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Living a College Town Lifestyle in Hickory, North_Carolina

A couple colleges are located here in Hickory, a growing college town of about 41,000 people in western North Carolina (Catawba County). The metro comprises several other towns and is quite a bit larger.  The town got its name from the first building there, the Hickory Tavern. Hickory was named an "All-American City" three times and was also named the 10th best place to live and raise a family in the United States by Readers Digest. The area has a robust economy with furniture, fiber optics, and pressure sensitive tape being some of the local products. There is a college (Lenoir-Ryne) and a community college in town.

Photo of Lenoir-Rhyne University courtesy of Wikipedia and Vitusha232.

Where to Retire in Hickory and Home Prices

The median price of a home in Hickory was about $194,505 in early 2021, according to Zillo, and a 8.8% rise over the past year. The Hickory area and all of western North Carolina has many active adult and 55+ communities - search in our NC Active Adult Directory to find them.

What Is Special about Hickory

Lake Hickory, formed by the Oxford Dam, was named  for the city. The lake covers almost 4,223 acres. Lenoir-Rhyne University has more than 1,000 students; there is also Catawba Community College with over 2,000 students.  One of the oldest furniture companies in the world is here, the Hickory Manufacturing Company. The city has won numerous awards as a great place to live.

What Is Not Special about Hickory

If you are looking for a warm place to spend the winter this might not be a good choice.

Climate and Physical Environment

Hickory is in western North Carolina. The average July high is 88 and the average January low is 29. The wettest month is March (5").

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

There is an art museum, aviation museum, Choral Society, Western Piedmont Symphony, and TheatreWorks.  Lenoir-Ryne University has some cultural offerings. Furniture shoping is a big thing in Hickory.


The crime rate is quite high, almost double the national average.

Medical Facilities

There are 2 medical centers in town: Catawba Valley Medical Center and Frye Regional Medical Center.


Hickory Regional Airport (does not have scheduled service)

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