North Carolina : Safety by City
- Chapel Hill
- Elizabeth City
- High Point
- Hope Mills
- Kill Devil Hills
- Kitty Hawk
- Morehead City
- New Bern
- Rocky Mount
It’s hard to compete with the famous Blue Ridge Mountains, but Hickory, North Carolina, sits in the foothills and offers a slice of Southern hospitality.
Downtown Hickory features historic buildings and unique shops and restaurants.
Take a stroll down Union Square to see the old courthouse and browse antique stores, boutiques, and art galleries.
Stop into one of the local diners for some down-home cooking like chicken and dumplings or country-fried steak.
Just outside the city, discover the beauty of nature at parks like Henry River Mill Village.
Follow shaded trails along the river and take in gorgeous waterfall views.
Lake Hickory is another nice spot for fishing, boating, and picnicking.
Of course, no trip to Hickory would be complete without visiting some of its famed furniture outlets.
At these large warehouses, you’ll find handcrafted furniture of all styles for amazing prices.
It’s an interior designer’s dream shopping destination.
With its blend of small-town charm, natural wonders, and shopping deals, Hickory makes for a memorable getaway.
Its laidback vibe and scenic surroundings provide the perfect escape from busy city life.
Hickory is also an hour outside of Charlotte, making a great day trip or weekend escape from the traffic and noise in the city.
Whether you spend your time strolling town squares, hiking to waterfalls, or searching for furniture treasures, you’ll be charmed by the heart of North Carolina’s foothills.
Avoid any references to Old Hickory, as that’s a section of Nashville, Tennessee, more than 350 miles away.
Warnings & Dangers in Hickory
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low overall risk in Hickory, but it edges really close to medium based on crime data. With plenty of things to do in safe spaces, I feel comfortable lowering that risk.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
You can look at Greenway Public Transportation and see if those routes suit your needs. Otherwise, you'll want a rental car to explore more places. Taxis and rideshares are available as well and should be used anytime you'll be drinking alcohol.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
Hickory averages just one pickpocket or purse snatching a year, looking back over the past five years. That's a low risk for pickpocketing, but there's a lot of theft going on here overall. Use extra caution, just in case. And don't assume your car is a safer place to stash things. Nearly 30% of all thefts are car break-ins.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
While it's a medium risk, there's nothing here that doesn't come with plenty of warning. For folks who live here, it's normal to have severe thunderstorms, potential tornadoes, flash flooding, extreme heat, and dangerous lightning. You lower that risk by staying aware of the weather conditions and adapting your plans.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
The robbery rate here is slightly lower than the national average, and just 20% of those are highway robberies. The risk is low, but the other crime rates warrant treating it as a medium risk.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Hickory is a smaller town with fewer than 45,000 people in a more rural area. The risk is low but never low enough to let suspicious activities go unreported.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Scams here are highly focused on residents. You can review the police department and county sheriff's social media sites to see the latest scam alerts. You might also face panhandlers here, but you shouldn't give them money. Just a firm "No" and walking away will get you out of that awkward spot.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Nothing in the crime data suggests women are at a higher risk. In fact, over the past five years, women are 12% less likely to be a victim of a violent crime. Keep the risk low by using common safety tactics as you would in any new city - and avoid careless mistakes like walking around at night alone.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report covers several regions in and around Hickory. It shows no violations and full compliance. Enjoy the low-risk!
Safest Places to Visit in Hickory
“Visit Hickory Metro” is the name of the tourism website for Hickory and the wonderful collection of surrounding small towns.
You can get a tourism guide without giving personal information, which I always find preferable.
You never know where your email address or phone number is going to end up in marketing lists.
If you do want to get information emailed, I recommend creating a new email account just for travel trips.
That way, it won’t get mixed in with your regular email.
Nearby cities and towns to explore in Catawba County include:
- Catawba (town)
Begin your journey at the Hickory Museum of Art, where you can immerse yourself in a rich tapestry of American creativity.
This cultural hub boasts a diverse collection featuring everything from contemporary masterpieces to regional gems.
Step into history by wandering through the charming historic district.
The well-preserved Victorian-era homes narrate the story of Hickory’s past with those quintessential Southern stately homes.
Downtown Hickory is a vibrant hub of activity.
Roam its streets to discover an array of boutique shops, breweries and restaurants serving up locally-inspired cuisine.
Union Square often hosts live performances for a touch of cultural entertainment.
For a serene escape, make your way to Glenn Hilton Park.
Here, you can bask in the natural beauty of the area, whether by picnicking near the tranquil lake, exploring scenic hiking trails, or simply finding peace amidst nature’s embrace.
Catawba River Greenway offers a picturesque retreat for those seeking the soothing presence of water.
Stroll along the riverbanks, taking in the scenic beauty and enjoying a leisurely walk or bike ride.
Embrace the thrill of the outdoors by kayaking or canoeing on Lake Hickory.
The lake’s calm waters and scenic surroundings provide the perfect backdrop for a day of aquatic adventure.
Golf enthusiasts will find Hickory an ideal destination, with several golf courses to choose from.
Test your skills on these lush greens surrounded by the North Carolina landscape.
If you’re a fan of live music, check out the local music scene at venues like the Salt Block.
Hickory Community Theater is a cultural gem that often hosts entertaining productions.
Check their schedule for a chance to enjoy a live performance during your visit.
