Last Updated on August 25, 2021
Last Updated on August 25, 2021
If you plan to visit Western NC, please check beforehand to see if the area is safe following the recent flooding. Officials have closed some sections of Pisgah National Forest (including Forest Heritage Scenic Byway and Blue Ridge Parkway stops) to keep visitors out of danger. Please respect signage and local guidance.
Kannapolis, North Carolina, is a delightful small town in Cabarrus County that has recently undergone quite a bit of renovation. With an adorable, walkable downtown and great surroundings that include the NC Music Hall of Fame, there are so many things to do in Kannapolis!
Explore the boutique shops, enjoy fine local food and treats, and sit for a spell with some coffee or an NC beer. Either way, we think you’re going to enjoy all the fun things to do in Kannapolis, in and around downtown!
There is a lot to explore, so here’s how we’ve organized this guide:
- Things to Do in Kannapolis
- Shopping in Kannapolis
- Where to Eat in Kannapolis
This post is part of our series on Concord and Cabarrus County and more of our favorite places to visit in Central North Carolina. We’ve also included Kannapolis among the best day trips from Charlotte!
Things to Do in Kannapolis
Understand the Town’s History
Even if you’re not a history aficionado, one of the first things to do in Kannapolis is to understand its background.
The town was founded in 1908 by JW Cannon, the owner of Cannon Manufacturing. The company would later become the largest manufacturer of sheets and towels. Many of the buildings in Kannapolis started as textile mills and employee housing.
You can learn more about the town’s history by purchasing Kannapolis: A Pictorial History at City Hall.
In 2004, the owner of Dole Food Company, David Murdock, bought the land and turned it into North Carolina Research Campus. This campus is home to eight universities that have teamed up to make breakthroughs in health and nutrition research.
Those universities are Appalachian State, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Greensboro, NC A&T, NC Central, and NC State.
With the presence of this research campus, Kannapolis’s main business sectors are health, nutrition, science, and education. Kannapolis is also a family-oriented community with an emphasis on healthy, holistic lifestyles.
The Dale Trail
The Dale Trail was created by the Kannapolis community to honor and commemorate their hometown hero, Dale Earnhardt Sr. The trail features more than 15 stops, all of which explore his life and NASCAR career.
One specific stop is the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Plaza, which displays a 9-foot, 900-pound statue of the man himself.
Watch Kannapolis Cannonballers Baseball
1 Cannon Baller Way
When visiting Kannapolis, you can’t miss watching a Minor League Baseball game featuring the town’s very own Cannonballers. Baseball goes back a long way in Kannapolis, but this team first arrived in 1995 as the Piedmont Phillies
The team now plays in the beautiful Atrium Health Ballpark. The park doubles as a free public space when games aren’t happening.
Of course, you’ll want to see future White Sox and their rivals duke it out each spring and summer. You can see the Cannonballers’ entire season schedule and buy tickets here.
119 N Main St
Veterans Park honors those who’ve served and also serves as a great spot for concerts and events in Kannapolis. The Ring of Honor here displays more than 1,700 names of soldiers from Rowan and Cabarrus counties, going all the way back to the Revolutionary War.
The park’s amenities include a soccer complex, tennis courts, picnic areas, playgrounds, trails, an 18-hole mini-golf course, a 10-acre lake, and much more.
700 W C Street
Village Park is a one-stop-shop for some of the best things to do in Kannapolis. They have activities for all ages, from the general park to many more specialized attractions.
The park provides numerous shelters that can be rented out for gatherings, as well as an indoor event center. There is a playground, carousel ($1.50 per person/ride), rotary train ($1.50 per person/ride), and splash pad ($1.50 per person/ride).
Many events are also hosted in their amphitheater.
Curb Records and Motorsports Museum
600 Dale Earnhardt Blvd
The exhibits in the Curb Motorsports Museum for Music and Motorsports are spread over 20,000 square feet in the same building that you’ll find the NC Music Hall of Fame.
