Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Concord, NC

  • Published 2022/12/03

Concord is a charming city located in the heart of Cabarrus County, which won the All-American City Award in 2004.

German and Scots-Irish immigrants initially set up Concord around 1750.

It is now part of the Charlotte metropolitan area’s northeast region, experiencing fast growth.

The name Concord was chosen following a protracted disagreement over the location of the county seat between the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians and German Lutherans.

By American standards, Concord is an old town founded in 1806.

The old town boundaries are still marked in the city’s downtown.

Today, the city is home to many historic sites, buildings, and popular tourist destinations.

Concord also offers a variety of fun activities for visitors and residents alike, from museums to nature trails.

Here are free things to do in Concord, North Carolina, should you want to have fun but stay on a budget:

Spend a Day at Frank Liske Park

Ducks at Frank Liske Park

Scott Alan Ritchie /

Frank Liske Park is more than just your average park; it also features a part of history.

Formerly the Stonewall Jackson Training School site, Frank Liske Park is also one of the most well-loved places in the city for different kinds of gatherings.

The 238-acre verdant green park was named after Frank Liske, a former school employee who advocated for the park’s creation.

There’s always something to do in Frank Liske Park, with its wide open spaces and playground perfect for family picnics and sporting activities.

Aside from these, you can stroll through the fitness or nature trails to clear your head and enjoy the breathtaking views surrounding you.

Go ahead and share a meal with your family and friends in one of the picnic areas.

Don’t forget to visit the renovated dairy barn and silo, which houses artifacts used by the Stonewall Jackson Training School.

Check Out the Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Check out the Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CabCoCVB) to learn about free attractions and activities in Concord.

The one-stop visitor’s bureau aims to provide visitors with an excellent experience visiting this part of North Carolina.

Located on Weddington Road, you will find information on attractions that won’t cost you anything to enjoy.

Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau also employs Travel Counselors to assist you in planning your itinerary and other travel-related matters, along with complimentary souvenirs and refreshments.

Get copies of brochures, maps, and other pertinent materials on the area, such as parking and traffic guidelines.

Otherwise, you can rest in the center’s comfortable lobby, which features a large map of the county with many attractions marked.

Take a Trip to Historic Downtown Concord

Shops along Downtown Concord

KAD Photo /

Take your time strolling around the historic Downtown Concord and explore all it offers.

You can tell that Downtown Concord is where you’ll find most of the city’s history.

HGTV named it one of the top 30 Most Charming Small-Town Downtowns in 2022.

From its quaint, old-fashioned buildings and street lamps to its shops and restaurants, you will return in time when you visit this part of Concord.

Today, the downtown area is home to registered historic landmarks and locally owned shops and restaurants, which adds to its charms.

Daytime view of Downtown Concord

AlexiusHoratius, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Concord’s lovely tree-lined streets will surely draw you in, whether for window shopping or just for a stroll.

Murals also decorate the downtown streets.

These works of art depict some of the most important parts of history in Concord.

Many locals in Concord gather here to chat or sit down at one of the cafes with friends and family.

Join the Art Walk on Union by Cabarrus Arts Council Gallery

You can feast your eyes on stunning works of art during the Art Walk on Union.

Located on Union Street fronting Cabarrus Arts Council Gallery, Art Walk on Union occurs four times a year to give a chance to various artists to promote their talents.

You can also see some of the artwork in progress as you walk around during these events and even buy some if interested.

It’s a great way to appreciate the arts and can be educational for children who want to learn more about this medium.

Art Walk on Union is a whole-day festival where art and music meld in perfect harmony.

You’ll not only see local artists showcasing their art, but you can also enjoy live musical performances, so it’s a perfect way to spend your afternoon if you want to unwind.

Browse Antiques at the Depot at Gibson Mill

Antique items in the Depot at Gibson Mill

Jazmin Quaynor jazminantoinette, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re in the mood to window shop and look for vintage items, then the Depot at Gibson Mill is the place to go.

