More people visit Concord Mills than any other tourist destination in North Carolina — and it’s easy to see why with so many attractions, including shopping options galore.
Concord Mills, anchored by Concord Mills Mall (simon.com/mall/concord-mills) and Charlotte Motor Speedway, surrounds Exit 49 off I-85 in Cabarrus County near the Charlotte-Mecklenburg line. It’s easily accessible from I-77 (less than 14 miles) via I-485 (about a mile south of the mall).
Many people come for a day of shopping and dining.
The mall has over 200 stories, a full food court, and many restaurants including the Bonefish Grill, Outback Steakhouse, TGI Friday’s and others. A couple dozen other restaurants are within a mile or so of the mall with cuisine ranging from ethnic delights to standard fare like McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A.
Don’t forget about the shooting gallery, children’s play area, and other smaller attractions throughout the oval shaped shopping area. It’s about a mile around inside, so plan to wear comfortable walking shoes.
Dave & Buster’s is also inside the mall and features billiards, bowling and a variety of video and arcade games. There’s plenty to eat and drink and there’s big screen TVs if you want to catch the big game or race.
Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) is just 2.7 miles from Concord Mills Mall. It’s a straight shot down Concord Mills Boulevard to Bruton Smith Boulevard. It’s the same street, just changes names when you cross I-85.
CMS is the home of NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 and the Bank of America ROVAL 400, but is also site of many other special events throughout the year including AutoFair and NHRA racing at the accompanying zMAX Dragway.
The Speedway (charlottemotorspeedway.com) offers tours of the track and the behind the scene operations. Among the special events are drive-in movies on the gigantic big screen TV in the infield and drive-in concerts.
The sportsman in the family no doubt will want to visit Bass Pro Shops (basspro.com/shop/en) near the opposite end of the mall from SEA LIFE. Bass Pro Shops has everything for the outdoors person from guns and ammo to fishing gear, boats and camping supplies.
This retailer is so much more than meets the eye. Along the wall of the shop is a larger-than-life fish tank that keeps kids entertained while adults take advantage of the many resources offered by Bass Pro Shops. For those that enjoy fishing but might need a little help, the staff at the reel and rod repair counter is extremely knowledgeable.
After a day fishing on the water or shopping at the mall, unwind with a pint at one of the many breweries in the area. Twenty-Six Acres (which is a hop, skip, and jump from Concord Mills Mall; 26acres.com) offers a 15-barrel production line with seasonal and experimental offerings. When the weather is warm and dry, dogs are allowed outside and there’s generally a food truck on site.
Newly renovated and down the road, the Great Wolf Lodge is worth an overnight stay with its indoor water park and other on-site (think dry land) attractions.
There's something for everyone such as kid-friendly activities, dining options, interactive games, 11 waterslides, four pools, and more all under one roof. Any stay includes access to the water park, kept warm at 84-degrees year-round.
Inside the Concord Mills Mall is the SEA LIFE Aquarium (visitsealife.com/charlotte-concord) filled with thousands of fish and other aquatic life.
SEA LIFE features demonstrations and feedings throughout the day and there are hands-on activities scattered throughout the various environments. A typical visit to the aquarium averages 60 to 90 minutes but varies depending on the visitor’s interest.
For history buffs, Reed Gold Mine (historicsites.nc.gov/all-sites/reed-gold-mine) is the one of the oldest gold mines in U.S. history and is pegged as the location site of the first discovery of gold in the United States.
Unfortunately, gold panning is closed for the remainder of 2020 because of COVID-19 but there are still plenty of learning opportunities and events coming down the pike.
This is just seeing the tip of the iceberg for Cabarrus County attractions, so wear your walking shoes and possibly plan for an extra day or two.
For more information, visit the Cabarrus County Visitors Center at visitcabarrus.com or call 800-848-3740.
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!