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Courtesy Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority

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5555 Concord Pkwy S

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Sports Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

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  • 2.5Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

If you're hungry for a taste of NASCAR culture at its finest, take the 16-mile drive northeast of downtown Charlotte to Concord, where you can catch a race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Keep in mind that a visit here is more of an experience – it's nomral for die-hard fans to camp near the speedway. It's best to snag your tickets at least a month ahead of race day; last-minute tickets are a possibility, but you'll have a tough time purchasing them without breaking the bank.

For a more affordable – albeit less adrenaline-fueled – visit, consider taking one of the daily tours. The Feel the Thrill Speedway Tour allows travelers to see areas that are off-limits during race days, including the Winner's Circle. Past visitors say this tour, which costs $10 for kids and $12 for adults, is an informative introduction for uninitiated race fans.     

Although the season is limited, the Speedway does host a wide range of events throughout the year, including concerts and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Check the Speedway's website for more details.

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#1 U.S. National Whitewater Center

Take your pick between more than 30 different land and water activities at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, a 1,300-acre facility northwest of downtown Charlotte along the Catawba River. At the world's largest man-made whitewater river, you'll have your choice of a variety of activities, including kayaking (both flatwater and whitewater), stand-up paddle boarding, and, of course, whitewater rafting. If you'd prefer to stay dry, the center can accommmodate you there, too: land activities include mountain biking, rock climbing and zip-lining, with plenty of running trails and obstacle courses for those with a competitive edge.

Past travelers said the center is a great place to take your family for the day  though visitors admit tickets can get pricey.

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