Mooresville, NC, not to be confused with Morrisville, NC, is located a little way north of Charlotte. It’s a short drive from uptown and about a two hour drive from the Sandhills. North Carolina is chock full of charming small towns and Mooresville, a.k.a. Race City USA, is no different. Revitalization efforts have updated the downtown and invited new businesses in with the old. Most people crush on the big cities, giving them all the love and attention, and for good reason. They offer a lot of options – food, nightlife, museums, parks – lots of culture. Don’t get me wrong, I love big cities and all they have to offer, but I’ve found that small towns offer a lot as well and need a little love too!
1) Visit What-A-Burger. Yes, there are many nice restaurants in this town. Maybe one day I’ll even try them. Honestly, I like to eat like a local and in this instance “local” means native, not transplant. The What-A-Burger has the most fantastic burgers, steak fries, and Cherry-Lemon Sundrop this side of Piedmont. The kitchen is clean, but it’s kind of a greasy spoon type place. But my-oh-my is it worth eating there. I eat there every time I visit town!
2) Finish up your What-A-Burger with some home town ice cream at the Mooresville Ice Cream Company! Have you ever noticed the Front Porch or DeLuxe Ice Cream brands in your local NC grocery store? Well those creations are made right here in Mooresville! Saddle up the counter and order some of that delightfully creamy and delish ice cream! I love the Praline Coastal Crunch, Strawberry and their sherbet! Mmmmm-mmmmm!!
3) The Mooresville Depot Fine Arts Gallery is a great repurposed train depot-turned-art gallery! They exchange their art regularly and feature many local artists. The depot is very old and I was lucky enough to get a tour of the back rooms not open to the public, and all I can say is gorgeous! The wooden beams and flooring are in incredible shape and I loved seeing the writing on the wall (literally). It was like stepping back in time! The staff is friendly and didn’t mind me peppering them with questions. You need to see this little slice of Mooresville history!
4) Take a walking tour of historic Mooresville and be sure to stop by D.E. Turner! D.E Turner Hardware has been a community favorite since 1899! Mr. Jack Moore, the current owner and a sweet man, worked there in his youth and continues to serve the community and their hardware needs. Stepping into Turner’s is like taking a trip back in time! This is a can’t miss stop in town, even if you don’t need any tools or goods, no nuts and bolts about it!
5) You can’t really talk about Race City USA without mentioning motorsports. In the town where Days of Thunder was filmed and rubbing is racing, you certainly couldn’t leave NASCAR out of your visit to Mooresville, even if you’re not a race fan! Many race teams have their shops in Mooresville and it is also home to the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame and the Memory Lane Motorsports and Historical Automotive Museum. The photo above is from the racecityusa.org website and can be found here.
With such a great downtown full of shops, restaurants, history all so close to Charlotte, why not give Mooresville a little love and stop by for a spell? You won’t be disappointed!