Thank you Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau for sponsoring this post.
I was so excited to get the opportunity for Andy and I to take a little road trip this past weekend! North Carolina is one of my favorite nearby states so when I heard I may be able to come visit Cabarrus County and explore their charming towns, I was ecstatic! Cabarrus County is so easy to get to; it’s only a few hours away from Atlanta by car and even has its own regional airport if you want to fly in! It may be known as the place “Where Racing Lives” (because of Charlotte Motor Speedway and other historical racing attributes), but there is so much more to see here.
Having worked in the travel and tourism industry, I’ve found that Visitors Centers can be so helpful when you’re traveling to a place you’ve never been before. Not only do they have travel guides, maps and brochures, but it’s my experience that the hidden treasures are the employees. They are passionate about the area, therefore they know where all of the good spots are. It can be so hard to explore the internet for things to do and places to eat; you end up seeing the chain restaurants only! And I hate chain restaurants. I much prefer to eat at mom-and-pop places where the locals hang out. And typically the Welcome Center is a treasure trove of this information (and coupons!).
Downtown Concord + Kannapolis
As you can see from the photos, the main downtown areas in Cabarrus (Concord and Kannapolis) are adorable. I love exploring small towns that make me feel at home, and I could totally live in one of these places. There was so much charm and history downtown Concord along with cute restaurants and shops. That gorgeous building was their Art Council building and somehow they fit a huge live music stage on the second floor. We had tickets to see Mike Farris perform and he was out of this world. If you like Chris Stapleton mixed with Gavin Degraw, he’s your guy! It was the coolest intimate venue for outstanding music.
And Kannapolis had the Gem Theatre… is there anything sweeter? It is a single show historic theatre, so they play one movie at a time (family friendly of course!) but it’s just so photogenic. I had to get a picture under the old marquee!
In Downtown Concord, we had one of the best meals ever at Gianni’s Trattoria. We don’t eat at Italian restaurants often, and after this meal, I don’t think we will unless it’s at Gianni’s again! We also ate at 2 Gals Kitchen for lunch, Whataburger (the second one!) for dinner and of course for ice cream, Cabarrus Creamery.
Outside of the downtown area, we enjoyed edible cookie dough at Cookie Dough Bliss and the most delicious breakfast at Famous Toastery. We did not have a single bad meal, not even a so-so meal, while we were in town. Now that is what I call a successful trip.
Race to Taste: Cabarrus Brew Tour + Antiquing
If there are two places I love to hang out these days, it’s at a brewery or an antique mall. I was so excited that Cabarrus County had both of these (two breweries even!) located in one building. First of all, the building alone was cool. The Depot is an old building that has been converted into an antique mall, antique car show, two breweries and an event facility. (A lot like PCM in Atlanta!) We spent the first half of our Saturday browsing the aisles of the antique mall and it may be one of favorites I’ve been to. There were so many goodies and it left me wanting to redecorate the house again. We were able to escape with just some homemade jam and apple butter, which I’m trying to find a reason to eat on everything.
After the hunt, we’d worked up just enough appetite for some beer and met up with some local friends at Cabarrus Brewing Co. and High Branch Brewing, which share a parking lot and are about 50 feet from each other. It really couldn’t get more convenient than this, unless maybe they had ice cream too. 🙂
If you live within driving distance to Cabarrus County, I couldn’t speak any higher of this fun, affordable weekend road trip. We only had to fill up on gas twice: before we left Atlanta and before we left Concord to come home. Plus, we spent just under $200 on meals and drinks for the both of us for 2.5 days! I guarantee your whole family will find something you love here, whether you’re a laidback shopper and drinker like us or a family with children. You can find more things to do on their website or download the destination guide!
If photos weren’t enough, watch our travel vlog on my YouTube channel!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. HUGE thank you to Cabarrus County and CLEVER for this amazing opportunity we loved so much!