Concord, NC, sits just on the outskirts of Charlotte, North Carolina. You may be familiar with this city because of the famous Charlotte Motor Speedway, but this beautiful town has so many more things to do.
Below, I’ve outlined the best things to do and places to eat in Concord, North Carolina. I’ll also share the budget hotel we stayed in, which made our trip very affordable.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
FUN THINGS TO DO IN CONCORD, NC
Just 13 miles outside of Charlotte, NC, Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts many prestigious NASCAR racing events, such as the Bank of America ROVAL 400 and the Coca-Cola 600.
This speedway is considered the home track for NASCAR, with many race teams located in the area.
Other than the NASCAR events, this speedway has more than 30 different activities for motorsports fans of all ages, including World Karting races, car shows, and swap meets.
Charlotte Motor Speedway Info:
- 5555 Concord Pkwy S, Concord, NC 28027
Located just a mile away from the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord Mills Mall is one of the largest attractions in North Carolina, with millions of visitors each year.
This massive 1.4 million square foot mall has over 200 stores. And on top of shopping, this mall boasts an aquarium, Go-Karts, monster truck rides, mini-golf, a theater, and many dining options.
Hot tip – When planning your trip, keep in mind that the mall is close to other great places like the new Krispy Kreme store, Razoo’s Cajun Cafe, Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, iFLY Concord, Great Wolf Lodge, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
We loved exploring this mall’s fantastic stores, like the Lego Store, Books-A-Million, Burlington Coat Factory, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, H&M, and the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.
But guess what? There are also some great factory outlet stores, like the Nike Factory Outlet Store, Old Navy Outlet, The Disney Outlet Store, Express Factory Outlet, Gymboree Outlet, and more.
The SEA LIFE Aquarium has thousands of aquatic animals, interactive touch pools, and a 360-degree ocean tunnel.
What I love about this aquarium is its conservation efforts. They have successfully bred 9 different species of seahorse, rescued injured seal pups, and raised money to enable Sea Turtle rescue.
And how cool is it that this aquarium is located in a mall?
Book your ticket to the Sea Life Aquarium here through Viator. Tickets start at just $18.99
This mall has a fantastic food court with many restaurants to choose from, including Bonefish Grill, Alino Pizzeria, Chipotle, Dave & Buster’s, Burger King, and more. There are many fast food choices as well as fine dining.
I love this fun and colorful carousel that sits in the middle of the food court!
My daughter, however, headed straight for the Forever 21 store.
We spent most of our time in Forever 21, but I’d love to come back and shop all the other stores.
This is truly a massive mall with so many things to do. You could easily spend a whole day here!
Concord Mills Mall Info:
- 8111 Concord Mills Boulevard, Concord, NC 28027
- Monday through Saturday 10 am – 9 pm and Sunday from 12 pm – 7 pm.
3 – iFLY Concord, NC
Have you always wanted to know what it’s like to go skydiving?
iFLY in Concord will give you a taste of skydiving in a safe indoor environment. You don’t even have to jump or fall, you just gently float on a billowy cushion of controlled air.
You can try regular skydiving, virtual reality skydiving, host a birthday party, or just reserve the place for you and your friends.
Anyone 3 years of age and older can fly. So what’s your excuse?
- 7840 Lyles Lane NW Concord, NC 28027
- Open every day, various hours
4 – Great Wolf Lodge
We didn’t actually go there on this trip, but I did take my kids here when they were younger, and they LOVED it.
This is a fun spot for kids middle-school age and younger, and you can even host their birthday party here.
There is so much to do here, including 11 waterslides, four pools, interactive games, and dining.
Great Wolf Lodge Info:
- 10175 Weddington Rd., Concord, NC 28027
- Open every day, various hours
5 – Memorial Garden
Memorial Gardens in Concord, NC, is a cemetery owned by the First Presbyterian Church of Concord.
And don’t let the fact that this is a cemetery scare you away. This is one of the most beautiful spots in Concord, with tombstones scattered throughout the lush, gorgeous gardens.
To me, it felt like a mini Duke Gardens.
I visited early in the morning and enjoyed taking pictures in the morning light. It was so peaceful and beautiful, and I was the only one there other than the gardener.
Here are a few pictures:
Memorial Garden Info:
- 36 Spring St. SW, Concord, NC 28025
- Check the website for hours. Always closed on Mondays
The Dale Trail is a self-guided tour commemorating the life of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt.
Earnhardt was known as the “Intimidator” for his aggressive driving style and for winning 76 races in his lifetime.
To do the self-guided tour, start by getting your guide at the Cabarrus County Visitor Center. Then proceed to find the 18 sites that commemorate his life and accomplishments.
The sites include a 900-pound statue of Dale and Punchy’s Diner, where you can eat Dale’s favorite sandwich – tomato, lettuce, and Miracle Whip on white bread.
You guessed it! They are all musicians from the great state of North Carolina.
