Illustrations: Steve Brodner
The DNC opens with a party at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where NASCAR drivers are skilled at turning left. Go Uptown to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and jump in a car for a simulated race.
Politically Correct Meal
At King's Kitchen, professionals work alongside second-chance folks—formerly homeless or recent rehab grads—and some profits go to programs that feed the poor. Enjoy chef Jim Noble's fine Southern fare, plus good-deed warmth.
Cultural Braggin' Rights
Charlotte culture = diversity: from pro wrestler Ric Flair (a favorite son) to the Bechtler (modern art), Gantt (African-American art), and Mint (everything else) museums.
Iconic Winged Sculpture
The city's most popular photo-op is called Firebird, but everybody here calls it the Disco Chicken. Bonus: Check your teeth in the 17-foot-high mirror-adorned sculpture on the way to a hot "debate" with that delegate from Delaware.
Primary Color Party Spot
Spend your post-party hours (aka: When Nothing Good Happens to Politicians) at The Double Door Inn, where Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Buddy Guy have played the Blues.
Housed in a 1929 building, The Dunhill Hotel is an anomaly in this teardown-happy town. (They once removed leather furniture for vegetarian guest Paul McCartney.) Its Harvest Moon Grille serves local eggs and meat—sorry, Paul—from nearby farms.