Holiday Fun at Cabarrus County’s Exit 49

December 9, 2020

Find inspiration for a getaway or staycation this season with this list of festive happenings, all located off I-85 at Exit 49 in Concord, North Carolina.

Conveniently located along Interstate 85 just minutes north of Charlotte, Exit 49 in Concord offers a unique combination of exciting experiences you won’t find anywhere else in the state. Always buzzing with activity, the area is frequented by locals and travelers alike for its action-packed attractions, unmatched shopping and wide variety of places to eat.

All December long, this special stretch becomes a hub for holiday activities the whole family will enjoy. Get inspired by these festive happenings and create your own customized Christmas itinerary!

Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge

Beloved for its 80,000-square-foot indoor water park and fun family atmosphere, Great Wolf Lodge offers a whole host of kid-friendly activities and attractions throughout the property. From November 29 through January 2, the resort transforms into a magical winter wonderland during Snowland!

Connect with your pack as you enjoy hot cocoa and cozy activities like Unique as a Snowflake Story Time. Get creative with Grab ‘N Go Arts & Crafts, and get active with the Snowball Family Dance Party or Twas the Night Before Snowland Yoga Tails! And of course, don’t forget visits from Santa Claus!

This magical holiday experience offers endless ways for you to and your pack to make memories together this season. Plus, Great Wolf Lodge is working hard to help you play safe during your stay. Find out more about their enhanced health and safety measures by reading about the Paw Pledge.

Speedway Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Now in its 11th year, the Southeast’s largest drive-thru holiday light show features over 4 million LED lights around the legendary track, through the infield and under the concourse!

Tune your radio to the Speedway Christmas station and watch in wonder as hundreds of lights-to-music displays dance throughout the impressive four-mile course. Plus, the merriment continues with drive-in holiday movies on the giant 16,000-square-foot Speedway TV every Thursday-Sunday! New this year, Speedway Christmas also features a 5,400-square-foot real ice rink! Separate from the light show, the ice rink is open daily for skaters to enjoy.

Speedway Christmas is presented by Count On Me NC, a mutual pledge and public health initiative that businesses across North Carolina are participating in to help keep our community and visitors safe.

As a spectacular and safe option for holiday fun, this annual favorite tradition is off to a record start this season! Be sure to arrive early and consider visiting on a weeknight for the smoothest traffic flow and quicker entry. Speedway Christmas is open nightly from 6-10pm through January 17 (closed Christmas Day).

Holiday Shopping & Photos with Santa at Concord Mills

As North Carolina’s largest outlet and value retail shopping center, Concord Mills is home to over 200 stores, dining and entertainment options.

Pick up a gift for everyone on your list and treat yourself with the savings! Before visiting, make your reservation for a socially-distanced photo with Santa. After your shopping adventure, outdoor fun awaits at The Speedpark with mini golf, go karts and more. Plus, keep reading for details on the underwater wonder at SEA LIFE Aquarium!

To help make the most of everyone’s time this season, Concord Mills is opening earlier and closing later so there’s plenty of time to shop. Find the full schedule of their extra joyful hours here. There’s also a special holiday traffic plan in place to alleviate congestion and keep things running smoothly. Take a moment to check out the details here and know before you go!

Prefer to shop online? Order from your favorite stores and restaurants, then choose curbside pickup.

Sea of Lights at SEA Life Aquarium

Now through January 3, journey through over 10,000 holiday lights as they sparkle across 5,000 fishy friends! Located inside Concord Mills at Entry 7, SEA LIFE Aquarium features an awe-inspiring 180° ocean tunnel where tropical sharks, graceful rays and Neptune the rescued green sea turtle, glide overhead!

During Sea of Lights, take part in self-led crafts, boogie it up with socially-distanced dance parties, and write letters to your favorite animals. Guests can also spread Christmas cheer and help the community by participating in a food drive (through December 18). All donations go to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. For every five nonperishable items donated, receive one complimentary weekday admission ticket to SEA LIFE (limit 2 per family/party).


No matter what time of year, Exit 49 is extraordinary. During the holidays, these joyful activities make it a must-see!

Find even more accommodations alongside the action at Exit 49 on this list of Places to Stay in Cabarrus County, NC. For additional assistance planning your holiday getaway or staycation in Cabarrus County, contact us at 800-848-3740, send a message to or live chat from our homepage.

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