About Rowan County

Considering moving to or visiting Rowan County, North Carolina?

Rowan County is the kinda’ country, kinda’ cool you’ve been craving. At just an hour’s drive from Charlotte and the Triad, you’ll find both a quiet countryside and bustling downtown. We hope you too will discover all there is to see and do when you visit! You may even not want to leave.

Arts

Homegrown creativity has been a part of Rowan County for generations from art to music to culture. Your Rowan Art highlights the many outlets of Rowan County that foster creativity and learning.

Experience the feeling of the #2 Best Live Theatre in North Carolina ranked by BestThingsNC.com at Lee Street Theatre. Catch more local theater performances through Piedmont Players Theatre (PPT), recognized by the NC Theatre Conference as The Outstanding Community Theatre in North Carolina. PPT operates two theatrical spaces; the historic Meroney Theater and the Norvell Theater, one of the only all-youth theatres in the state.

The Center for Faith & the Arts goal is to offer opportunities for individuals to have spiritual experiences through artistic expressions.

Waterworks Visual Arts Center provides a vibrant and collaborative space through visual arts experiences. Check out exhibitions from regional and local artists free of charge.

Pottery 101 is a destination for beautiful handcrafted pottery. In addition to offering a diverse selection of pottery from across the Carolinas, they also teach community pottery classes.

The musical spirit of Rowan County originates from the Salisbury Symphony which provides fine music and educational opportunities. See them perform at their annual outdoor musical celebration, Pops at the Post, or during the iconic ballet, The Nutcracker.

Visit the Railwalk Arts District of historic Salisbury and encounter the local art scene at Rail Walk Studios & Gallery. Experience a series of free culture and arts festivals at Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Festival series through Kannapolis Arts, a division of Downtown Kannapolis Inc.

Through education and advocacy, the Rowan County Arts Council preserves the visual and performing acts while creating a more vibrant community in Rowan County.

Attractions

BREWERIES & WINERIES

Rowan County is a destination for craft beer and local wine lovers. Your Rowan Attractions will help you discover countryside must-see wineries including North Carolina’s 100th Winery Cauble Creek Vineyard and family-owned Douglas Vineyards. Eat, drink, and stay at scenic Morgan Ridge Vineyards.

Born in the heart of Salisbury, New Sarum Brewing Company has been serving up unique brews since 2012. Right down the road in an old refurbished warehouse is Morgan Ridge Railwalk Brewery & Eatery. Craft beer connoisseurs will socialize and sample at the Brewbury Festival, Salisbury’s annual craft beer tasting crawl and festival.

From live music, karaoke, dancing, and more, Rowan County is buzzing when the sun goes down. Sip beachy rum drinks on the rooftop bar at Go Burrito or hear live music in the SkyLounge at DJ’s Restaurant.

 

HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS

Our Rowan highly values history and heritage possessing 11 National Register districts.

A source for education and fun, the North Carolina Transportation Museum is a family-friendly attraction filled with immersive exhibits. The museum was once Southern Railroad’s largest steam locomotive repair facility on the east coast.

Step back in time by visiting the China Grove Roller Mill which served as a gathering place for the agricultural community.

Take part in a popular walking or driving tour such as the African-American Heritage Tour or the Salisbury Heritage Walking Tour.

 

FAMILY FUN ATTRACTIONS

Visiting families will get a safari-like experience at Lazy 5 Ranch, an exotic animal drive-thru park. For more exotic animal fun, visit Tiger World, a nonprofit animal conservation and education center.

Gold Hill is considered one of today’s most charming, historic small towns in North Carolina. Feel nostalgic as you stroll through the quaint shopping village and 70-acre park of this once nineteenth- century gold mining town.

Experience a true Kannapolis landmark at the Gem Theatre. Watch a movie in the balcony and snack on popcorn and candy for under $10! Kannapolis is also home to the Kannapolis Intimidators, Class A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox team. The team is named in honor of the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Business

Our Rowan, with its diversified economy, is home to a wide range of industries, including healthcare, 16.1%; manufacturing, 15.4%; and retail trade, 13.2%. The Your Rowan Business blog shares some of the many success stories of local businesses that have created culture, jobs, and a positive impact for Rowan County.  

