I Heart My City

We want to hear why you heart your city!

It's easy to share the love: Simply fill out the questions below (copy and paste the list into an email or text document first) and send your completed questionnaire to IntelligentTravel@ngs.org, using “I Heart My City” as your subject line. To help us ensure accuracy, please include Web addresses that correspond with the places, attractions, and people you highlight in your responses.

We also encourage you to submit original photos, videos, digital art, poetry, music–anything that helps show us why you love the place where you live–along with your completed questionnaire.

We feature an introductory paragraph about our I Heart My City guest authors at the top of each post, so please send us a short bio (including details about where you grew up, what led you to move to your current city, and how long you've lived there), along with links to your personal website or blog, if applicable, as well as links to any social profiles (Twitter, Instagram, etc.) that you'd like us to share with the world.

Finally, please share with us a paragraph or two (in narrative form) that explains why you love where you live. Try filling in the blank in response to the prompt: "In two sentences or less, the world should heart my city because ________________________________________________________________."

We'll be in touch if we'll be running your "I Heart" on Intelligent Travel. But in the meantime, scroll down past the questionnaire to check out the "I Heart My City" archives.

**I Heart My City Questionnaire**

______________ is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is ______________.

______________ is the best time to visit my city because ______________.

You can see my city best from ______________.

Locals know to skip ______________ and check out ______________ instead.

______________ is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

In the past, notable people like ______________, ______________, and ______________ have called my city home.

My city’s best museum is ______________ because ______________.

If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s ______________.

The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is ______________.

My city really knows how to celebrate ______________ because ______________.

You can tell if someone is from my city if ______________.

For a fancy night out, I ______________.

Just outside my city, you can visit ______________.

My city is known for being ______________, but it’s really ______________.

The best outdoor market in my city is ______________.

______________ is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and ______________ is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read ______________.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I ______________.

To escape the crowds, I ______________.

The dish that represents my city best is ______________, and ______________ is my city’s signature drink. Sample them at ______________ and ______________ respectively.

______________ is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out ______________.

______________ could only happen in my city.

In the spring you should ______________.

In the summer you should ______________.

In the fall you should ______________.

In the winter you should ______________.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss ______________.

The best book about my city is ______________ because ______________.

Researcher and artist Mimi Onuoha was living in Brooklyn…right before she found out she had been selected as one of five Fulbright-Nat Geo digital storytelling fellows. She’s since hopped the pond to London to explore how technology and culture influence and affect each other, but she’ll never get Brooklyn out of her soul. As she says, “you can’t help but find endearing a city that will offer you everything but only kind of heart you back.” Here are some of Mimi’s favorite things about NYC’s most populous borough.

Nat Geo Young Explorer Hannah Reyes is a photographer and travel enthusiast whose work has taken her to the unlikeliest of places to document threatened indigenous cultures. After growing up in the Philippine capital, Manila, she chose a similarly chaotic city in Cambodia—Phnom Penh—as her new home base. With its rich history and its diverse landscapes, Hannah says, “those who decide to take a close look at this changing place enjoy the reward of discovering its wonderful secrets.” Here are a few of her favorite things about the city she calls home.

A bodhrán player (and also a maker of the traditional drums), set dancer (a type of Irish folk dance), and bog oak sculptor, Belfast native Eamon Maguire is well versed in Irish culture. He also helps pass on these traditions as an instructor at An Droichead, an Irish language and arts school in the city. Here are a few of Eamon’s favorite things about the capital and creative hub of Northern Ireland.

Maranta Vego is a Sarajevo local through and through. After spending a few years in Croatia, the avid couch surfer knew it was time to return to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s beloved capital city. Now Maranta enjoys sharing her hometown pride on Spotted by Locals: Sarajevo, encouraging travelers to look past her city’s war-torn past to see its shine. Here are a few of Maranta’s favorite things about this Balkan beauty.

Jackie DesForges is among a rare breed of individuals who were actually born and raised in Los Angeles. Various jobs in the travel industry have taken her to Chicago, Ireland, Israel, and, most recently, to New York City, where she works as a social media manager for Rail Europe. But there’s only one city Jackie will ever call home. Here are a few of her favorite things about L.A.

Nat Geo Emerging Explorer and Bozeman local Gregg Treinish lives for adventure. The founder of Adventures and Scientists for Conservation recently returned from months spent in the field with fellow Explorers Steve Boyes and Jer Thorp to study Botswana’s Okavango Delta, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth. But no matter where Gregg roams, he’s always happy to be home. Here’s his insider’s guide to Big Sky country.

Rabat native Yasmine El Baggari has always been a dreamer. Her desire to discover the great unknown led her to America in 2010, and from there her dreams kept getting bigger. First, she set out to visit all 50 states (she’s covered more than two thirds so far). Now she’s on a 15-country journey around the globe to continue her quest to break down cultural barriers and stereotypes through travel. But no matter where Yasmine is, her hometown pride comes with her. Here are her favorite things about Morocco’s capital city.

Irena Schlosserová is a Prague local, through and through (she’s only spent nine months outside of her beloved Czech capital). While she admits that there are many tourist traps in Prague, she urges visitors to get off the beaten path and into the real heart of the City of a Hundred Spires. Read on to be off to a good start.

After a thoroughly East Coast childhood, Avery Stonich traded Boston for Boulder in 1988. Once she experienced the city locals lovingly refer to as the “People’s Republic of Boulder,” she never looked back. This outdoor enthusiast and freelance adventure and travel writer has more than 40 countries under her belt, but still thinks Boulder is among the greatest places on Earth. Here are a few of her favorite things about her hometown of choice.

Michigander Luke Lienau’s relationship with Macau began in 2002 with a visit to see his girlfriend, a native of the Chinese Special Administrative Region. In the course of traveling back and forth for nearly a decade, he became fascinated with the city and its changes. When Luke finally decided to move to be with his now-wife…

Asin Sharma is a Kathmandu native whose love for her home city has only grown over time. To be sure, this passion drove Asin to pursue a career as a writer for NepalAdvisor.com, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t indulge her wanderlust once in a while. “I love traveling alone with a map in my hand…and an adventure right in front of me,” Asin admits. But her heart will always be in Kathmandu. Here are a few of her favorite things about the culturally rich capital she calls home.

Marta Macedo was born and raised in Porto and came to realize just how much she loved her city while she was studying abroad. “People may live their lives trying to figure out where their home is,” she says. “Being away made me realize that Porto truly is home for me.” After traveling the world, Marta returned to her beloved port city and started sharing her hometown pride on Spotted by Locals. Here are a few of her favorite things about Portugal’s second largest city.

Helen Davies may hail from the United Kingdom, but after an extended solo journey around Africa in her 20s, she fell in love with the continent. In fact, Zambia impressed her so much she ended up moving there to become an expedition leader and tour guide. Nowadays, she divides her time between Africa and the U.K. and documents her travels on her blog to help others uncover the best the world has to offer. Here are a few things about Livingstone, the city Helen calls her “second home.”

Venice native Igor Scomparin led tours all over Europe with Globus for a decade before returning home to be a “local host” for Monograms. Now, this tourism industry veteran’s mission is to show the real, authentic Venice to travelers who come to visit his homeland. Here’s a look at the City of Canals, through the ultimate local’s eyes.

Minnesota native and self-described travel addict Shanna Schultz makes a habit out of exploring the world—and of sharing tales of her adventures on her blog. But, not one to forget her roots, Shanna is also passionate about the things that make the Midwestern U.S. unique (check out her musings on A Midwest Travel Companion). Here are a few of her favorite things about her half of the Twin Cities.

Born and raised in the U.K., Cecily Layzell hopped the pond to Amsterdam a decade ago and has been keeping it continental ever since. When she’s not scoping out the latest restaurant and bars in the Dutch capital for her website, Eat Amsterdam, the food and travel writer spends her time freelancing for publications all around the globe. Here are a few of her favorite things about the Venice of the North.

Kathrin Deter moved to Helsinki from Luxembourg in 2010 for what she thought would be a short exchange program. But the Finnish capital stole her heart, and the move quickly became permanent. Not one to look back, Kathrin now she spends her days writing about her newly adopted city for Spotted by Locals, and on her personal blog, Luminoucity. Here are a few of Kathrin’s favorite things about the place she calls home.

When Ailsa Ross visited Berlin for the first time, she described it as “a big shiny carousel where even under the pale watery skies of winter, you feel part of a Golden Age.” After she decided to call the German capital home, her enthusiasm for the city only grew. Here are a few of her favorite things about Berlin.

Joseph Hudak has been a Nashville local since 2012, at the cusp of Music City’s renaissance. Prior to that, while based in Philadelphia, he logged five more years as a freelance writer covering the scene. Now senior editor at Rolling Stone Country, Rolling Stone’s new country-music website, Joseph looks forward to watching the city continue its evolution. Here’s a look at Tennessee’s famous capital through his unique lens.

Deepti Singh Gupta may be a botanist by education and a teacher by trade, but she’s a traveler “in spirit and soul.” Though she hails from the suburbs of Delhi, Deepti seeks out the capital city’s throbbing heart every chance she gets to explore its ever-changing landscapes. Here are a few of Deepti’s favorite things about the place she calls home.

Though born in Budapest, András Barta has called Geneva home since he was just a baby. This Jack-of-all-trades couch-surfing enthusiast–who has worked as a bookseller, financial advisor, bartender, and flight attendant–is now helping to lead a small business while writing for Spotted by Locals in his spare time. “I discover Geneva a bit more every day,” he says, “and I love every minute of it!” Here are a few of András’s favorite things about the cultural capital of French-speaking Switzerland.

Québec City native Pamela MacNaughtan left her career behind to pursue her dream of long-term travel in 2010, and hasn’t looked back. This self-proclaimed “bacon addict” isn’t only led by her taste buds; she’s also attracted to the unusual and adventurous side of life on the road. She’s toured working brothels and road tripped from Prague to Turkmenistan, but Canada has her heart. Here are a few of Pamela’s favorite things about the place she calls home.

Travel journalist Paul Steyn hails from Jozi, or Johannesburg–South Africa’s largest city. After serving as a guide throughout Africa for some years, he went on to edit a prominent travel magazine in Africa. Right now he’s a freelance writer and photographer focused on covering eco-forward destinations around the world, contributing regularly to National Geographic’s News Watch blog and other publications. Here are a few of Paul’s favorite things about his hometown.

Nat Geo Student Expeditions leader Erika Skogg is a photographer, writer, and educator with a passion for travel. After braving the frozen tundra of Wisconsin in her youth, Erika made the move to sunny Bogotá, where she has been working as a media producer for Off Bound Adventures and writing for the local English newspaper for the past two years. Here are some of her favorite things about Colombia’s capital city.

Oliver Weiss is a born and bred Frankfurter. And though he’s a fervent traveler, he’s always happy to return to his home base–which he describes as a village with a “touch of city.” In fact, Oliver has so much love for his hometown that he’s willing to share his insider intel with the world for Spotted by Locals. Here are some of Oliver’s favorite things about this German gem.