I bought myself a Canon 550D about a year ago, after agonizing about it for 6 months - it's a really nice camera and either that or a 600D would be a perfect choice. Or you could look at similar offerings from Nikon. Personally I'd stick to Canon or Nikon, you will find a greater choice of lenses and other accessories.
The biggest benefits you will get with just about any DSLR are virtually no shutter lag delay plus much more manual control over the photos you shoot. The penalty of course is bigger and heavier camera, and more $$$. Most of the cameras do video as well.
I'd highly recommend you go to a reputable camera shop (or several) and try out different models. You can buy online cheaper but that isn't always a good strategy, especially if you want after sales support and advice.
The very next thing I did after purchasing was to enroll in a Polytech 6-week night class to get the best out of my camera. It's well worth it, and if you are going to get the most out out of your new purchase then you should be trying out all those manual settings. Going to the night class was good as we were set "homework" between classes and I was able to learn from other students' experiences and questions. The Polytech course was good, but it's really only an introduction - you need to use your camera lots, and I'm still learning about mine.
Finally, if you do end up buying a DSLR, you don't have to buy the kit lenses. Investigate further, you may find a better lens with better optical charactistics (i.e. a faster lens, more suited for indoors work where the lighting is not always the best) for a bit more money than the kit lenses, but it may give you a better all-round lens. Again this is where the camera shop will come into its own.