Once a rural outpost, Concord has become an extension of the Queen City, causing a surge in population and development. Located just 20 miles and a 30-minute drive from Uptown, the landscape is dominated by tract housing, strip malls, and chain restaurants. There is also a historic downtown and several not-to-be-missed attractions, especially for NASCAR fans.
The Cabarrus County Visitors Center (3003 Dale Earnhardt Blvd., Kannapolis, 704/782-4340, www.visitcabarrus.com) is a good source of information about the area. The website lists attractions, accommodations, dining, and shopping with a special emphasis on activities for race fans.
The sights in Concord are spread out and can require a considerable amount of driving. Book one of the NASCAR-centric tours and let someone else figure out the directions.
Garage Pass Shop Tours (810 Treva Ann Dr., 704/455-2819, www.garagepassshoptours.com) runs group and individual tours to major racing sites like Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR race shops, and racing museums.
Race Shop Tours (PO Box 5282, Mooresville, 704/788-8802, www.raceshoptours.com), as its name suggests, provides guided tours of area race shops. Their slogan, “23 teams in one seven-hour tour,” sums up their offerings.
Getting to Concord
Concord is part of Cabarrus County. It anchors the north end of Charlotte and is just 20 miles from Uptown. It’s best reached via I-85 or U.S. Highway 29. The Concord Kannapolis Area Transit RIDER ($1, 704/920-7433, www.ckrider.com) runs throughout Cabarrus County with connections to the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS, $0.60–3, 704/336-7433, www.charmeck.org/departments/CATS).
It can be difficult to get a well-timed connection between Charlotte and points in Cabarrus County and travel times are long (expect to spend upwards of an hour traveling from Uptown Charlotte to Charlotte Motor Speedway, for example). Amtrak (800/872-7245, www.amtrak.com) arrives in Cabarrus County at Kannapolis Station.
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition