Washington, D.C.
George Washington dubbed it "The Federal City," Thomas Jefferson envisioned it as "America's Paris," and JFK described it, jokingly, as "a city of southern efficiency and northern charm." However you regard D.C. (or as local residents call it, the "DMV"—for D.C., Maryland, and Virginia), it fulfills its reputation as an imperial city with a vibrant energy. Visitors love the U.S. Capitol Building, White House, National Mall, Smithsonian museums, and the memorials. But the city's exciting food and theater scenes also beckon, along with dozens of privately owned museums showcasing everything from art to espionage, and dynamic neighborhoods like U Street, 14th Street/Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, Adams-Morgan, Mt. Pleasant, and Columbia Heights. Should you seek temporary escape, within two hours to the west lie the Appalachian and Blue Ridge mountains and the Shenandoah Valley, and to the east is the Eastern Shore, Chesapeake Bay, and Atlantic Ocean.