While Charlotte is the largest city in the Carolinas and the best known, Concord plays an essential part in the region’s prosperity. Still, some people haven’t heard of Concord, which sits about 20 miles from Uptown Charlotte. So what is Concord, North Carolina, known for? Let’s dive in and explore.
What Is Concord, North Carolina, Known For?
Concord, North Carolina, is best known as the home to NASCAR operations and the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Beyond racing, the area surrounding Concord Mills is a major North Carolina destination for shopping. The beautiful and historic downtown area, including Gibson Mill, is also worth visiting.
1. Racing & Charlotte Motor Speedway
If there is one thing that Concord is known for above all else, it’s that it is the center of the NASCAR racing world. On one hand, it’s surprising that a town of 100,000 people is so prevalent in racing, but NASCAR is headquartered in Charlotte. Concord is also home to the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Plus, many (if not most) racing teams are located in the area. While the NASCAR headquarters and Charlotte Motorspeedway are factors drawing teams to the area, the racing teams are the main reason that Concord is so central to racing.
For example, the prominent Hendrick Motorsports headquarters is one mile from the Charlotte Motor Speedway. As one of the premier racing teams, the Hendrick Motorsports facilities feature cutting-edge facilities and technology. There is also a museum on-site, which you can visit on weekdays.
Other teams, such as RFK Racing (Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing) are also headquartered in Concord. Even more teams, such as Joe Gibbs Racing in Huntersville, are located within a few miles of Concord, North Carolina.
Charlotte Motor Speedway is home to multiple race events each year. For years, it was home to the annual NASCAR All-Star Race, though that event now rotates between courses. Still, the newest addition of the “roval” course is one of the many reasons Charlotte is still a special stop on the racing circuit.
The “roval” course utilizes the main racing track (the oval), but also winds through the infield, which turns the race track into a road course.
You will also find the ZMax Dragway, a dirt track, The Speedway Club, and camping grounds at or surrounding the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
2. Shopping & Concord Mills
While it might seem odd to list a mall as something a town is known for, Concord Mills features more than 200 stores. It is the largest outlet mall in the state of North Carolina and also features go-karts, a movie theater, and SEA Life Charlotte.
SEA LIFE Charlotte is an aquarium at Concord Mills. It features thousands of fish, sharks, and other ocean wildlife. The aquarium claims to be the state’s only underwater ocean tunnel, and it is a fantastic destination if you have kids.
Keep in mind that the aquarium is part of a larger mall, so it is fairly small, but it is still a worthwhile visit if you are in the area. Concord Mills is a great place to kill some time with my kids. And I never thought I would say that. Still, we’ve found ourselves at Concord Mills on many Saturdays.
In addition to SEA LIFE, the go-karts, and the movie theater, you will also find a Lego store and a train store with working model trains. The Bass Pro Shop is also a favorite stop for my kids because they also have a giant pool with live fish.
But don’t let me digress and distract you from the shopping. Concord Mills is such a popular destination that they installed a bridge that allows visitors to turn left into the mall. This place is crazy busy year-round and extra busy during the holidays.
Concord Mills now serves as an anchor for an entire shopping destination (5 minutes from the Charlotte Motor Speedway). Other shopping options and restaurants fill the area. There is even a Great Wolf Lodge Water Park just across the interstate from Concord Mills. It is located between the shopping mall and the speedway.
3. A Beautiful & Historic Downtown Area
Concord is home to a beautiful downtown area, with a small town main street that is well-maintained and thriving.
You will also find the old Gibson Mill just around the corner from downtown Concord, NC. The mill operated steadily from 1899 until 2003, churning out textiles, but today Gibson Mill serves a far different purpose. Now, it serves as a gathering spot for the community and is home to local small businesses.
The most recent addition at Gibson Mill is the Gibson Market, a locally-sourced food hall. Inside the Gibson Market, you will find various options ranging from BBQ to pizza and goodies like gourmet cookies. Gibson Market is similar to Optimist Hall in Charlotte, a much larger food hall also in a revitalized mill.
The significant difference between Gibson Mill and Optimist Hall is that Gibson Mill is home to much more than a food hall. You will also find The Depot at Gibson Mill and AutoBarn at Gibson Mill, as well as other fun destinations like a game room and an axe-throwing range.
The Depot at Gibson Mill is the largest antique mall in the south. It is well-known among antique lovers throughout the region. The AutoBarn is a classic car exhibition in which classic car owners can store their cars or place them on consignment for sale. Like The Depot at Gibson Mill, people travel far and wide to visit the AutoBarn.
Is Concord, NC, Worth Visiting?
Concord, NC, is worth visiting because it is home to some of the most popular tourist destinations in the Charlotte metropolitan area. Concord is home to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and Concord Mills, and Downtown Concord and Gibson Mill are also charming destinations.
Plus, locations like The Smoke Pit offer some of the best BBQ in the Charlotte area.
Is There Anything Special About Concord, NC?
The racing industry sets Concord, NC, apart from other regional destinations. Concord is home to NASCAR operations, multiple racing team headquarters, and Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Speedway grounds are home to the ZMAX Dragway, a dirt track, and the main race track.
Other attractions like Concord Mills and the Gibson Mill are also worth visiting. Still, the various racing events are the main attraction, and there are plenty of things to do in Concord, NC. It is also known as the home of the Avett Brothers.
Not In The Mountains, But It Is Worth Visiting
While those visiting North Carolina often plan to visit the mountains, Concord is located in the Piedmont region. The foothills region is very hilly. The mountains are only about 2 hours away, but Concord is not in the mountains.
Still, Concord, North Carolina, is known for NASCAR and racing, and there are plenty of things to do in the Concord region. You can also check out the top things to do in Charlotte. The two cities border each other, and the heart of Concord is only 20 miles from Uptown Charlotte.