Some 2,500 businesses are located in the county, including Fortune 500 and international companies such as Food Lion, Daimier Trucks North America LLC, Rowan Regional Medical Center, Gildan, Continental Structural Plastics, El Pharmaceutical Solutions, Dillard’s Inc., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Swing Transport, Inc., Schult Homes, Henkel Corp., Greenwood Motor Lines, Inc., and Freshouse II, LLC.

Serving and advancing the business interests of our community is the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce

The Centralina Workforce Development Board and NCWorks Career Center are committed to partnerships that help our region’s businesses and workers become “competitive force in our global economy.”

Rowan County has a wide-array of original businesses that locals and visitors love to frequent. From restaurant favorites that have been featured on such programs as Food Paradise on the Travel Channel (Salty Caper) and Tar Heel Traveler (Hap’s Grill) , to mom-and-pop shops that offer exceptional customer service, there’s something for every taste and desire.

Residents of China Grove often frequent Bella’s Ales & Tails, a dog bar and popular karaoke hotspot. Just up from there on Main Street, there’s a cluster of quaint shops like Ritchie & Ritchie Home Emporium and Old Town Soap Co.

Salisburians often like to frequent the two downtown breweries, Morgan Ridge Railwalk Brewery & Eatery and New Sarum Brewing Company. Downtown Salisbury also boasts a great selection of gift shops, boutiques, and a plethora of diverse restaurants.

Rowan County is home to three wineries, pick-your-own farms, fresh markets featuring local produce, one-of-a-kind retail stores, antique shops, and so much more! All of our main streets and towns are full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.

The list of original businesses in Rowan County could go on and on. Come see it yourself, just know… you may not want to leave! Rowan County is the perfect place to call home and start a business. 

Education

ROWAN/SALISBURY SCHOOLS

The Rowan-Salisbury School System is ranked in the “Top 10” nationally for pioneering uses of classroom technology. Each student has a personal iPad or laptop. Your Rowan’s Educational blog shines light on some of the unique stories, innovative programs and people that are creating a better future for our home, Our Rowan.   

The 35 public schools in this system serve more than 21,000 students with a 15:1 student/faculty radio. Salisbury High, the only N.C. school to receive a Silver Medal for 2 consecutive years from U.S. News & World Reports, is also recognized by Newsweek as one of the top schools in America.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is part of curriculum from pre-K through grade 12. The system operates 12 Career Academies to prepare students for multiple manufacturing careers and post-secondary programs. RSSS’s Early College program provides challenging experiences for students identified as high ability who are not yet reaching their potential, are first-generation college, have financial need, are traditionally underserved in higher education or would benefit from an accelerate academic program.

KANNAPOLIS CITY SCHOOLS

The Kannapolis City Schools surrounds one of the world’s premiere centers of scientific discovery: The North Carolina Research Campus. The Kannapolis public system is one of only 4 school systems in the state named to the College Board’s Advanced Placement Honor Roll. This system offers Global Studies, Dual Language Immersion, A+ Arts, innovative online learning, culinary arts, engineering, and performing arts.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS

Four private schools are located in Our Rowan – Sacred Heart Catholic School, Salisbury Academy, North Hills Christian School and Rockwell Christian School.

SUPPORT NETWORK

Our school systems are supported by several organizations, Including Rowan Partners for EducationRowan County Crosby Scholars Program, and Communities in Schools.

Rowan Partners for Education provides support and funding for programs that go above and beyond the normal curriculum in the Rowan-Salisbury School System.

The Rowan County Crosby Scholars Program gives students in public middle and high schools in Rowan County the opportunity to attend college by helping them navigate college admissions and financial aid. This college access program is designed to prepare students academically, personally, and financially for college enrollment and other post-secondary opportunities ideal to a student’s needs.”

