Kids shouldn’t be the only ones who get a winter break. Treat yourself to a long weekend filled with fun winter activities, hearty meals and more! Bundle up and take your bike through wooded trails, enjoy a movie at a historic cinema, drink whiskey in an old prison and take your friends out for midday drinks at a winery. All 12 of the activities listed below are located within Cabarrus County, so you can spend more of your time enjoying your winter break and less time traveling to your next destination.
Here’s what you need to plan the grown-up winter break you deserve.
Morning: Retail Therapy
Hit Concord Mills, North Carolina’s largest outlet and value retail shopping center, to shop for all your winter essentials. With more than 200 stores, you’re sure to find what you need — whether you’re looking for a wardrobe upgrade (Michael Kors Outlet and kate spade new york), outdoor gear (Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and Dick’s Sporting Goods) or gifts for the kids (LEGO Store and Carter’s). Plan to grab lunch at one of the mall’s many dining options — from fast-food to sit-down restaurants.
Afternoon: Time to Fly
Feel the thrill of flying with iFLY indoor skydiving in Concord. A certified coach will prepare you for your session, then you’ll enter a flight chamber with enough upward air to keep you suspended, mid-air, within the chamber. You can go with a group of friends and watch and photograph each other’s turn at (seemingly) defying gravity.
Evening: A Stunning Night at the Speedway
After an adrenaline rush, slow things down at the Speedway! If you come to Charlotte Motor Speedway before Jan. 8, 2022, you can drive through Speedway Christmas, where millions of twinkling lights transform the track into a holiday wonderland. But even after the holiday festivities, you can come here to enjoy a meal at The Speedway Club. It’ll be one of your most memorable dining experiences — an elegant dinner with a sprawling view of the superspeedway.
Morning: Head for the Trails
Grab your bike and hit the Harrisburg Half Mountain Bike Trail — with layers or without! On a winter day, the trails are quiet and peaceful. Whether you’re a beginner who prefers a paved trail or an experienced rider ready for switchbacks, rooty technical sections and creek crossings, a morning spent here is the perfect way to kick off the day. The trails all sit within Harrisburg Park — which the National Wildlife Federation has designated a wildlife habitat — so if you have time, stick around and explore walking trails at a slower pace to spot some furry or feathered residents.
Afternoon: Admire the Arts
On the first floor inside the 1876 historic Cabarrus County Courthouse in Historic Downtown Concord, the Cabarrus Arts Council curates four galleries with one-of-a-kind works. Take home one of your own from the current annual pottery exhibition and sale, “Clay,” on display until Jan. 21, 2022. Downtown Concord also boasts historic homes, boutiques and lots of local eateries that are perfect for lunch or coffee.
Evening: A Lovely Lockup
You won’t mind getting locked up here. Set in a nearly-century-old prison, Southern Grace Distilleries in Mt. Pleasant distills whiskey and bourbon in small batches, adhering to high standards of quality in craft liquor. On select Friday evenings, you can join an after-hours tour of the prison to see areas not shown during the standard tour. And be warned: This is a hotspot for paranormal investigators on the hunt for ghosts — as such, you just might need a drink when the tour ends. Head around the corner to 73 & Main, where the bar is stocked with one of the largest selections of bourbon in the state, including more than 35 rare and antique varieties. Plus, savor an outstanding meal — some of the menu items are even made with local spirits from Southern Grace.
Morning: Explore Downtown Kannapolis
Strolling the streets of the newly revitalized (and very charming) Downtown Kannapolis introduces you to endless ways to spend your time — and a little money. For starters, you can grab a coffee at Local Patriot Roasting Co. (and buy an extra for a veteran, too) and choose a pastry from Eat Cakes Bakery. Then, shop for the newest trends at boutiques like 3 jem’s and Lennon Boutique. Finish things off with a walk around the field at Atrium Health Ballpark, home of the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers.
Afternoon: Hunt for Treasure
Spend the afternoon searching for storied finds at The Depot at Gibson Mill. This picker’s paradise houses 88,000 square feet of antique furniture, home decor and more. Before departing with your vintage haul, have lunch at Ellie’s Diner to enjoy everything from burgers, sandwiches and salads to delicious Venezuelan dishes.
Evening: Local Brews
There’s nothing like a winter beer on a cold evening. To sample your way through some of the region’s best seasonal brews — porters and stouts and bocks, oh my! — stay right here in Cabarrus County. You’ll find 10 stand-out craft breweries in the area: Buzzed Viking, Cabarrus Brewing, High Branch, Old Armor, Old Well, Percent, Pharr Mill, Southern Strain and Twenty-Six Acres. Cheers!
Morning: Begin with Brunch
Start your Sunday off right with brunch at 44 Mills Kitchen + Tap. The ever-changing menu here features fresh, local ingredients in must-try meals that pair perfectly with fresh-squeezed mimosas — from biscuits and gravy or a crisp green salad to warm pancakes or waffles with fresh berries.
Afternoon: Wine With a View
Whether you and your friends prefer a sweet, bubbly white wine or a dry, full-bodied red, you’ll all find a favorite at Rocky River Vineyards, a 45-acre vineyard in Midland. Not sure what you like? Choose a flight of five wines or register for a sit-down tasting of eight wine varieties to sample even more. Beer lovers, come along, too — they’ve got five brands here for you.
Evening: A Movie at the Gem
The Gem Theatre is more than just a place to see a movie — it’s also a place to experience history. It opened in 1936, making it one of the oldest single-screen movie theaters in continuous operation. The ticket booth, lobby and art deco designs offer a glimpse of the classic days of cinema. The low ticket and concession prices do, too.
Book Your Trip
With your winter itinerary all planned out, all that’s left is booking your lodging. Use our list of places to stay and book your trip now!