The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame celebrates these great artists and all the other great musicians from North Carolina.
This free museum is a must-see when in Concord! And even though it’s free, you will still want to get tickets beforehand to make sure you can get in.
North Carolina Music Hall of Fame Info:
- 600 Dale Earnhardt Blvd. Kannapolis, NC 28081
Located next to the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame is the Curb Motorsports Museum which is also free.
Mike Curb, the museum’s owner, also owns the leading country music record label in the country. I thought that was pretty cool too!
Current artists under the Curb label include Wynonna Judd, Tim McGraw, Hank Williams, Jr., and Lyle Lovett.
So there you have it, two great places to visit in one stop!
Curb Motorsports Museum Info:
- 600 Dale Earnhardt Blvd. Kannapolis, NC 28081
I really enjoyed strolling the quaint streets of Historic Downtown Concord.
There are many great places to eat, like Downtown Donuts, 2 Gals Kitchen, Not Just Franks, and Butterfly Bakeshop.
There’s The Bead Lady, Chocolatier Barrucand, The Enchanted Kitchen, and Concord’s Best Dressed Kids, among other fun stores for shopping.
While you’re exploring historic downtown Concord, be sure to check out the historic courthouse.
The courthouse has a unique look to it because it was built in three different styles, Classical Revival, Italianate, and Second Empire.
Historic Downtown Concord info:
- Union St N, Concord, NC 28025
Bonus things to do in Concord, NC:
(Because I keep going back to visit..)
Gary and I tried the Prison Break room at The Escape Game in Concord. I didn’t realize I had booked one of the hardest rooms.
We had never done an escape room before, but I’m proud to say we almost escaped it. And we had so much fun trying!
They put us in separate jail cells. We couldn’t see each other, but we could talk to each other about the clues in our rooms. Getting out of our rooms took a lot of communication and teamwork.
Once we escaped our jail cells, there were more surprises in store for us.
We loved it so much that we plan to come back with our kids!
- 8111 Concord Mills Boulevard #129b, Concord, NC
Charlotte is home to haunted cemeteries, hotels, restaurants, and more.
I’ve really enjoyed touring Charlotte and seeing these haunted spots. Many of them are in beautiful historic buildings that are fun to see day or night.
What I love about ghost tours is that you get to hear spooky stories and learn a lot of history about the town along the way.
Visit Speakeasies In Nearby Charlotte, NC
We spent a weekend visiting the speakeasies in Charlotte. Learn where they are and if you’ll need a membership or secret password to visit HERE!
Read our post on how to visit the speakeasies in Charlotte, NC
PLACES TO EAT IN CONCORD, NC
This was definitely one of my favorite things to do while in Concord.
We were there on a beautiful summer night and enjoyed the great selection of food trucks, the large seating area, and the band.
This loaded baked potato was the big surprise. We couldn’t believe how tasty a simple potato could be. It was stuffed with roast beef, veggies, and cheese!
The large seating pavilion at Food Truck Friday offers plenty of space for people to sit and eat while enjoying the band.
It’s also a dog-friendly event, which I loved, as so many cute dogs are hanging out and having a great time. I tried to take pictures of them, but my daughter thought that was a totally creepy thing for her mom to do, so I abstained.
The well-known Cabarrus Brewing Company is right next door to Food Truck Friday. I noticed quite a few people grabbing a beer there to enjoy with their food.
Food Truck Friday Info:
- 329 McGill Ave. NW Concord, NC
- 6 – 10 pm every Friday night from Spring – Fall
This isn’t your typical Krispy Kreme store. This store incorporates ice cream into the menu and the ability to customize your very own doughnut.
Krispy Kreme plans to open 44 of these stores around the United States.
I have a blog post featuring my trip to the store’s grand opening here.
I’d highly recommend a visit to check out the doughnut-infused milkshakes, ice-cream scoop sandwiches and to customize your own doughnut.
Here are the doughnuts we customized. I especially loved the doughnut with the lemon glaze, fruity pebble topping, and marshmallow drizzle!
Krispy Kreme Store Info:
- 8018 Concord Mills Blvd, Concord, NC 28027
If you’re a fan of delicious BBQ, then you must go to The Smoke Pit.
The Smoke Pit serves up some of the best BBQ in North Carolina; some would even argue that it is the best in NC.
The ribs are “fall of the bone” goodness, and the baked beans are outta this world!
I loved that each table has several different bottles of BBQ sauce to try on your delicious meats.
I know this is sayin’ a lot, but here goes…..
They had the best macaroni & cheese I’ve ever tasted.
There was so much gooey, cheesy goodness goin’ on I was in pure heaven. Out of extreme love for my husband, I even took him home some.
I would definitely recommend eating here. Not only was the food incredible, but the service was terrific. My daughter and I were probably checked on 8 times while we dined.
The Smoke Pit info:
- 796 Concord Pkwy N, Concord, NC 28027
I love this retro ice cream shop in downtown Concord.
