When Jen and I planned our UK trip last year, I was eager to get to Dublin, and I already knew I loved London, but I didn't know much about Edinburgh. We weren't expecting anything nearly as enchanting as what we experienced. We were blown away, and not just by the bagpipes. Looking back, we should have expected more from the birthplace of Harry Potter. Though fully modern (there's a Hilton in one of the castles), walking around Edinburgh is like walking around a magical medieval city with cobblestone streets, Gothic architecture, and of course, the giant castle overlooking the city.
If you're looking for hiking, you can do it within the city limits by climbing Arthur's Seat, a massive "hill" (read: baby mountain) that overlooks the city, or Calton Hill, another great way to see views of beautiful Edinburgh. If you're looking for shopping, this is where you can buy souvenirs in the form of cozy cashmere tartan, and if you're looking for drinks, all the bartenders are cool as hell and friendly. For this part of the world, the food was surprisingly good with fresh seafood that rivals that of Maryland, and if you go in August like we did, you can catch the Fringe Festival, which celebrates the arts with live music and theater all month long. In fact, our last night in Edinburgh just happened to be the last night of the Fringe Festival, and we got a sweet sendoff with the best fireworks I've ever seen anywhere over Edinburgh Castle.
Overall, I'd say it's now one of my favorite cities I've ever visited. We didn't want to leave and we can't wait to someday go back.