For me, it was DCA - Washington National. Back in the day (early 1990's), all you needed was a class B (or TCA) clearance to enter VFR. The same for departing.
On one particularly nice, but breezy spring day with the winds out of the east, I was cleared for takeoff on runway 3, maintain runway heading on climb out, until clear of P-56, then on course. On most days with a normal west wind, that clearance would take you just east of P-56. On this day, however, it was clear I would overfly the US Capitol on runway heading. Not a good thing to stray into prohibited airspace!
With the usual constant banter on the frequency, I could not request a heading change, so I enacted my PIC authority and adjusted the heading just enough to fly a continuous circuitous route around the east steps of the Capitol before heading northwest to Frederick. Nice! Those days are gone, but the memories still linger.
Leadville, CO. The highest airport in the USA. 9934 Ft. The weather is gorgeous, the air is so clean you can see for 30 miles, and the snow-capped Rocky Mountains tower over us, even though we are at almost at FL10. The place just takes your breath away.
As a student pilot nearing the end of my formal training, my exposure to various airports may be limited compared to others—for now. That said, there are a few that I’ve already put on my “must return to“ list. As I’m in Maryland, the favorite here is Hagerstown (KHGR): modern, well-run, on-site museum and great FBO, it has everything in a beautiful setting. High marks also go to Lancaster (KLNS) and nearby Reading (KRDG) in Pennsylvania. I should not omit Easton (KESN) on Maryland’s Eastern Shore for its friendly tower, very patient with new pilots training in Class D airspace.
When I was a kid I flew a AA5B based out of DCA. This was about 1980 or so. Prior to the Class B and TCA. It was fun, we would come in with shorts and flip flops to I think it was Page. They would take us to the plane in a Van. Many times I flew the River Approach at 1500ft @ 75% power until the Key Bridge where I would throttle back and coast in. It was heady stuff for a 19 year old.
My favorite flight is to CBE (Cumberland). The ride out over the mountains and valleys is beautiful. Coming in
from the east the 45 to 23 takes you past the end of a hill and then the downwind is parallel to the ridge even with the top and the houses there. The base and final takes you over the rail yards and it is just a neat visual. The
Airport is large with two runways. There is a terminal building built for airline traffic that has not been there
in nearly 20 years. On a nice day it is great to sit at the outside gazebo just taking in the view or having a meal
at the picnic tables in front of the Hummingbird Cafe just yards from your plane.