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 ______________.

Avid traveler and Venezuelan national Andreina Pantin moved to Panama in 2009, and has been exploring the ins and outs of its capital city ever since. Adreina believes that “to love a place, it is important to know it, its people, and its culture,” and practices what she preaches by blogging about her ongoing discoveries in and around Panama City. Here are a few of her favorite things about the cultural crossroads she calls home.

Avid traveler Risto Kuulasmaa has explored monasteries in Bhutan, trekked across deserts in the Middle East, hiked across Iceland, and then some. Despite his wanderlust, the Scandinavian television producer has proudly called the “hassle-free, pocket-size metropolis” of Helsinki home for the past 12 years. Here are a few of Risto’s favorite things about Finland’s capital city.

Despite her many travels, Melissa Mederos cannot imagine calling any place but Miami home. The Magic City native is as up for an urban adventure as she is for exploring the abundant natural splendor that surrounds her city (think the Everglades and the Keys). Here are a few of Melissa’s favorite things about her hometown paradise.

Ana Maria Malpartida was born an ocean away from Zurich, but that hasn’t stopped her from calling Switzerland’s biggest city home. The Peruvian-born, Swiss-at-heart foodie spends most of her time—and a good portion of her salary—searching out the best eats in Zurich and sharing her finds with the world on Spotted By Locals. Here’s a look at Ana Maria’s adopted hometown through her unique lens.

Even though Nicole Brewer hails from Detroit, Michigan, she has made the world her home. After stints in South Korea, Germany, and South Africa, Nicole decided to take a job as an English instructor in Nizwa, Oman. When she’s not at the head of the class, she’s hard at work building I Luv 2 Globetrot, a blog she co-founded with a…

Fez native Hamza El Fasiki is a jack of all trades. The social entrepreneur, artist (he learned the traditional art of tea-tray etching from his father), musician (he plays a mean oud), and academic (he holds a master’s degree in Moroccan culture) has been led by his interests all around the world. Though Hamza’s spent time in the U.S., Japan, Greece, and the United Arab Emirates, nothing can compare to his hometown. Here are a few of his favorite things about the “Athens of Africa.”

Texas native Diana Skok Corridori traded the Lone Star State for the Old Country when she moved to Milan to live with her Italian husband. In addition to raising her two sons, she spends her time writing about the quirks and beauty of life in northern Italy through her travel blog Vino Vita Viaggi. Here’s a look at Milan through Diana’s unique lens.

I Heart My City: Tim’s Cologne

Tim Steins is no stranger to Cologne. Born 30 kilometers north of this German city, he spent his childhood exploring Cologne on the weekends with friends in tow. He now channels his hometown pride into the Spotted by Locals blog while working for a media analysis agency. Though he’s lived in numerous places around Europe, Tim recognizes the “heart-warming spirit” of his current home: “Cologne is not a city, it’s a feeling.”

Laura Bronner is an American expat who has been living in Sydney for the last two years. After graduating from college, she set off on what was supposed to be a year of travel; that was almost four years ago. Since then she has lived and traveled all over New Zealand and Australia.

Rebecca Davis is a St. Petersburg native through and through. A recent transplant to Washington, D.C., she now delights in visiting what she describes as a “tropical, art-conscious city with a laid-back beach vibe.” Rebecca gets to explore the world by way of photographs and stories as an associate producer at Nat Geo Travel, but she’ll always be proud of her Florida roots. Here are a few of her favorite things about St. Petersburg.

I Heart My City: Karen’s Bogotá

Freelance writer Karen Attman moved to Venezuela from the United States nearly two decades ago to embrace the ex-pat life and hasn’t looked back. She moved her home base to Bogotá in 2012 and thrives on the Colombian capital’s enthusiasm and creativity. “It’s a flourishing city that has an amazing energy,” she says, “but the main reason is all about the people. They are innovative, creative, loving, open, and generous.” Here are a few of Karen’s favorite things about her adopted hometown.

Raised in a quasi-treehouse on the edge of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, New York, Nat Geo Young Explorer Alizé Carrère now travels the globe to illuminate how humans and other animals adapt to changing environments. When she’s not in the field, she recharges her batteries in her beloved hometown. Ithaca “is an incubator for creativity, intellectual development, self-expression, and a place to gain an appreciation for life’s diversity,” she says.

Magda Przedmojska delights in sharing her city with the rest of the world—that’s why she’s a regular contributor to Spotted By Locals Warsaw. Though this avid traveler has lived elsewhere—from Aberdeen to Berlin—the Polish capital has her heart. “Warsaw is still the place to be because of my friends and family—the most important people in my life,” she says. Here are some of the reasons Magda describes her hometown as “quite a nice melting point to visit.”

Nat Geo Young Explorer Erin Spencer is a marine scientist with a curious fascination with invasive lionfish and tri-cornered hats. After visiting Virginia’s Historic Triangle every year as a child, she ended up moving to Williamsburg to attend William & Mary. Though she now lives in D.C., she takes frequent trips to satisfy her colonial cravings. Here are some of Erin’s favorite things about her home away from home.

Zubair Khawar is a textile designer, but his true passion is travel photography. Born and raised in Lahore, he has recently started exploring his hometown through the eyes of a visitor—the true mark of any travel photographer worth his snuff—wandering the city’s markets, observing the crowds, and sharing the color and bustle of daily life through images. Here’s a look at the Punjab provincial capital through Zubair’s lens.

Seattle local Adina Marguerite Pease is a creative type who lives to wander. While she’ll always be a California girl at heart, she moved to the Emerald City seeking greener pastures, and found them. When she’s not exploring the Pacific Northwest, Adina sets out on road trip adventures around the world with her husband and their Vizsla pup, Parsley. Here are a few of her favorite things about the city she calls home.

Vilnius native Kamilė Naraitė attributes her effusive hometown pride to her mother, who exposed her to the most beautiful and historic spots in Lithuania’s capital city. And though Kamilė loves traveling around the world, she makes a point to share her insider intel on the best things to see and do in Vilnius on Spotted by Locals. Here’s a taste of what she thinks will make fellow travelers “fall in love with this green, natural, and unique city” she calls home.

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.