Communities in Schools is the Nation’s #1 Drop Out Prevention Program. Since 1998, Communities in Schools of Rowan County has provided support through in-school mentoring and tutoring, supportive guidance to families, referrals to community agencies, and assistance with school uniform and supplies.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Our Rowan is also proud to be home to 5 institutions of higher learning, together serving more than 20,000 students:

  • Catawba College is a 167-year-old liberal arts school affiliated with the United Church of Christ with a 96% employment /post higher education rate for graduates. Catawba’s Center for the Environment is nationally recognized. Catawba is engaged in a MIND BODY SOUL Campaign for Growth.
  • Livingstone College is a 139-year-old private, historically black institution affiliated with the AME Zion Church, with a student to faculty ratio of 17:1.
  • Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, with 5 campuses and more than 25,000 students annually, wins awards for its digital innovation, industry training partnerships and custom-made programs for local industries. Nearly 1,200 Rowan-Cabarrus students are actually traditional high school students at local schools earning college credit tuition free and many students come to Rowan-Cabarrus for the first two years of their bachelor’s degree.
  • Hood Theological Seminary is a graduate and professional school that provides theological preparation for effective ministry in a diverse society. Hood is engaged in a campaign for a new Chapel, a Center for Chaplaincy, and a United Methodist Studies Center.
  • The North Carolina Research Campus is a public-private venture created by visionary David H. Murdock, owner of Dole Food Co., Inc. The campus is home to 8 leading research universities and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, each with a specific research focus and one commitment – improving human health.
Greenspace

EXPLORE OUR ROWAN THROUGH ITS PARKS AND FARMLAND. 

Dan Nicholas Park is a 425-acre park that offers a 10-acre lake for paddle boating and fishing. Dan Nicholas Park is also home to a 70-site campground that is open year-round. Family fun attractions include a carousel, train, gem mine, aquarium, animal habitats, nature center, and many more.

Plan a stay-cation by renting a lake-side cabin at Lake Corriher Wilderness Park. Enjoy fishing, paddle boating, kayaking, and a 12-hole disc golf course.

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy three miles of trails, observation overlooks, and canoe access at Eagle Point Nature Preserve by High Rock Lake. For bird watching and a short hike, visit Dunn’s Mountain Park. Those looking for a scenic view including woodlands, streams, and gardens, will enjoy the beauty of Hurley Park.

With 26-acres of recreational activities, Ellis Park is the perfect setting for an easy family outing offering playgrounds, ball fields, disc golf course, volleyball courts, tennis courts, and more. Additional recreational opportunities including trails, volleyball court, softball diamond, and a playground can be found at Sloan Park.

Experience Village Park come alive with the Kannapolis Summer Events Services that includes concerts, arts, movies, and storytelling. Village Park also offers the Rotary Express Train and a splash pad.

You haven’t truly experienced Our Rowan until you have picked and ate strawberries off the vine from Patterson Farm. Taste fresh blueberries from Talia FarmsPine Top Farm, and Elium Berry Farm. Check out various local farmers markets with fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables.

Health

Novant Health Rowan Medical Center operates primary and specialty care physician practices throughout Rowan County. Novant Health Med Flight is strategically located in Salisbury, providing fast, safe air transportation for critically ill and injured patients 24/7. The hospital serves as a key teaching hospital for medical students of Campbell University’s Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine.

The W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center is a teaching hospital with 438 authorized beds, including an Extended Care Community Living Center. With a staff of 2,300, the hospital serves more than 287,000 veterans living in a 21-county area of Central North Carolina. The VA Medical Center is affiliated with Wake Forest University School of Medicine, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.

 

SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS

Many organizations are making for a better, healthier, and stronger Rowan. Healthy Rowan, a community coalition, identifies and addresses health and quality of life issues in Rowan County. They bring together leadership from health care agencies including Novant Health Rowan Medical CenterRowan County Health DepartmentCommunity Care Clinic of Rowan County, and the W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center, along with social service, non-profit agencies, and many community partners to educate, collaborate, and advocate healthy outcomes.