Housed in the former Cannon Mill textile factory, the Depot at Gibson Mill offers antiques from more than 750 sellers.

You’ll find everything from antique furniture to toys to vintage kitchen appliances in this charming antique shop.

Visiting The Depot at Gibson Mill is a great way to find unique items and learn more about their history and the story behind each antique.

If you want to do fun activities in downtown Concord, stop by the Depot at Gibson Mill and browse their fantastic collection of antiques.

Spend a Peaceful Afternoon at the Les Myers Park

Les Myers Park is a 21-acre park on Lawndale Avenue, so it’s easy to find.

This peaceful park is the place to go to unwind or spend some quiet time alone with nature.

The sprawling Les Myers Park also has picnic shelters with grills, so you can cook up some food and enjoy a meal al fresco if you prefer.

You’ll also find many activities here, such as hiking, biking trails, or just taking in the sights of the park’s lush greenery.

It’s an excellent place for active and laid-back people, so visit this lovely park and spend a peaceful afternoon here.

Discover the Charms of Vietnam Veterans Park

A duck at Vietnam Veterans Park

AlexAlvarez /

Launched in 2002, the Vietnam Veterans Park is excellent if you want some quiet time and reflection.

This lovely 90-acre park is on Orphanage Road and features a boardwalk where you can take in the magnificent view of the lake.

There are also some picnic shelters and grills to cook a meal for your barbecue party with family and friends.

You can also use its amenities, such as a bocce court, disc golf, basketball court, freestanding bench swings, and more.

If you have the time, explore either the walking trail, the wetland trail, or both to satisfy your thirst for adventure.

If you’re looking for a serene park in Concord to visit, stop by Vietnam Veterans Park and discover all its charms.

Get to Know NASCAR Legend Dale Earnhardt on the Dale Trail

People walking along Dale Earnhardt Tribute Plaza

Malachi Jacobs /

Get ready for fun, adventure, and learning at the Dale Trail.

The Dale Trail is on Weddington Road and features 15 stops that reveal more about the late racing legend Dale Earnhardt.

Here, you’ll see the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Plaza, where you can take your photo next to the nine-foot bronze statue of the legendary racer.

Tall statue of Dale Earnhardt

Malachi Jacobs /

While in the Plaza’s vicinity, you can get to know Idiot Circle, Dale’s favorite hangout place when he was still a teen.

You’ll also taste Dale’s favorite sandwich, made of white bread with lettuce and Miracle Whip.

To guide you better, you can grab a free map at the Cabarrus County Visitor Center, upload your exciting journey, and show it to everyone using #DaleTrail.

Side view of Dale Earnhardt's statue

Malachi Jacobs /

Go Window Shopping at Concord Mills Mall

Exterior of Concord Mills Mall

Dough4872, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With more than 200 retail stores to visit, Concord Mills Mall is one of the biggest malls in the city.

Concord Mills Mall was visited by 17.6 million mall-goers in 2005 and is near one of the famous attractions in the city, the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Located at Concord Mills Boulevard, this gigantic mall features some of the most popular retail outlets, such as Michael Kors, H&M, Swarovski, MAC Cosmetics, Polo Ralph Lauren, and many more.

Interior of Concord Mills Mall

Dough4872, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Concord Mills was refurbished and now boasts a climate-controlled roof, making it a perfect destination any time of the year.

You can also stroll through the hundreds of shops during the fall or winter; then hang out in the outdoor area during summer.

Explore the Rocky River Mountain Bike Trail

If you want to trek and ride through a hand-built mountain bike trail, head to the Rocky River Mountain Bike Trail.

Nestled in Lafferty Road, Rocky River Mountain Bike Trail offers a fun and challenging ride with an 11-mile track.

The track includes steep hills, quick descents, rock gardens, boulders, and jumps.

