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Small but sophisticated and distinctive. San Francisco is one of the most celebrated cities in the US and for good reason. A culinary Mecca (especially if you add in the wine country). Aside from New York and New Orleans, really the only other US city that is easy to access on foot -- though you'll likely want to take a trolley ride. Iconic for the LGBT community but more impressive for its integration and acceptance than for the faded Castro district.
Love or hate the catholic church, the Vatican as a tourist destination is incredible. Despite the crowds, a must-see... but so overrun than once is enough, especially in the summer.
The Hermit Kingdom is fascinating. It may not be the easiest place to get to and the requisite bus tour (for Americans) is annoying if you are a free spirit, but the hassles are more than worth it. One of the most interesting places on Earth.
The Mass Games are an incredible time to visit. When else will you have the opportunity to watch a 100,000 person performance?
One of the most amazing countries on the planet and, somehow, virtually undiscovered by Americans. This is the place to live out your Arabian Nights fantasy. The architecture is incredible. The corruption can be a nuisance but it is part of the adventure. The State Department doesn't quite do the place justice in its consular information sheets -- be sure to read FCO's travel information as well.