The YMCA of Rowan County combines spirit, mind, and body in an integrated approach to well-being that goes beyond just fitness. No matter what edge of the county you live, the YMCA offers three convenient locations: East Rowan – Saleeby-Fisher YMCA, Salisbury – J.F. Hurley YMCA, and South Rowan – J.Fred Corriher Jr. YMCA. Depending on location, amenities include training center, basketball courts, aquatics, child care, group exercise classes, personal training, youth league sports, climbing wall, and more! Endurance athletes can check out the Buck Hurley Triathlon or the China Grove Main St. 5K. Get out and get active in Rowan County!

High Rock Lake

With 365 miles of shoreline and water surface covering 15,180 acres, High Rock Lake is the second largest lake in North Carolina behind Lake Norman. Serving as a reservoir lake on the Yadkin River, between Rowan and Davidson counties, High Rock Lake produces hydroelectric power for the surrounding communities.

Water control rules set forth by the High Rock Lake Association, the Yadkin River, and the various companies using the lake, help keep water level high and stable during recreational months. Boats, sailboats, jet skis, kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards are welcomed. Several public accesses and boat launches including Tamarac Marina, High Rock Lake Marina & Campground, Southmont Abbotts Creek, Buddle Creek, and Pebble Beach Access are available.

High Rock Lake is a hidden jewel in a country setting providing a quaint and quiet lake lifestyle. Lake living on High Rock offers excellent boating and fishing opportunities for bass, crappie, striper, bream, and catfish.

Municipalities

With Salisbury as the county seat, Our Rowan is also home to 10 other municipalities. We are the center of the state, within an hour’s drive of Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Greensboro.

MUNICIPALITIES INCLUDE: 

  • China Grove, ranked one of the 20 safest cities in the state by SafeWise. Home to the annual Farmers Day Festival.
  • Cleveland, home of Daimler’s Freighliner workforce.
  • East Spencer, a family-oriented community striving to complete a major rehabilitation of Royal Giants Park.
  • Faith, an original quarrying town which hosts one of the largest Fourth of July celebrations in the state.
  • Gold Hill, the most charming and historic gold mining boom towns with a 70-acre park
  • Granite Quarry, a quarry town known worldwide for the unique pink granite mined here for generations. Its home to Rowan County’s home-grown bank, F&M.
  • Kannapolis, home to the North Carolina Research Campus, a multi-million dollar laboratory complex. The Kannapolis Downtown Revitalization Project involves streetscape and infrastructure of a new Sports & Entertainment Venue which will be home to the Kannapolis Intimidators.
  • Landis, located on the Interstate 85 corridor and a prime spot for growth.
  • Rockwell, an eastern Rowan town with easy access to Charlotte.
  • Salisbury, the county seat and home to the famed North Carolina soft drink, Cheerwine, and the Food Lion supermarket chain. Its downtown is both historic and vibrant. It is one day’s travel to any major city on the East Coast and an approximate half-way point between Washington, DC, and Atlanta.
  • Spencer, home of the North Carolina Transportation Museum which hosts events like the Polar Express, Day Out with Thomas, and Wine & Dine on the Rails
 

Distance and Drive Time to Nearby Cities and Destinations:

  • 43 miles to Charlotte, NC
  • 33 miles to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC)
  • 30 miles to Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • 52 miles to Greensboro, NC
  • 38 miles to Winston-Salem, NC
  • 37 miles to High Point, NC
  • 2 hours to Raleigh, NC
  • 2 hours to Asheville, NC
  • 2 hours to Boone, NC
  • 5 hours to Outer Banks, NC
  • 3.5 hours to Myrtle Beach, SC

 


 

Distance to Regional and International Airports:

  • 46 miles to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
  • 59 miles to Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO)
  • 114 miles to Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
  • 25 miles to Concord-Padgett Regional Airport (USA)

 


 

Local Transportation:

Community Partners