Tune Up in Cabarrus County, NC
A Guide to Exploring the Intersection of Music & Motorsports in NC
Day 1: Harmony & Horsepower
Start your engine with a tour at Charlotte Motor Speedway! Built in 1959, the track’s story is one of excitement and innovation. Cabarrus County is known as “Where Racing Lives” for many reasons. It’s the only place where you can visit NASCAR Race Shops like Hendrick Motorsports, and the City of Kannapolis, hometown of legendary driver, Dale Earnhardt Sr. The community celebrates “The Intimidator’s” life and legacy with self-guided tour, The Dale Trail.
Hit another stop on the trail with lunch at Punchy’s Diner, then head off to the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. Explore exhibits that showcase legacies of artists like John Coltrane, Charlie Daniels, Roberta Flack and other musicians, singers, songwriters and producers from all genres with roots in North Carolina. It’s no coincidence that this collection of the state’s musical heritage sits alongside the Curb Museum for Music & Motorsports.
After discovering Mike Curb’s fascinating story and all the artifacts honoring each inductee, catch live music at local breweries. The self-guided Race to Taste tour is a free coaster set with everything you need to navigate and share your craft beverage experience in Cabarrus County.
Day 2: For Avett Aficionados
Get an early start on searching for storied finds at Cline’s Country Antiques, a sprawling antique yard where The Avett Brothers filmed the music video for the hit “February Seven.” Then, grab lunch at local favorite, What-A-Burger #13. Recognize the sign? You may have spotted it in the Avett documentary, “May It Last.”
Spend the afternoon in Historic Downtown Concord enjoying the harmonic combination of independent shops and creative activities including Mullis Music, The Bead Lady, ShoeBeeDo and more. Then, plan to stick around for dinner and a show inside the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse. Each year, Jim Avett returns to the stage often with his daughter, Bonnie, for an evening of original ballads and storytelling. His sons have also popped in for a surprise family performance. An evening with the Avetts in their hometown is an exceptional experience, and the intimate Davis Theatre is a venue that matches the occasion. Dine in Downtown and let the restaurant know you’re attending. They’ll suggest a reservation time to ensure you get to the theatre 15 minutes before curtain. Up for a drink afterward? Stop by The Basement Arcade Bar for some nostalgic fun.
A Track for Every Season
Apply this itinerary any time of year and visit during each season for a different music experience.
Races at Charlotte Motor Speedway feature free concerts you can access with your race ticket. Check out their site for details and ticket options. Opt for Uptown Suites next door to the track and extend your stay to cover the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder. Experience another great North Carolina tradition at The Smoke Pit. Tomato or vinegar-based, barbecue is a must-eat in the Tar Heel State.
From beach music to classic rock and country acts, sway to the sounds of summer at Village Park during the Summer Concert Series in Kannapolis. Beat the heat and make the whole pack happy at Great Wolf Lodge, the largest indoor water park in the Carolinas. Cool off at Cabarrus Creamery. This 1950’s-themed ice cream shop has been “Serving up tradition, in a cup or a cone” for over 80 years.
Each October, a new class of our state’s music industry greats are recognized at the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and you can attend! Accommodations at Exit 60 will put you closest to the event in Kannapolis. 44 Mills Kitchen + Tap serves local eats with a side of history. The name is a nod to Cabarrus County’s 44 textile mills dating back to the 1800s.
Indoor venues like Cabarrus Arena & Events Center and the 227-seat Davis Theatre are ideal for catching live performances during colder months. Stay at Embassy Suites Golf Resort & Spa and relax from the holiday rush with a treatment at Spa Botanica. Cozy up with a cocktail and a hearty meal at 73 & Main in Mt. Pleasant, a festive small town that’s perfect for getting into the holiday spirit.
Cabarrus County is the home of the Avett family, including Seth and Scott, the duo behind GRAMMY-nominated band The Avett Brothers. In 2016, The Avett Brothers were inducted into the NC Music Hall of Fame and honored with a special landmark.
This area inspired Concord native and 2018 NC Music Hall of Fame Inductee, Dolph Ramseur to pursue a career in music and create independent record label and management company, Ramseur Records. Today he and his team represent many artists including The Avett Brothers.
Mt. Pleasant is home to Southern Grace Distilleries where they’re aging bourbon by blaring rock and roll in the barrel house. Also know as “Whiskey Prison,” the operation is housed inside the former Cabarrus Correctional Facility built in 1929 and offers tours and tastings.
Want to hear more? Call the Visitor Center at 800-848-3740 for assistance with planning your trip!