Conquering Concord

North Carolina City Delivers on Food, Unique Finds and Action

Whether it’s this spring’s NASCAR race in May that brings you to Concord, North Carolina, or something entirely different, once here you’ll find there’s more to this city located in the Charlotte metropolitan area.

There’s always time for shopping! With Concord being home to North Carolina’s biggest outlet mall and shopping center, why not? Concord Mills, featuring more than 200 stores, even houses family fun venues including Dave and Buster’s, a 24-screen AMC and IMAX movie theater and the SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium. Dining options are also onsite—and for this family of three on the move, Bonefish Grill served up a convenient location and memorable meals as well. For dessert, you’ll find plenty of winning homemade flavors, such as maple syrup and blueberry, at the local popular spot OMG Donuts & Bakery.

Walk off the food and treats by taking in more dining and shopping options that are within reach by foot in the downtown area of Concord, the county seat and largest city in Cabarrus County. You’ll also get to take in some of the city’s historical features—in the architectural styles of homes in downtown Concord. This includes Craftsman-style bungalows and Queen Anne Victorian homes.

A trip to Concord is even more complete with a visit to The Depot at Gibson Mill, where you’ll have your pick at endless unique finds, thanks to some 750 booths, at what’s considered the largest antique mall in the South. For two true treasure hunters by my side, the spot definitely delivered.

Those itching for loads of action—like what you’ll find with the aforementioned NASCAR Cup series race—will want to attend the Coca-Cola 600 on May 28. You’ll find plenty of action at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The annual race—reportedly the longest race, at some 4 hours, on the NASCAR schedule—draws massive crowds to take in the sights and sounds. Make sure to have those earplugs handy as you root for favorite drivers, such as Bubba Wallace, the second Black driver to win the NASCAR Cup Series, Joey Logano and others.

Move from the track to the sky with some indoor skydiving fun at iFLY in Concord. For first timers like my 14-year-old daughter and me, the experience called for us to put on a bit of bravery as we donned our flight suits. It proved a bit challenging to control our bodies as they were lifted into the air, but the flight instructors were there every step of the way. The good news is that the experience is for all skill levels, from rookies like us to the more seasoned—and it’s one most any age can take on.

If racing is really your thing and you’re needing a bit more excitement than the Coca-Cola 600, check out the Richard Petty Driving Experience, also at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. There, you can drive a NASCAR race car around a 1.5-mile track of the Speedway.

Those looking to pay tribute to the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr., in some way may appreciate a stop at the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Plaza, which showcases a 9-foot, 900-pound bronze statue of the legendary driver, who tragically lost his life when he crashed during the last lap of the Daytona 500 in February 2001. The plaza is located in the downtown area of nearby Kannapolis, North Carolina, Earnhardt’s hometown that also boasts its own set of attractions. Kannapolis, also in Cabarrus County, is another walkable area with shopping, dining and a bit of musical heritage, thanks to its North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.

The fun doesn’t have to stop when you settle in. At Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, families can enjoy indoor waterpark fun and indoor activities and games such as bowling and arcade games onsite. Kids can splash, swim and slide—all before diving into a good night’s sleep.

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