Owned by Mike Curb, a musician, record executive, politician, and motorsports car owner, the museum mixes his love for NASCAR with his record label, Curb. The museum features NASCAR, Indy, modified race cars, and images of famous artists from his record label.
From viewing Dale Earnhardt’s #2 car that won him his first Winston Cup Championship to gold record awards and autographed posters, there are tons of things to explore here.
NC Music Hall of Fame
600 Dale Earnhardt Blvd
The NC Music Hall of Fame was incorporated in 1994 to recognize, promote, and commemorate the musical heritage of North Carolina. The museum has been housed by Mike Curb’s Records and Motorsports Museum since 2009.
This museum is very accessible and modern-thinking, as they use QR codes to make it easier for visitors to learn more about each Inductee’s history and listen to their music.
We think a visit to the NC Music Hall of Fame is one of the best things to do in North Carolina!
Shopping in Kannapolis
Visiting the town’s nice and growing selection of boutique shops should be on anyone’s list of things to do in Kannapolis. Here are a few places for you to stop in, browse, and buy.
147 West Ave
This boutique is owned by three sisters, Jenna, Emilee, and Meredith, where the name “Jem” comes from. 3 Jems reflects the three’s unique style through their selection of tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, rompers, and outerwear.
The sisters are TikTok famous, too, in case you were wondering!
115 West A St
Lovely Lines is a boutique in the heart of Kannapolis that caters specifically to sizes XL-3XL. It opened in 2017 as an online store that has since expanded into a brick-and-mortar building.
Shoppers can choose from various items and even browse an “as seen on TikTok” section.
While we’re mentioning TikTok accounts, you can also find NC Tripping there!
135 West Ave
Adair is a brick-and-mortar women’s clothing and accessories store with three locations throughout the town. Their pieces range from dresses and tops, shoes, masks, gift items such as candles, and other accessories.
113A West Ave
Lennon Boutique offers clothing, jewelry, accessories, and home and gift items. Shop their online store or in-person location, and choose from all their new arrivals or popular items.
Where to Eat in Kannapolis
With all these fun things to do in Kannapolis, you’re going to get hungry. Here are some of our favorite restaurants in the area.
101 West Ave
Their entrees starting at $13. Chophouse 101 also serves local Old Armor beer and source some of their meat local to Cabarrus County.
My Sister’s Place Ice Cream
111 #5 West Ave
My Sister’s Place is a recent addition to downtown Kannapolis. Two sisters opened the shop in 2020 and offer some of the best homemade ice cream and fudge in the area!
Eat Cakes Bakery
141 West Ave
Eat Cakes Bakery offers many different sweets to satisfy any craving. Their baked goods range from bread, cupcakes, cheesecakes, cinnamon rolls, and more! They make sweet treats for your furry friends, too!
Local Patriot Roasting Company
139 West Ave
Local Patriot Roasting Company is a patriot- and veteran-owned coffee shop and the first coffee roastery in Kannapolis. They have quickly become a pillar of the community, giving back to the town and offering the option to “Pay It Forward” for first responders, heroes, and military service members.
Old Armor Beer Company
211 West Ave
Old Armor Beer Company is a unique brewery owned and operated by combat veterans who have served overseas. They give back every way they can and have 12 unique brews specially created to give back to different charitable foundations.
There is also a “Pay It Forward” Board, allowing guests to buy a beer for a veteran or first responder.
926 S. Main St
For those local to Cabarrus County, take a trip down memory lane with a visit to What-a-Burger #10. Be prepared to pay with cash as they do not take credit/debit cards.
Make sure to try their specialty drink, “The Witch Doctor,” a combination of all the soda fountain flavors and pickle slices.
We’ve got you covered if you’re looking for more restaurants in Cabarrus County!
Ready to Enjoy these Fun Things to Do in Kannapolis?
With an adorable downtown, a great baseball park, and plenty of unique boutique shops, Kannapolis is an incredible place to explore! We encourage you to take a day (or more!) to really get to know the atmosphere of Cabarrus County and all the things to do in Kannapolis!
Have you recently visited this wonderful town? We’d love to know about your favorite things to do in Kannapolis and its surroundings.