Photo: Explore Cabarrus

Exploring Gold History, Racing, and the Southeast's Largest Antique Mall in Cabarrus County, North Carolina

North Carolina Insider Guides
by Georgia Fowkes Jun 29, 2023

Located just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, Cabarrus County is an escape from the city proper that has no shortage of things to do. There’s a wealth of adrenaline-fueled experiences, historic treasures at an old gold mine, museums, food markets, and cafés that are perfect for remote workers looking for a change of scenery.

Most famously, the region is home to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. This arena is a draw for NASCAR and other races (including monster truck events and thrilling dirt-track events). Spend some more time in the region, however, and you’ll fall for all of the other things that that Cabarrus County has to offer.

Things to do in Cabarrus County


Experience the thrill of skydiving without jumping out of a plane. At iFLY, you can float around an air chamber with a trained instructor and feel the weightless exhilaration of skydiving minus the extreme heights. This indoor activity is perfect for the whole family, offering an unforgettable adventure that will leave you with lasting memories. To ensure availability, book your session in advance.

iFLY: 7840 Lyles Ln NW, Concord, NC 28027

Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Shop

hendrick motorsports museum cabarrus county

Photo: Explore Cabarrus

Even if you’re not a die-hard NASCAR fan, the Hendrick Motorsports Museum is a must-visit attraction. Immerse yourself in the rich culture of racing history as you explore the museum’s collection of NASCAR relics, including cars, trophies, and helmets from the sport’s most famous figures. Stop by the Museum and Team Store year-round or plan your visit during Fan Fest to check out special offerings like the thrilling live engine build demonstration, where skilled mechanics assemble a fully functioning engine right before your eyes. With a team shop that tempts even the most passive shoppers, this family-friendly museum offers a captivating experience for all ages.

Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Shop: 4425-4471 Papa Joe Hendrick Blvd, Concord, NC 28027

Reed Gold Mine

reed gold mine cabarrus county

Photo: Explore Cabarrus

Discover the birthplace of commercial gold mining in the United States at Reed Gold Mine. Take a stroll through the museum to learn about the fascinating history of how gold mining in Cabarrus County gripped the nation decades before other gold rushes drew people out west. Don’t forget to try your hand at panning for gold — you may not strike it rich, but you will leave with a better appreciation for the skill it takes to land some gold nuggets and dust. Gold panning is held on the hour every hour the museum is open, and each pan only costs $3. Outside of panning, make sure to take a self-guided tour through former mining tunnels, and set aside at least 45 minutes to explore the entire site.

Reed Gold Mine: 9621 Reed Mine Rd, Midland, NC 28107

Gibson Mill

gibson mill cabarrus county

Photo: Explore Cabarrus

With 750 booths spread over 88,000 square feet, The Depot at Gibson Mill is the largest antique mall in the Southeast. From home furnishings to vintage comics, you’ll find a treasure trove of items no matter your interests. With this amount of space, it’s not all about shopping historic goods, of course. There is a food hall, a market, and craft breweries to pass the time at as well. Helpful tip: Johnny Rogers serves a mouthwatering Candied G.O.A.T burger that lives up to its award-winning reputation for all the meat lovers out there.

gibson mill market sign cabarrus county

Photo: Explore Cabarrus

Located in the Gibson Mill Food Hall, Luck Factory Games will quickly capture your attention and hold it. For $5 per person, you can access the games table and enjoy an extensive library of games. Lose track of time as you engage in friendly competition with your partner or friends. The attentive staff members, who are also game experts, will be happy to recommend games based on your preferences. Don’t forget to take advantage of their clever card system for seamless service.

You won’t be able to see it all in one day, but you will be easily entertained for hours on end as you wander the labyrinth of aisles.

Gibson Mill: 325 McGill Ave NW, Concord, NC 28027

Race miniature cars, catch a game, and shop in downtown Kannapolis

downtown kannapolis cabarrus county

Photo: Explore Cabarrus

Take a leisurely walk through the charming strip of downtown Kannapolis for entertainment, activities, shopping, and food. For racing enthusiasts, The Slot Car Track offers an opportunity to race miniature cars, while baseball fans can catch a game at Atrium Health Ballpark, home of the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers. Explore local boutiques and quaint family-owned stores like Old Town Soap Company. Don’t forget to take a break at Local Patriot Roasting Co. and Eat Cakes Bakery, where you can indulge in delicious coffee and homemade cheesecake.

Where to eat and drink in Cabarrus County

Groundwork Common

groundworks coffee cabarrus county

Photo: Explore Cabarrus

For those seeking a productive environment, Groundwork Common is a breakfast spot worth visiting. Arrive before 1:00 PM to savor the hot food offerings. As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a spacious and serene atmosphere, complemented by soft tunes playing in the background. This is the perfect place to stop if you’re in the area for a workcation, with minimal noise and plenty of accessible outlets for charging your devices.

Groundwork Common: 410 Church St N #4548, Concord, NC 28025

Sunflour Baking Company

Start your day with a burst of sunshine at Sunflour Baking Company. This delightful café not only serves up quick and satisfying breakfast food, but also offers a mesmerizing view of the pastry-making process through a kitchen window. Indulge in the no-nonsense breakfast options and be sure to try the incredible pastries, like the irresistible vanilla sugar roll, and the breakfast sandwich on rosemary bread. With plenty of seating available, you can take your time and enjoy a relaxing morning.

Sunflour Baking Company: 5040 State Hwy 49, Harrisburg, NC 28075

Vortex Bottle Shop

Tucked away in Harrisburg, Vortex Bottle Shop offers a scratch kitchen and taproom experience that locals adore. Visit on a Sunday and treat yourself to the brunch menu, which features some of the best Southern food in the area (don’t skip the crispy fried chicken and biscuits). The atmosphere strikes a perfect balance between a date-like ambiance and family-friendly vibes. Don’t forget to explore the extensive tap menu and delightful mimosa flights.

Vortex Bottle Shop: 4469 School House Commons, Harrisburg, NC 28075

Where to stay in Cabarrus County

We hope you love the spaces we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Charlotte Concord Golf Resort and Spa

embassy suites by charlotte speedway

Photo: Expedia

This magnificent hotel offers a prime location near the renowned Charlotte Motor Speedway, with breathtaking views visible from the higher floors. As you enter, you’ll be greeted by a stunning water feature in the spacious open lounge area, setting the tone for a memorable stay. The hotel boasts an array of amenities, including a luxurious spa, inviting swimming pool, well-equipped gym, and even a golf course for those seeking a different kind of excitement. Whether you’re a racegoer or a tourist exploring the area, this hotel has something for everyone.

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