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Charlotte is Surprisingly Fun #DNC2012

The other day, Condoleezza Rice named the Research Triangle as one of the most innovative places in America. She said that it’s fueling the knowledge-based revolution in America.

I can’t disagree. I’ve lived here for four years and the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area is pretty awesome.

North Carolina is home to another great city that is about to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention. It’s Charlotte!

How would I kill a day in the Queen City?

NASCAR Hall of Fame

This place is fabulous, which is an odd thing for me to admit because I’m a hardcore, punk rock, suburban liberal Democrat who drives a Volvo. And I’m a chick. Thankfully, the museum is wholly interactive and allows you to integrate your experiences on the ground with your social media profiles. The museum encourages you to tweet about your visit and some of the exhibits are marked with signage that gives you a hashtag. You can even take pictures inside some of the retro cars and upload those images to Facebook from a kiosk. It’s super fun and oddly interesting.

And I kinda like NASCAR.

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

Most of us are stuck with crappy modern art — like a piece of string hanging from a tack on the ceiling — if we don’t live in a major metropolitan area. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art has serious and impressive pieces in its collection from artists like Joan Miró, Le Corbusier, Paul Klee and Jasper Johns. There’s even some Picasso to make everyone happy.

Mint Museum

Art is more than just about paintings. Art is fashion, music and textiles. The Mint Museum is fantastic. Last year, they had a great retrospective on Chanel. Right now, they have an exhibition on beads and fashion. Really. The Mint reminds me that art can be accessible and that fashion is more than just Project Runway and Heidi Klum.

The Fig Tree Restaurant at the Lucas House

This is my favorite place to eat in Charlotte. It’s sorta fancy, but more importantly, the building is gorgeous. It is a Craftsman-style bungalow that has been restored. The wood floors are beautiful, the fireplace is cool, the walls are lovely and even the bathrooms are gorgeous. And PS — The food is amazing, fresh and local. You can’t have a bad meal.

The one thing I dislike about Charlotte? It’s three hours away from my house, which means I don’t get there very often. And it’s humid, just like Raleigh, which means that I don’t get a break from the summer heat and crazy hair days.

Hopefully the news coverage of the 2012 Democratic National Convention will show more of the city than the inside of the convention hall. It’s a great place to visit. I swear.

Have you been to Charlotte? What do you think? Did you enjoy it?

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