National Geographic Travel Recognizes Hickory as One of This Year's Best Small Cities in America


National Geographic Traveler, the world's most widely read travel magazine, recently unveiled its 29 "Cities on the Rise" based on a unique set of metrics, as well as expert picks from its editors. Hickory, N.C. made the list of National Geographic Travel's Best Small Cities for 2018, as one of the most "Hipster Friendly" cities in America!

The article, featured in the February/March 2018 issue of Traveler magazine and online at www.natgeo.com/bestsmallcities, makes the following statement about Hickory: "A thriving 20th-century manufacturing hub for furniture and textiles, Hickory now finds itself heading our list for its hipster-friendly offerings, from tattoo parlors to vintage clothing boutiques. Craft-beer enthusiasts gather at the popular annual Hickory Hops festival featuring more than 50 microbreweries and live music."

"It is an honor for Hickory to be recognized by National Geographic Traveler, a high caliber, world renowned publication," said Hickory City Manager Warren Wood. "With a growing craft beer scene, a vibrant Downtown, eclectic shops, and a robust arts and cultural community, Hickory is attracting a variety of residents and visitors to share in this experience."

To identify these rising small cities like Hickory, Traveler worked with global destination branding advisors Resonance Consultancy in developing a Small Cities Index, a survey that drew from statistics and social media mentions to determine which cities rank highest in a variety of distinctive, fun categories including green spaces, coffee shops, live music and even Instagrammable moments.

"At Traveler we're passionate about tales of urban renewal, about communities that have collaborated to improve their main streets, about smart cities that have pursued development policies that produce happiness. In this article, we report on authentic small cities that each embody a surprising superlative," says George Stone, National Geographic Traveler editor in chief. "Happy places for locals are also rewarding places for travelers. Our index of small cities on the rise is based on unconventional metrics that we think produce happiness: green spaces, coffee shops, breweries, music venues, Instagrammable moments and puppies!"

Traveler's 29 Best Small Cities in the U.S. are categorized by 10 key superlatives that influence both residents and visitors alike. Here's the 10categories and related features the index factored in:

  1. Most Hipster Friendly (coffee shops, tattoo parlors, record shops, vintage stores)
  2. Musically Grooviest (music venues, live music, instrument stores)
  3. Most Instagrammed (hashtags)
  4. Most Artsy (art galleries, art supply stores, art schools)
  5. Best Groomed (barber shops, hair salons, hair removal services, cosmetic dentists)
  6. Meatiest (butchers, delis, steakhouses)
  7. Most Dog Friendly (pet sitting, pet stores, pet groomers, dog friendly restaurants)
  8. Sudsiest (breweries)
  9. Most Caffeinated (coffee shops)
  10. Greenest (parks)

To learn more about Hickory and the other 29 destinations on the list, please visit www.natgeo.com/bestsmallcities.


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