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 Washington, 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 United States Capitol, 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, Mount Pleasant, and Columbia Heights. Should you seek temporary escape, the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley lie to the west, and to the east is the Eastern Shore, Chesapeake Bay, and Atlantic Ocean.