The man at the counter was a bit surprised that I wanted a banana split at 10:00 in the morning, but he went to work, making a beautiful and tasty creation.
He spent quite a bit of time making sure it was perfect, all the while telling me about the rich history of downtown Concord and what it was like growing up there.
That’s what I love about these small businesses, people take so much pride in their work and love sharing their passion with you.
Cabarrus Creamery info:
- 21 Union St S #5009, Concord, NC 28025
- Open 10:00 am – 9:00 pm Monday – Saturday, 1:00 am – 9:00 pm on Sunday
As we were out and about, my daughter spotted this bright and colorful restaurant and immediately wanted to go.
I told her it wasn’t in the plan, because us adults are all about sticking to our plans, but sometimes, you just have to let adventure happen.
And fortunately, I did because we had a fantastic dinner.
Here’s the delicious Loaded Andouille Cheese Dip that we started our meal with.
I tried the Cajun Combo Skillet for dinner with grilled andouille, shrimp creole, crawfish etouffee, and red beans.
I love it when I get to try several things a restaurant has to offer, and it was wonderful!
The decor inside is bright and colorful. Even the ceiling is fun to look at!
Razzoo’s Cajun Cafe info:
- 8011 Concord Mills Boulevard, Concord, NC 28027
- Open 11:00 am – 10:00 pm Monday – Saturday and 11:00 am – 10 pm on Sunday
If you’re on the “Dale Trail,” you’ll be stopping by Punchy’s Diner for Dale Earnhardt’s favorite sandwich – a lettuce and tomato sandwich with Miracle Whip on white bread.
This was his favorite sandwich because it reminded him of his humble beginnings when he didn’t have a lot of money.
I wasn’t on the “Dale Trail,” but I still enjoyed stopping at this delightful 50’s style diner for this delicious Philly Cheese-steak sandwich with crispy onion rings.
This is a popular spot for breakfast and lunch, so be prepared for a bit of a wait to get a table. But while you wait, you can check out their collection of old cars and memorabilia.
Punchy’s Diner info:
- 550 Concord Pkwy N, Concord, NC 28027
- Open Monday – Saturday 6 am – 3 pm & Sunday 7 am – 2 pm
As we were driving around Concord, we happened to drive by this bright, colorful sign for Papa Robb’s Paradise Ice.
I’m so glad we stopped because this was a hidden gem I hadn’t read about when preparing to come to Concord.
Kids were loving the bouncy house and large yard to run around in.
Here’s a delicious Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sunday that we tried.
Papa Robb’s sells ice cream, popsicles, shaved ice, and milkshakes.
I would definitely recommend visiting here with your kids (or without) to enjoy the playground, bouncy house, and colorful seating.
Papa Robb’s Paradise Ice info:
- 3700 Poplar Tent Rd. Concord, NC 28027
- Open Monday – Sunday from 11 am – 9 pm
Highly-Rated Restaurants We Wish We Could Have Tried Out
Popular BBQ place by Concord Mills Mall that offers slow-cooked BBQ, cheese biscuits, burgers, salads, and sides.
Contemporary Asian dining serving sushi, dim sum, noodles, and martinis.
Italian cuisine is located in historic downtown Concord.
One of my readers who lives in Concord, alerted me to this find. They serve fantastic hot dogs and pretzels.
I’ve seen this restaurant mentioned several times in local Facebook groups for how great the food is. Customers love the sandwiches, handmade pizzas, and delicious burgers.
44 Mills offers inspired, modern, southern cuisine. Menu items range from sandwiches and salads to steak and seafood. They are known for their fantastic craft cocktails.
Cozy restaurant with Cuban coffee, sandwiches, entrees & sides, plus flan or tres leches for dessert. Customers love the friendly, laid-back vibe here.
If you love seafood, this is where the locals go. Customers love the chargrilled oysters, fried shrimp, and coleslaw.
Where we stayed IN CONCORD, NC
We decided to stay at the Quality Inn in Concord, NC. It was only $69 a night and got great reviews.
I didn’t tell my daughter until right before we got there because I knew she might have an “attitude” about my super-budget-friendly choice.
But needless to say, we were both surprised by how beautiful the room was. The hotel has recently been renovated, and they did a great job. And when you can impress a 17-year-old, you know you’re doing something right.
We really liked the outdoor pool and how all the rooms face it so that you can see it from your bedroom.
Here is the free breakfast bar that we enjoyed. It includes waffles, pastries, toast, yogurt, cereal, and hot food like bacon, eggs, and sausage.
Below is a video review we did of our room at the Quality Inn.
Looking for other Concord, NC, Hotels?
Here are my favorites:
- Courtyard Concord – Close to Charlotte Motor Speedway
- Hilton Garden Inn – Indoor pool and free area shuttle
- Hampton Inn & Suites – Close to Great Wolf Lodge
- Country Inn & Suites – Indoor pool & hot tub