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Things to do in Hickory, North Carolina

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Filming location of District 12 in The Hunger Games

Hickory is a sleepy little town, home to not much more than Lenoir-Rhyne University, but it provides a quiet base camp for those heading out into nature.

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Josh carrying a “spider stick” to ward off any webs crossing the trail.

Bakers Mountain Park

It’s the county’s highest point at 1,780 feet and features around 6 miles of scenic hiking trails (just watch out for the monster spiders in the fall!). It’s a beautiful way to spend the afternoon. Just keep in mind that it’s only open from Friday-Monday.

Historic Henry Mill Village

On your way back to the city from Bakers Mountain make sure to take Henry River Rd. and stop at the Mill, a quiet spot that just happens to be the filming location for District 12 in the movie “The Hunger Games.” *Update: The village now has new owners, and general admission is charged for adults. Ages 17 and younger are free.

The Hickory Museum of Art

A free attraction that not only houses art, but occasional free introductory classes for activities like yoga and Tai Chi. It’s closed on Mondays.

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Catawba Science Center

In the same building as the Hickory Museum of Art, it is where you can see live shark feedings, play in a virtual reality theater, climb a rock wall and learn about infectious diseases. There is also a planetarium for a dollar or two extra and temporary exhibits. Admission is usually $14 for adults and $12 for kids between 3-18.


Catch a Green Room Community Theatre production of shows like “Hairspray,” “Peter Pan” or “The Frog Prince” at the Post Office Playhouse in nearby Newton. Tickets aren’t super cheap, but if you enjoy theater, it’s not a bad price. Even cheaper are the productions at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Grab a Bite

Hatch Sandwich Bar

The cozy little joint with brightly colored walls specializes in creating unique and tasty sandwiches and salads like a pulled pork grilled cheese with avocado and hot sauce and a broccoli cheddar melt with peppadew peppers. Everything is served up fresh and we highly recommended the side salad. I can’t recall such an original concoction accompanying my entree. There are several good vegetarian options and much of the produce used is local, which is always a plus. Many of the items are shareable if you’re not completely famished.

Thick cut chips from Olde Hickory Tap Room

Olde Hickory Tap Room

For a bite to eat at lunch or dinner, check out the downtown restaurant. The pub chips with ranch, hot blue cheese and hot beer cheese dipping sauces were delicious inexpensive, why pass them up? They also offer burgers, sandwiches and pizza for very reasonable prices. Of course, there are more dinner-worthy options like fish ‘n’ chips and Saint Louis ribs, but they’ll run you a little more. They also have an impressive selection of beer on tap.

Backstreets Bar and Grill

The place for fall-off-the-bone smoked ribs. A half rack can be a little pricy, but the rest of the menu is pretty reasonably priced. There are sandwiches, salads, wraps, soup and appetizers and even a 6oz burger. The potato cakes were tasty, too.

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Enjoy the great outdoors!