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Retirement Living in Hickory Metro - North Carolina

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Area Description

Hickory is located in Catawba County in the foothills of western North Carolina. The city encompasses a total area of 29.8 square miles of which 29.7 miles is land and 0.08 square miles is water (Lake Hickory). The city's population is approximately 40,000 and growing. Hickory is well known for its lush, scenic beauty as well as its small town charm. Hickory is also well known as a shopping destination for fine furniture and home furnishing as the County uniquely enjoys a world-wide reputation as a premier furniture manufacturing hub.

Restaurants abound in the area ranging from national chains to locally owned one-of-a-kind establishments with offerings such as American home-style, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Southwest and Italian to name a few. Our downtown is home to coffee shops, delis, and boutiques appealing to all ages.

Lenoir Rhyne University, a four year liberal arts university, is also located in Hickory as well as Catawba Valley Community College, Appalachian Center at Hickory and Gardner-Webb University (both satellite campuses) and the NC Center for Engineering Technologies. Education resources also include nine elementary schools, three middle schools, four high schools, and four private schools.

Region Characteristics

Area Amenities

Things to Do, Recreation & Fitness

   The Hickory Metro area offers a wealth of activities for those individuals who enjoy the outdoors. Lake Hickory (4,223 acres) offers mile after mile of shoreline with boating, fishing, and campgrounds readily available. In addition, the area is home to ten golf courses, both public and private as well as being home to the Hickory Crawdads, a Class A minor league baseball team.

The Hickory Motor Speedway, a racing facility that has presented competitions for over 50 years and is hailed as the birthplace of NASCAR stars Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson, Ned and Dale Jarrett and Harry Gant.

Other recreational opportunities include numerous city and county parks with fitness and nature trails. Bakers Mountain Park, the highest point in Catawba County, (1780 feet) offers some six miles of trails and 189 acres of mature forest.

Both city and county parks offer playgrounds and the Zahra Baker All Children's Playground being especially designed for children with disabilities to enjoy. Hickory has been named "an All-American City" three times, the last time in 2007. This prestigious award is given to only ten cities in the United States yearly. The Hickory Metro area has also been named the 10th best place to live and raise a family in American by Reader's Digest. Higher educational institutions include Lenoir-Rhyne University and Catawba Valley Community College.

The area also has a strong line-up of festivals and cultural events including Octoberfest, the Catawba Valley Pottery Festival, the Old Soldier's Reunion, Art Crawl, Hickory Hops and the Murray's Mill festival. All festivals feature artisans showing a variety of local pottery, jewelry, glass, fabrics and woodcrafts. Another popular event is the Hickory Alive program featuring free concerts held every Friday evening in June and July in downtown Hickory.

Cultural Activities

The cultural hub of Hickory is the famous SALT Block (an acronym that stands for Science, Art and Literature Together), where on one block downtown clustered together are the Catawba Science Center, the Hickory Museum of Art, the Hickory Public Library, the Western Piedmont Symphony, the United Arts Council of Catawba County and the Hickory Choral Society.

A unique concentration of science and art, the SALT block is a major tourist destination in Hickory with over 200,000 visitors a year. Hickory is also home to the Hickory Community Theatre and other important cultural institutions. These include the Harper House/Hickory History Center, located in the historic and stunningly beautiful Harper house, one of the finest examples of Queen Anne architecture and interior design to be found in North Carolina, and two historical houses that also are local cultural history museums, the Maple Grove Historical Museum and the J. Summie Propst House Museum.

Public transportation

Hickory is served by Greenway Public Transportation which provides a fixed route services in not only Hickory, but the nearby cities of Conover and Newton. Bus fare is very reasonable with seniors and disabled persons riding for one-half fare. Rental cars and taxis are also readily available in the area. In addition, Hickory's primary commercial and general aviation airport is the Hickory Regional Airport serving non-commercial aircraft.

Medical Facilities

Hickory is most fortunate to have two major medical facilities, Frye Regional Medical Center and Catawba Valley Medical Center. Both combined have an 800 bed capacity as well as state-of-the-art medical technology and therapies. Also housed in Hickory is a newly opened Veteran's Clinic located off McDonald Parkway on Highway 70E.


Monthly Temperatures / Rain / Snow

 Month  Low  Avg  High  Rain  Snow
 Jan  29.0  39.0  49.0  3.8 "  2.1 "
 Feb  32.0  42.5  53.0  3.9 "  0.8 "
 Mar  39.0  50.0  61.0  4.2 "  0.5 "
 Apr  47.0  58.5  70.0  3.7 "  0.1 "
 May  55.0  66.0  77.0  3.7 "  0.0 "
 Jun  64.0  74.5  85.0  4.1 "  0.0 "
 Jul  68.0  78.0  88.0  4.4 "  0.0 "
 Aug  67.0  76.5  86.0  4.1 "  0.0 "
 Sep  60.0  70.0  80.0  3.7 "  0.0 "
 Oct  48.0  59.0  70.0  3.5 "  0.0 "
 Nov  39.0  50.0  61.0  3.5 "  0.0 "
 Dec  31.0  41.0  51.0  3.7 "  0.2 "

Hickory is blessed with many trees and blooming shrubs making a colorful showing in the Spring and Fall months. The Ivey Arboretum in Carolina Park contains a collection of over 400 labeled species of native and rare trees and shrubs within a three acre pack.

We also enjoy a wonderful climate allowing for outdoor activities year-round even in the winter months. Since we are located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, our fall colors are breathtaking.

Natural Disaster Areas

Cost of Living for Hickory Metro, NC

Hickory Metro, North Carolina cost of living for Housing, Healthcare, Transportation, Taxes, Utilities, etc.:

Cost of Living




Political Party


Senior Housing Options

The area is fortunate to have many housing options ranging from the traditional single family homes to condos, gated communities, rental units and both assisted living and adult communities.

For those wishing to build, Hickory's rural areas offer ample space, with acreage, to create a custom home. Hickory's housing is considered very affordable compared to other larger cities in North Carolina.

Senior Assistance in Hickory Metro, NC

Hickory Metro, North Carolina offers the following assistance for seniors:

Seniors are well served in this area with many activities and services ranging from adult day care programs, assisted living facilities, exercise facilities such as the YMCA, continuing education opportunities, financial guidance, home care services and two excellent medical facilities. There is also insurance, retirement and social services information and guidance available as needed. Transportation is also available, if needed, for doctor appointment, etc.

Job or Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer opportunities abound in Hickory with agencies such as Council on Aging, Cooperative Christian Ministry, ECCCM, Meals on Wheels and the United Way. The Council on Aging also provides many recreational programs and educational seminars that benefit the senior community. Employment is readily available for anyone wishing to work part or full-time.

Additional Information

Visitor Information

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