How to Make the Most of a Short Pit Stop in Cabarrus County

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Whether you have two hours to explore or plan to spend the night in Cabarrus County, use these ideas to design the perfect itinerary for your brief time in town.

June 12, 2023

couple walking and drinking coffee

If You Have Two Hours …

Stroll and Sip Downtown

Whether it’s coffee or bubble tea, cider or craft beer, grab something to sip and wander through the social district in Downtown Kannapolis. Get your steps in with a lap around Atrium Health Ballpark and pop into local boutiques along the way. You’ll also find fun underground including duckpin bowling, an arcade and slot car racing.

Union Street runs through the heart of Downtown Concord and marks the ideal spot to spend a few hours in Cabarrus County. Stroll through shops like The Bead Lady, The Mercantile, Buzz City Games and Goldberry Books to find unique gifts and specialty items. 

historic building with intricate architecture
woman holding to-go coffee cup
guitars on display

With limited time and a lot to see, it’s best to eat on the go. Grab coffee from Press & Porter or Mac Tabby Cat Café (and peek into the room where adoptable cats lounge and play) or satisfy your sweet tooth with a scoop of ice cream from Cabarrus Creamery. You can enjoy them while walking downtown and snapping photos in front of the murals, taking in some public art or admiring the architecture of the 1876 Cabarrus County Courthouse.

For another quick experience in Cabarrus County, visit SEA LIFE Aquarium. This amazing underwater world takes about 60-90 minutes to explore and guests can add on a 20-minute guided Beyond the Surface Tour.

If You Have Half a Day…

Try a Tour or Trail

In Mt. Pleasant, Southern Grace Distilleries offers one of the most unique tours around. Take the “Behind Bars” tour to learn about the facility which once served as a prison. You’ll have the chance to sample their award-winning spirits on this tour, but bourbon connoisseurs should consider the Private Barrel House Tasting or Private Bourbon Experience for an in-depth look at the process.

Craving some sunshine? Stretch your legs along the Carolina Thread Trail. Several segments of this regional network are within Cabarrus County and, paired with area parks, are the perfect way to spend a morning or afternoon.

If you’ve got more time to explore and you’re a motorsports fan, you’re in the right place. First up: Design your own self-guided tour of NASCAR race shops for a behind-the-scenes look at how teams prepare for race day. Hendrick Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing, Trackhouse Racing and others are all located in Cabarrus County and are open to the public.

damaged race car on display
race fan taking photo of car on display
race cars on track

And don’t leave before touring Charlotte Motor Speedway and experiencing its 24-degree banked turns! The Feel the Thrill Tour lasts 45 minutes to one hour and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the superspeedway, four-lane dragstrip and dirt track. You’ll even go on a ride around the track to see what drivers experience on race days.

Check our calendar for dates of upcoming races and other special events happening while you’re in town.

gold pan

If You’re Staying Overnight…

Immerse in Our History

From the historic architecture and picturesque parks to the restaurants, wineries and craft breweries, a night in Cabarrus County is a night well spent. Start the day with a stroll through Memorial Garden in downtown Concord and see ancient oaks and colorful gardens. Walk down North Union and South Union streets to enjoy the historic district that encompasses a one-mile stretch along tree-lined streets dotted with stately houses and churches.

Take a deep dive into Cabarrus County’s history by stepping into underground mine tunnels. Learn all about the history of gold mining right where the metal was first discovered in 1799, Reed Gold Mine. This state historic site is filled with walking trails, exhibits and equipment on display, and even offers the chance to find your own gold with panning from April to October.

Next, engage in some retail therapy. If you prefer vintage, The Depot at Gibson Mill is the place to be. Shop 750 booths stocked with a curated collection of jewelry, clothing and home goods. Have additional time? Extend your shopping adventure at Concord Mills. The largest outlet and value retail shopping center in North Carolina features more than 200 brand-name retailers from Coach and Kate Spade New York to H&M.

neon marquee
couple looking at vintage records
family walking in shopping mall

Shopping works up an appetite that the menu at 73 & Main is sure to satisfy. The former hosiery mill turned restaurant serves steak, pork chops, seafood and pasta, and the bourbon bar, stocked with rare and antique bourbons, offers the perfect after dinner drink.

Spend the evening seeing the latest release at the Gem Theatre in Kannapolis, a single screen movie theater that has been in operation since 1936; catch a live performance at the Swanee Theatre in Kannapolis or at the Davis Theatre, a 227-seat theater located on the second floor of the 1876 courthouse in downtown Concord; or enjoy a pint of craft beer at one of Cabarrus County’s many breweries.

crew performing pit stop

Plan Your Pit Stop

Along with mapping out activities to enjoy, find the perfect place to stay to fit your plans. Need additional assistance? Send us a message on social media, stop by the Visitor Center or give us a call at 800-848-3740.

Information at your fingertips.

Need info on the go? Browse the digital Destination Guide online now for details on restaurants, attractions, shops, parks, museums and more.

Destination Guide