Dale Earnhardt Tribute
The town on Kannapolis has exactly one thing in which a tourist- and one who is a NASCAR fan- would be interested. That is the Dale Earnhardt tribute. Full disclosure: I'm a Rusty Wallace fan. I made the trip to Kannapolis as a cultural trip. From the 1970s through to his untimely death in a February, 2001 race accident, he was known as The Intimidator driving number 3 which made many love him or hate him. Very few NASCAR fans were indifferent. Shortly after his untimely death, this monument pictured here (together with a lifelike statue) became a shrine with folks coming from all over at once to pay tribute. I heard it said in the Kannapolis-Concord area, the day of the tragic accident in Daytona, it was as if the President had died.
Old Cabarrus County Courthouse
This courthouse was built in 1876 at a time when Cabarrus County was a rural hinterland a long wagon ride from Charlotte. As the county grew into a major suburban area with 136,418 inhabitants (countywide) as of the last census, it needed more modern facilities. Fortunately, the county took great care to preserve this architectural oddity for all to see. I don't know much about architecture, but this courthouse is like none I had ever seen before.
Union Street is the heart of downtown Concord and the charming shops and coffeehouses along this stretch are all unique and worth a look. You won't find any national chains like Starbuck's or McDonald's around here. Insead, you'll find small, locally-owned shops selling everything from gifts to antiques and clocks to ice cream.
Beautiful, old homes
Just outside of the commercial strip of Union Street, you'll pass through a few blocks of this charming neighorhood lined with historic homes. Nat and I parked the car here and walked around a bit taking in the atmosphere and admiring some of the old mansions. Call the number below for information about seasonal tours of these historic beauties.
Experience the shops in Downtown Concord
Downtown has a wide variety of shops including a Cuban diner, French Chocolatier & wine bar, Caribbean restaurant, gourmet restaurants, a dive shop, antique & specialty shops, a soda shop, outstanding sandwich shops, and bakeries, all in about 4 square blocks. There is also a fabulous memorial garden down the street and an art gallery located in the historic courthouse. In 2008, Concord started a new tradition - every 4th Saturday of the month, downtown is turned into a giant cruise-in where you can stroll past dozens of classy and classic cars into the evening and listen to rockin' tunes from the local music shop. And from May through September, evening concerts ranging from beach, to blues, to classic rock dominate the courthouse lawn every third Thursday evening. Downtown is hardly a vacation destination, but can be a great diversion from the race week speedway crowds, or the hustle & bustle of Concord Mills. Parking is free and convenient, and you're also close to historic neighborhoods that feature unique 19th century architecture that is complemented by the owners' colorful gardens.
- Family Travel
Lowes Motor Speedway
Lowes Motor Speedway is one of my favorite tracks on the Nascar racing circuit, and has always proven to be one of the most exciting. They have 3 major races here a year, Memorial Day weekend always has the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race of the year, as well as one of the most exciting races of the year the Saturday night prior to that, the All-Star event, where a very large winners purse creates some very exciting and aggresive racing. there is also a NASCAR race in the fall, ass well as lesser ranked drivers races throughout the year. I went to the 600 and the Busch race last memorial day weekend, and upon writing this just returned from a very exciting All-Star race!
now i know this is technically a shopping tip... but this mall is more of an attraction than anything else.... so this is why it's listed here for ya.... :-)
tourists come here (seriously) to see it..
Concord Mills opened in the fall of 1999, and has been a big attraction ever since. At this mall you'll find outlet stores, a huge Bass Pro Shops store, a huge AMC movie theatre, a Jillian's (this place includes a bar, a bowling alley, pool tables, a dance club, and a game room), and all the other typical mall stores. This is definitely the largest Charlotte area mall.
Not only is the mall a big attraction, but everything around it is, also.... in the past 3 years or so, the road the mall is on has grown into a big "strip" of restaurants, shops, and traffic headaches. You'll never be out of things to do here, or places to eat..... and new things pop up all the time.
(see also shopping tips for Charlotte for more info.)
Frank Liske Park
Frank Liske Park is hidden on the edge of Concord. This park has hiking trails, a fitness trail, sports fields (including baseball, soccer, and volleyball), tons of playgrounds, paddle boats, picnic areas, miniature golf, and a duck pond, too!!!!
Also, from the barn area, there is a GREAT view of Charlotte and Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord.
- Hiking and Walking
See the boulders!!!
All around Concord, you'll find hundreds and hundreds of boulders. Some of them are as big as a small house, and some of them are as small as a dog, but they are everywhere, and a sight to see. I don't know how they got there... perhaps due to some ancient volcanic activity... and that's what makes it interesting!!!
Lowe's Motor Speedway
Lowe's Motor Speedway is right on the edge of Harrisburg. Technically the speedway is located in Concord, but the Harrisburg town limit is only 1 mile away. Whenever the races come to town, the area is bustling with activity. Lowe's Motor Speedway is huge, and definitely worth seeing. The two big races are in late May and late October. If you're not into large crowds, but you still want to experience the feel of the speedway, you can catch a poll night instead of a race. You still get all the action of the speeding cars and loud sounds, but you don't get nearly the traffic or crowds.
Lake Norman - Duke Power State PArk
Not in Concord and atleast an hours drive away but worth it. There is hiking, biking, swimming and camping. Swimming area is reallky kool. You can rent canoes and there are trails to explore.
Also known as Lake Norman State park.
It is really wacky trying to get there you must weave down several country roads following the signs but it is a gorgeous drive.
- National/State Park
- Family Travel
Historic Cabarrus Courthouse
The Historic Cabarrus Courthouse dates to 1876 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The new courthouse is located right next door in a much more modern and drab building.
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