What Is Concord, NC, Like? 5 Things To Consider

Concord, North Carolina, is one of the ten largest cities in North Carolina. Still, it is often overlooked because it is a ring city to Charlotte. And it is true that as Charlotte grows, Concord also grows. But what is Concord, NC, like?

Concord is a unique city in its own right. Concord is worth visiting and even considering as a place to live.

What Is Concord, NC, Like?

Concord, North Carolina, has a rich history. Visitors enjoy the quaint downtown area and historic buildings like Gibson Mill. Still, NASCAR is a big-time attraction and a major regional employer. The Concord Mills shopping mall is also one of the busiest destinations in North Carolina.

What is Concord NC known for? Racing and more.

1. Small Town Feel Near The Big City

Most people don’t even realize that the downtown area in Concord is located about five miles away from the main interstate interchange featuring Charlotte Motor Speedway and Concord Mills.

This is one of the reasons that Concord maintains that small-town feel. Downtown Concord, NC, features historic brick buildings and walkable streets. There are restaurants, coffee shops, and other small local businesses that stay busy with heavy foot traffic.

The downtown area is about 20 miles from Uptown Charlotte, but the two cities border each other just north of I-485. In fact, some locations, such as Hendrick Motorsports, have a Charlotte address even though they are in the Concord city limits.

As a result, Concord maintains its small-town charm, even though residents have access to the many things to do in Charlotte.

Downtown Concord, NC, is home to bakeries, coffee shops, bookstores, churches, and much more.

2. Diverse Economy & Employment

It’s true that many people that live in the Concord area commute to Charlotte for work. But Concord is also booming, which is big for the local economy.

The biggest local employers are institutions like Atrium Health Cabarrus and Cabarrus County Schools. Still, the aggregated impact of shopping row and the racing industry is a major driver for the local economy.

The area surrounding Concord Mills is so popular that the state had to install a ramp and bridge for turning left into the mall from the interstate off-ramp. And it’s not just Concord Mills, either. Restaurants and retail are largely filling this corner of the county to support the local apartment boom.

And the racing industry is huge. NASCAR has a research and development center in Concord, and several teams also have their headquarters in the area.

Concord Mills in Concord, NC

3. Fun Attractions & Things To Do

Speaking of NASCAR, Charlotte Motor Speedway draws thousands and thousands of loyal racing fans to Concord each year. And while lesser known, ZMAX Dragway and The Dirt Track at Charlotte area are also major attractions featured prominently on the race track grounds.

If there was ever a town for car lovers to visit, it is Concord, North Carolina. Some of the race teams have museums which are a blast to visit. Plus, you also find the Mustang Owner’s Museum near the racetrack.

We also recommend that you visit the downtown area and Gibson Mill. The AutoBarn offers classic car storage open to the public, which just scratches the surface for Gibson Mill.

The adaptive reuse mill also features a modern food hall, one of the largest antique malls in the south, and countless other small businesses. Gibson Mill hosts a brewery and an indoor axe-throwing range. While that seems like a dangerous combination, it’s evidence that the mill is a must-visit local attraction.

While Charlotte might be the headliner regional city, there are plenty of things to do in Concord, NC.

Gibson Mill Concord NC

4. Mild Climate & Geography

North Carolina is known for its mountains and beaches, but most of the big cities are actually located in the Piedmont region in between the mountains and beaches.

Concord is also found in this Piedmont region. You will find rolling hills but no mountains or beaches. Fortunately, neither is that far away. The mountains, in particular, are close enough for a day trip.

Boone is only two hours away. And in the Boone area, you will find great attractions like Tweetise Railroad, Moses Cone Manor on the Blueridge Parkway, Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster, and Grandfather Mountain.

The beach is a little further away, but you can still make an extended day trip to the beach. Wrightsville Beach is about 3.5 hours away from Concord, so that is where we recommend heading when you are ready for a quick trip.

How about the weather? The winters are mild in Concord, but the summers can get hot and humid. All in all, the weather is very nice when you consider the year-round weather, but you should be ready for the summer. Air conditioning is a must. 😅

So, what is Concord, NC, like? You will find rolling hills and mild temperatures.

Beautiful foliage in the Piedmont region.

5. Unique History

Concord was first settled way back in the 1750s by immigrants, and it was first incorporated in 1806. Since the United States of America is a fairly young country, this actually makes Concord a fairly old city.

The name Concord means “to bring into harmony,” which is fitting for the southern hospitality you will find as you stroll through Concord’s downtown area.

Cotton Mills were a major part of the local economy for many years. While in Charlotte, you can visit the ever-popular Optimist Hall; in Concord, Gibson Mill is the best representation of this cotton mill heritage.

These beautiful brick buildings were made to last, and today they serve as beautiful homes for small businesses of the next generation.

Of course, racing is also a major part of Concord’s more recent history. The Charlotte Motor Speedway was designed and built in 1959. Since then, the speedway has served as an anchor for Concord’s more modern identity.

It’s not simply racing. Racing teams have advanced manufacturing facilities and serve as de facto research and development arms for major car manufacturers. Plus, NASCAR itself has research and development facilities in the Concord area.

The official NASCAR headquarters and Hall of Fame may be down in Charlotte, but the heart of racing is Concord.

ZMAX Dragway in Concord, NC

Concord, NC, Is Worth a Visit

So, what is Concord, NC, like? Concord is a growing city that maintains its small-town charm. The downtown area is quaint, but attractions like the Charlotte Motor Speedway and Concord Mills are major destinations in North Carolina.

Concord is a great place to visit and a wonderful place to live. It’s within an easy commute from Charlotte but far enough away to offer a slightly slower pace of living.

Jeremiah moved to the Charlotte area with his wife, Erin, back in 2013. The family has grown over the years, and they now call the Carolinas home. They enjoy hiking and adventures, road trips, backyard fire pits, and pizza night. Jeremiah loves to explore, and looks forward to sharing tips, tricks, and resources for your next trip.