Dec 19, 2023 - Things to Do

Spend a day in Concord: More than 20 things to eat, drink, see and do

The Avett Brothers mural in downtown Concord. Photo: Danielle Chemtob/Axios.

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Concord, Charlotte's northern neighbor, is growing rapidly, and that expansion is bringing new businesses and life to the area.

Driving the news: Concord is about 25 miles north of Charlotte and is North Carolina’s 10th largest city, with a population of 109,896 (July 2022). The population of Cabarrus County, which Concord is part of, grew at a faster rate in the 2020 census than that of Mecklenburg County.

Why it matters: The majority of the Charlotte region’s population lives outside of the city limits. Charlotte’s development is fueling demand for new homes and businesses in the region as a whole.

Here are some ways to eat, drink and play through Concord:


First things first, coffee. Concord has plenty of cozy coffee shops. A few worthy of a stop include:

Allegiance Coffee: A locally owned coffee shop with a drive-thru option. The shop partners with Charlotte-based Haervest Coffee for its custom blends.

Allegiance Coffee on a crisp December morning. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Press & Porter Coffee: A downtown craft coffee shop that also serves beer, wine, kombucha and grab-and-go eats.

Verb Coffee: A trendy cafe located off Concord Parkway a few miles from downtown. Open until 9pm most nights, it’s a good option for an evening caffeine boost.

Provided Coffee Concord: A hand-crafted espresso bar located inside a renovated mill building that also houses Nothing New Quality Threads and Southern Strain Brewing.

  • 165 Brumley Ave NE
  • Of note: Provided has another location in Uptown that's just under 200 square feet.
Provided and Nothing New share an open-floor layout, so you basically have to sip and shop. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Eat and drink:

From barbecue platters to authentic Cuban cuisine, these restaurants earned a place in our hearts (and stomach) for some of Concord's best eats and drinks.

The tesoros cubanos appetizer from Havana Carolina. It’s a sampler of fried pork chunks, croquetas, stuffed green plantain, empanadas, Cuban bruschetta, tamale and fried yuca. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

The Smoke Pit: In a state where barbecue causes vigorous debate, The Smoke Pit is arguably one of the most famous joints in the area.

  • Order a platter and choose from several different meat and side options.
  • 796 Concord Pkwy N
A platter with pulled pork, Texas brisket, burnt ends and sides of fried okra, white slaw, corn bread and extra pickles. Photo: Danielle Chemtob/Axios.

Havana CarolinaThis restaurant serves up a taste of Cuba and is located inside an old Belk store downtown. It’s the brainchild of the family who also owns El Puro in south Charlotte and Muraya, a Colombian tapas restaurant in South End.

BIRRITaco: A popular taco restaurant that specializes in all things birria — yes, even birria pizza. You can’t miss the hot pink exterior.

I ordered (and crushed) a chicken tinga taco, a birria taco and a side of plantains for lunch. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Sabaidee: A sushi and Thai restaurant that Axios’ Alexis Clinton says is a personal favorite.

Now, let’s talk about adult beverages. Concord has plenty, including breweries, cocktail bars and bottle shops.

Southern Strain Brewing. Photo: Danielle Chemtob/Axios.

Cabarrus Brewing Company and High Branch Brewing: Two separate craft breweries and taprooms, both located inside Gibson Mill.

Southern Strain Brewing: A popular taproom and brewery with an in-house kitchen called The Eatery. Southern Strain shares a roof with aforementioned businesses, Provided Coffee and Nothing New Quality Threads.

Buzzed Viking Brewery Co.: A brewery and meadery (honey wine) with a stacked food menu inside Copperfield Market (also close to Sabaidee Thai).

Kodiak: A cocktail lounge in downtown with live music.

  • Order The Concordian, their best-seller, with vodka, pineapple, ginger, lemon and grenadine.
  • 42 Union St S.

Bottle and Can: A woman-owned bottle shop in downtown selling craft beer by the can, bottle and on draft.

Things to do:

Between a bustling shopping mall, a charming downtown and the bustling Charlotte Motor Speedway, you’ll find many, many ways to keep busy in Concord. Here are a handful of ideas:

The Avett Brothers mural in downtown. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Stroll around downtown: Downtown Concord features historic buildings, street art (including a mural of the homegrown band the Avett Brothers), galleries and plenty of window shopping. One of the most notable landmarks is a historic courthouse that has been converted into the home of the Cabarrus Arts Council, featuring four galleries on the first floor.

Of note: As of February 2023, downtown is under construction for its Streetscape project that’ll bring upgrades like 22-foot-wide sidewalks, added street trees and landscaping and more outdoor dining to downtown. Retail is still open, but you can check out renderings and the project timeline here. Photo: Danielle Chemtob/Axios.

Spend a day at Gibson Mill: The former textile mill has been converted into a food hall with shops, breweries and other entertainment. You could easily spend a whole day shopping, drinking beer, throwing axes, playing board games and more.

The Brookie from Cara’s Cookie Co. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Browse for vintage clothing at Nothing New: The locally-owned business claims to be the largest vintage clothing in the Southeast.

There’s a huge section for vintage Charlotte sports apparel. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Go indoor skydiving at iFly: Ticket prices start at $89.99 for two flights.

Shop ’til you drop at Concord Mills Mall: A few recent additions to the indoor outlet mall include Cotton On, The North Face, Gilly Hicks and popular UK-based retailer, Primark, which opened in November 2023.

Primark Concord Mills spans over 30,000 square feet. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Visit the Charlotte Motor Speedway: The motorsports complex is a destination for events year-round, including the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 (Memorial Day weekend 2024), Breakaway Music Festival (May 3-4, 2024) and Speedway Christmas, a four-mile holiday lights display that runs November through January.

charlotte motor speedway christmas
Nothing says Christmas in the Carolinas like four million lights arranged around the race track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

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