Five Things Every Democrat Should Do in Charlotte
|Skyline of Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina (iStockphoto)|
Political party conventions are usually the stuff of wealthy donors and party superfans. But at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, is trying to change that. At the request of Obama himself, the Democrats have teamed up with Charlotte officials to make this DNC the most accessible ever. If you’ve ever thought of checking out a party convention, or Charlotte, this is your chance.
The convention kicks off on Labor Day, Monday, September 3, with CarolinaFest 2012, a big party (free and open to the public) that will feature James Taylor and Jeff Bridges. Area museums will offer admission free of charge or at discounted rates, plus family-friendly activities, including a Kids Convention, will be held on “the Green.”
On Tuesday and Wednesday, it’s business (and tight access) as usual at the Time Warner Cable Arena. But on Thursday the convention moves to the Bank of America Stadium, where Barack Obama will accept the party nomination in front of thousands of Americans who received "community credentials" to the event (plus all 6,000 of the delegates, the largest number ever at the DNC).
If you aren’t a delegate or one of the thousands with “community credentials,” there’s still plenty to do in Charlotte.
1. Support the arts at the recently completed $83 million Levine Cultural Campus, featuring the Bechtler museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, the Knight Theater, the Levine Center for the Arts, and the Mint Museum.
2. Stretch your legs on an open section of the Carolina Thread Trail, a jog and bike path that will eventually link 15 local counties. Freedom Park, Charlotte’s version of Central Park, is a good spot to start.
3. Get your adrenaline fix at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, where Class IV rapids, a 46-foot climbing center, and a mega zipline await. Plus, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays homage to one of the speediest sports around. If you want something with a slower pace, tee up at one of Charlotte’s 36 golf courses.
4. Continuing on the sports theme, take in the home stadiums of the Carolina Panthers NFL team and the Charlotte Bobcats NBA team at the Bank of America Stadium and the Time Warner Cable Arena, respectively. And yep, those happen to be the locations of the convention itself, so you’ll wait a few days until after the big bang before tours resume.
5. Need a healthy dose of patriotism? Visit the seven Bald Eagles that call the Carolina Raptor Center home. Many species of owl and other birds round out the experience.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication