By Lauren Levine
Welcome to Mooresville, North Carolina
Though it’s now known as “Race City USA,” Mooresville, North Carolina, which is located on Lake Norman, had sleepier beginnings. It was founded in the 1850s as a railroad town, eventually becoming an important textile center. Drive through downtown and you’ll notice a number of historic buildings that have been preserved in tribute to the town’s roots. For racing fans who have already checked out Charlotte Motor Speedway and toured the NASACAR Hall of Fame, a short drive to this dreamy spot is an essential next step.
Where to Go
You may be used to watching your favorite drivers fly by in a flash on the track, but head to Mooresville to gain a whole new appreciation for motorsports. An extensive contingent of the sport’s race teams have set up shop in the city. Here fans can watch technicians meticulously tend to their favorite drivers’ vehicles as they equip them for high-octane competition.
Other worthwhile stops include the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame and Memory Lane Museum. Memory Lane traces the history of the automobile and features the largest private collection of retired NASCAR and vintage race cars. For automobile aficionados who crave details of the landmark design’s fascinating history, the museum offers an unbeatable perspective.
What to Do
Animal lovers will be wild about Lazy 5 Ranch. Get a drive-through safari experience as you study exotic creatures, like ring-tailed lemurs and zebras, in their element. Families with kids will also love Zootastic Park of Lake Norman, located just north of Mooresville in the town of Troutman. The park’s Animal Encounter experience lets you get up close and personal with a variety of baby animals. Children will get a kick out of feeding tiger cubs or petting kangaroos.
As the weather warms up, Mooresville is full of ways to make the most of the sunshine. Lake Norman State Park offers mountain biking and hiking trails, swimming and canoes for rent.
Where to Eat
When it’s time to refuel, Mooresville is home to a number of outstanding options. The Big League Hot Dog Company is a local favorite as is Lancaster’s BBQ, complete with race-themed décor. If you’re in the market for seafood, you’ll want to stop by Big Daddy’s of Lake Norman and order the famous house oysters. Try La Patisserie Café and Bakery for healthier lunch options, like the tabbouleh plate, or bakery delights, like the lemon bundt cake. For a ladies’ night or date night, make a reservation at Epic Chophouse, the elegant stop known for its melt-in-your-mouth steaks.
This article ran in the February 2016 issue of Charlotte Happenings.
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