollywood Meets Hickory (8.26.2019)
Our State Magazine: Collecting and Preserving Southern Folk Art in Hickory (9.14.2016)
Highlighted Hickory Restaurants and Attractions
Good Housekeeping: The Most Unique Airbnb Properties in Every State - 2nd Street Inn (12.29.2022)
Our State Magazine: 26 Restaurants to Visit on a Special Occasion - Vintage House (3.16.2021)
BOCA, a local Hickory restaurant, was ranked Top 10% worldwide for Trip Advisor Travelers' Choice.(2020)
Matador Network: The most underappreciated food regions in the world, according to chefs (9.2019)
WNC Magazine: The Review—Boca: A popular meeting place that entertains the taste buds with Spanish, Mediterranean, and Moroccan tapas (1/2.2018)
Our State Magazine: 5 Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Western NC to Try This Winter – Café Rule & Wine Bar, Hickory, NC (11.2.2016)
WNC Magazine: The Review: Fourk: Chef Joyce Boston serves up a sizable menu of classic comfort foods with unique flourishes (9/10.2016)
Highlighted Hickory Businesses
Our State: At Home in Hickory (08.31.2021)
Transportation Insight Recognized as North Carolina’s Second Largest Privately Held Company (10.9.2017)
Business NC Magazine: Shurtape binds Hickory’s Shuford Family (10.4.2017)
Our State Magazine: Family roots run deep at Vanguard Furniture in Hickory (9.14.2016)