You’ll also love the scenic drive through the countryside surrounding Hickory.
Explore the winding roads and rolling landscapes to get a true sense of the region’s natural beauty.
Fall foliage is very impressive here.
Places to Avoid in Hickory
The east and southeast sections of town have the highest crime rates.
That includes Highland, Ridgeview, and Fairbrook.
You aren’t going to find parts of town that are “too dangerous” to visit.
Just keep those areas in mind when it comes to stopping for gas or getting food.
You don’t want to get caught outside on the trail or in the water during an approaching thunderstorm.
It’s important to stay weather-aware.
We’ve listed a way to get emergency alerts below.
If you hear thunder, you should stay inside for at least 30 minutes until the last thunder.
Avoid paddling, rafting, or kayaking without a safety vest.
It’s required by law to have one on board, but even as an experienced rafter, I never go on the water without wearing one.
It’s more that I don’t trust the environment or new bodies of water than my inability to swim.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Hickory
- Hickory has its own police department. Follow them on Facebook for updated crime and safety information. Their handle is @HickoryPoliceDepartment. For more specific questions, call (828) 328-5551 or email email@example.com.
- Catawba County uses the CodeRED notification system for severe weather and public safety alerts. Signing up just takes seconds, and you’ll get critical information delivered via text, email or phone call to your mobile device.
- If you suspect any type of drug activity while you’re visiting, the police have a direct hotline for that. Call (828) 328‐5551.
- Hickory is known for having aggressive drivers, which include speeding, racing, running red lights, and tailgating. It’s important to just get out of the way or ignore other drivers. Police do frequent campaigns to catch these drivers, and you don’t want to risk getting involved in road rage.
- You’ll need a fishing license to cast bait in any North Carolina river or lake. You can purchase that online at the Go Outdoors North Carolina website. Be sure you purchase the inland license, not the coastal license.
- Most parking in Downtown Hickory will have a three-hour time limit. You can use the map on the city’s website to find the perfect parking lot for your Hickory itinerary.
- North Carolina has many entertainment districts, which means you can carry around alcoholic beverages if you are 21 or older. The are rules and time frames that come with that. You can review the details on the Hickory Visitor’s Guide found on the city’s website.
- Hickory is also a town with a lot of pedestrians and cyclists. As a pedestrian, never cross outside a crosswalk (see #4 above) and even in a crosswalk, be sure the cars see you by establishing eye contact. It’s good etiquette to wave to the driver a quick “thank you” as you pass.
- If you need a shuttle to or from the airport, call the Hickory Hop at (828) 327-2340 to make reservations.
- For anyone visiting the great outdoors, North Carolina practices “Pack it in, Pack it Out,” meaning you carry all trash with you and dispose of it once you leave the park. This includes things like orange peels, pet waste, and cigarette butts. If it wasn’t there when you arrived, don’t leave it behind. This helps protect the fragile environment.
So... How Safe Is Hickory Really?
Hickory is a bit of a mystery, as it ranks as “one of the most dangerous” for a city of its size, yet U.S. News and World Report ranks it as one of the best cities for families due to the low cost of living.
The latest official crime date we have dates back to 2021.
Violent crime rates were 37% higher than the state average and 44% higher than the national average.
One standout was the number of homicides, which was 157% higher than the national average.
The positive side of that for a tourist is that fewer than 13% of violent crimes happened against strangers over the past five years.
More than 47% of those crimes were in private homes.
Theft is 123% higher than the national average, fueled by shoplifting and car break-ins/accessory thefts, which made up for 72% of all thefts.
Car break-ins took 36% of that number.
It’s a risk you can lower by keeping your vehicle locked at all times and leaving it empty of personal items – no cords, GPS holders, receipts, etc.
There’s a great sense of “Mind your own business and don’t go looking for trouble” in cities like Hickory.
Even the best intentions, like trying to stop a shoplifter or getting involved in a verbal argument to calm the tone, can lead to trouble.
I’ve researched many North Carolina cities, and I don’t see the “one of the most dangerous” labels sticking.
I do see a town that has more than its fair share of crime and ongoing efforts to lower the risk.
You can help that cause by following the safety steps we’ve discussed here.
How Does Hickory Compare?
|New York City||67|
|Niagara Falls (Canada)||87|
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)||60|
International visitors will need a visa or visa waiver, plus a passport that isn't within six months of expiring. You can start with the Visa Wizard on the U.S. State Department website to find the visa process that fits your travel needs.
It's only the U.S. Dollar that will be accepted anywhere here. Try to avoid using cash, but you can exchange currency if you have an account at a local bank. If not, some ATMs will disperse cash with the currency exchange. Just be sure to use one that is inside a bank's security system.
You'll get four seasons of weather here, but the humidity in summer might be intense. You'll want bug spray and clothing comfortable enough to wear when you're sweating. Winters can get cold, but it's a rather mild version compared to the Northern states.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport is about an hour away, and you won't have to deal with much Charlotte traffic to get there. There is a currency exchange option at the airport. This is a major travel hub, and it's the best airport to consider for a trip to Hickory.
When booking trips where weather could impact your itinerary, purchasing travel insurance is advised. Additionally, if your health insurance is only valid in your home country, look into supplemental medical coverage abroad. Also, confirm your rental car policy covers liability in the event of a collision or need for roadside assistance.
Hickory Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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North Carolina - Safety by City
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