Built on private property, the Rocky River Mountain Bike Trail will let you pass by Steve’s, but don’t worry.

You only need to donate $3 and sign a waiver, and you’re good to go.

Beginners are also welcome as it has a green route that offers a five-mile loop suitable for newbies.

The trails are accurately identified, making it easy for you to navigate them without getting lost.

They even indicate multiple exits if you need to cut your ride short.

Additionally, you’ll see some lovely Rocky River views, which is why most riders come here to enjoy the outdoors.

So if you’re looking for a thrilling outdoor biking experience, check out Rocky River Mountain Bike Trail.

Go Window Shopping at Carolina Mall

Exterior of Carolina Mall

Mike Kalasnik from Charlotte, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visiting the Carolina Mall is like stepping back in time, as the mall opened in 1972.

The mall opened with just 50 shops, but people still support it, despite being next to the Cannon Mills Mall.

No wonder Carolina Mall still has the charm and atmosphere of a traditional indoor mall with its wide selection of shops and restaurants, including Aeropostale, Belk, JCPenney, and Staples.

If you’re in Concord during Christmas, you can take photos with the decorations and watch Santa Claus interact with kids.

You can even have a personalized photo with Santa Claus for posterity.

Admire the Artistry of the Avett Brothers’ Mural

Concord is the home of North Carolina’s own Grammy-winning folk rock band, the Avett Brothers.

For this reason, you should not miss the Avett Brothers Mural at 25 Union Street, which artist Casswell Turner created.

Titled “Bloom,” the mural is a tribute to the band, installed in April 2021 after years of planning.

The mural depicts the brothers in a very colorful and fascinating portrayal of their music, making it a must-see attraction in Concord.

Lyrics of the songs from the band’s ten albums were also included in the painting.

If you’re a fan of the Avett Brothers and are visiting Concord anytime soon, stop by this mural and take a few photos with it for posterity.

Check Out the Old Courthouse Theatre

Exterior of the Old Courthouse Theatre

Nolichuckyjake /

You don’t have to watch a play at the Old Courthouse Theatre, as the building is also an attraction.

Built in 1924, the Gothic-style building was formerly the First Baptist Church.

In 1986, the Old Courthouse Theatre became the home of the Cabarrus Community Theater, a local theater company producing plays yearly.

As one of the cultural centers in the city of Concord, the Old Courthouse Theatre welcomes volunteers interested in joining their team of talented performers, designers, and technicians.

If you’re a tourist visiting the area and are interested in theater, stop by Old Courthouse Theatre for a fun day out!

Look for Sculptures around Historic Concord

Organized by Fulltime Funky Town, join a sculpture hunt around Concord and discover exciting sculptures along the way.

With 12 sculptures available, you’ll enjoy the charming historic downtown area while hunting for these unique artworks, which local and regional artists created.

Some of them are easy to find, while others require some serious detective work to track down.

You can start with Genesis by Wayne Vaughn in Rotary Square Splash Pad and admire the sculpture that represents femininity with its fluid lines.

Then head on to Pages by Richard Pitts, still in Rotary Splash Pad.

Pages comprises powder-coated aluminum; marvel at how it represents a clean slate.

If you’re visiting with kids, make this sculpture hunt a family event, as it’s bound to be a fun experience for everyone.

Explore the Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Store

Interior of the Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Store

Dough4872, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you love racing, you might want to learn the history of NASCAR. In that case, look no further than the Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Store.

The Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Store are nearby the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

It provides a unique glimpse into the background of the 14-time NASCAR Cup Series title team.

The museum features cars from the origins of Hendricks in the 1980s, continuing to this day.

The museum is open on weekdays from morning to afternoon; they are well worth your time!

Final Thoughts

Visit Concord and enjoy everything it offers you and your family.

From the friendly locals to the various attractions and free things to do, there is always something new and exciting for you.

Plan your trip today and discover the free things to do in Concord, North Carolina.

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