What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Traveling on a budget? Make a stop in Hickory, NC

Posted July 25, 2021 7:36 p.m. EDT
Updated July 26, 2021 2:21 p.m. EDT

— Tucked away in the North Carolina piedmont is the historic city of Hickory. Some visit for the 1-million-square-foot discount furniture store, others come for the locally-brewed beer.

If you're up for a little adventure, exploring the quiet town of Hickory is a perfect trip — especially if you're on a budget.

Downtown Hickory

Hickory got its name from a popular tavern made of logs beneath hickory trees. Since then, its been a spot for community gathering and, of course, beer.

You can visit the Olde Hickory Station restaurant and market, right near where the original tavern once stood.

Olde Hickory locally-brewed beer

The bar has 50 beers and ciders on tap, with a handful brewed right down the street at the Olde Hickory Brewery.

Hickory Station

The tavern offers delicacies like hand-crafted cocktails, cheese and charcuterie boards. If you're just looking to grab and go, there's a great selection of imported and locally-made wine and beers in their market.

Dozens of boutiques and vintage shops line the downtown area and are perfect for exploring.

Acme Antique Market is a Black-owned antique store that uses a unique concept: the store lets you interact and touch the antiques. There are old couches, phones, silverware, books and magazines you can check out.

Follow the signs that say "antique" to find this buried gem one door down from Foot Solutions in The Shoppes on The Square.

An old movie theater, built in 1934 and once a staple of the city, sits in the heart of downtown Hickory.

Carolina Theatre shows both new movies and classic hits from the past. The theater prides itself on keeping tickets and concessions affordable, and says customers usually spend only $20 a visit.

Carolina theatre in downtown Hickory

Las Isabelas

Las Isabelas tacos

You can't leave downtown Hickory without stopping at Las Isabelas, an authentic taqueria and tienda. Tacos are the best around and less than $4 each.

If you're headed to Las Isabelas, keep in mind it can get busy. You'll need to enter through the tienda and wait for a table while shopping around the store. The restaurant has bright, outdoor seating with dozens of tropical plants surrounding its customers.

Check out their signature Mango margarita, with chili powder that gives it a real kick.

Mango margarita

Furniture Mart

Hickory furniture mart

People travel from across the world to Hickory's furniture mart for discounted and locally made furniture. A huge warehouse space with four stories is dedicated only to high-end furniture that is marked down by 65% to 80%.

You can find several different rooms of locally-made furniture inside the mart. Hickory Park Furniture Galleries, a small business that's been in Hickory for more than 27 years, features North Carolina-made and American-made products in their showroom.

Hickory Furniture Mart

Designers work one-on-one with customers to get them their dream house. Even if you aren't looking to re-design your home, you can't miss a stop at the furniture mart (even if it's just to window shop).

Hickory Motor Speedway

Hickory also has a NASCAR short track, where you can watch drivers race while eating a snack. The .3 mile track seats more than 9,000 people.

The track is used as a venue for NASCAR's club racing divisions, the Whelen All-American series. Tickets cost $12.50 for adults and cheaper prices are available for kids and seniors.

The track has been dubbed the "Birthplace of NASCAR stars" by big names like Ralph Earnhardt and Dennis Setzer, who call the track their home.

Hickory Motor Speedway