OP what field are you in?
I'll plug the DC metro area. We have a great job market and living in DC means that you will have friends from all over. I live in MD, which is often called America in Miniature. You can get to 4 states with 1 hour of driving, 5 states with 2 hours of driving, 8 states with 4 hours of driving, 13 states with 6 hours of driving,
While politics are important here, it's not as pervasive as you may think. There is great food, tons of culture and nightlife, and you are no more than an hour away from being in the mountains if that's your thing. In Virginia, there are a ton of wineries to visit. You can also get to the beach in as little as 45 min as well. As far as weather goes, we can guarantee you ice for sure. Some winters are mild with little snow, other winters can have 20 inches of snow. we also like to give fun names to our weather, such as Hurriquake, Snowmageddon, etc. Summers are humid, very very humid. We don't do dry heat here. You will get 100 degree weather with 90% humidity. Spring is glorious, and Fall brings the changing of the leaves.
If you live on the Metro line, you won't really have to deal with congestion. Most companies in the area give a transit benefit that it worth a certain amount of money. You can use it for the Metro, parking, or commuter rail.