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, we encourage you to include web addresses that correspond with the places, attractions, and people you highlight in your responses.

We also encourage you to submitoriginal 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, 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.

We'll be in touch if we'll be running your "I Heart" on the blog. 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 ______________.

My city’s biggest sports event is ______________. Watch it at ______________.

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

To escape the crowds, I ______________.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be ______________ because ______________.

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

______________ is my favorite building in town because ______________.

The most random thing about my city is ______________.

______________ 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 ______________.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is ______________.

In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because _________________________________________________________________.

When Sharada Annamaraju moved to Hyderabad as a teenager, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. But time and distance can change a person. Eight years (and one language learned) later, she decided to give the capital of Andhra Pradesh in southern India another chance. This time, sparks flew, and she isn’t leaving anytime soon. Here are a few of Sharada’s favorite things about the place she calls home.

Stephanie Hsu, who hails from New Jersey, relocated to Taipei on a “winter-break whim” and has never looked back. She now spends her days studying business at National Taiwan University and blogging about the place she calls home on her website, The Thousandth Girl. Here are a few of Stephanie’s favorite things about the city The Wall Street Journal’s China bureau described as “Asia’s answer to Portland, Oregon.”

Marina Popjakova might not be a native of Bratislava, but she certainly feels like one after having lived there for so long. She thinks Slovakia’s capital deserves more attention than it gets–and shares her enthusiasm for her adopted city with the world as a volunteer for Spotted by Locals. Here are some of Marina’s favorite things about the “Beauty on the Danube.”

Jill Schneider’s career as a photojournalist takes her all around the world, but her hometown of San Francisco always calls her back. A high school photography teacher and leader for National Geographic Student Expeditions, Jill is also a frequent Intelligent Travel contributor. Here are some of this California girl’s favorite things about her city by the bay.

Clive Cortis has spent the past 40 years in Malta and doesn’t “regret one single year.” He spends his days as a certified tour guide, showing off the things he loves about the island’s capital city of Valletta. From sandy beaches to exceptional nightlife, here are some of Clive’s favorite things about this Mediterranean city by the sea.

Originally from a small town in northwestern Ireland, Erna O’Connor first came to Dublin to attend Trinity College in the 1980s. Now a lecturer at the preeminent institution, she finds that Dublin’s friendly people, cultural vibrancy, and proximity to the mountains and the sea make it a great place to call home. Here are a few of Erna’s favorite things about Ireland’s capital city–just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

When it came time to choose a college, Philadelphia native Jeremy Albelda traded in those northern winters for endless summer in Miami Beach. The city hooked him, hard, and he’s been a proud resident ever since. Though Jeremy’s gig as a travel blogger means he spends a lot of time abroad, the MIA always finds a way to reel him back. Here are some of his favorite things about the coastal gem he calls home.

New Orleans native Caroline Gerdes may have recently moved to Washington, D.C., but she loves her hometown. So much so that she recently spent a year–with the help of a National Geographic grant–of her life working on an oral history project about the Ninth Ward, where her father grew up, to document the community’s rich history and culture–especially the edible aspects. Here are some of Caroline’s favorite things about the city she’s proud to call home.

Munira Chendvankar has traveled across much of India, but maintains a “happy bias” toward her hometown. In keeping with the city’s status as the country’s entertainment capital (hello, Bollywood!), this self-proclaimed “film-ie” works as a senior producer for a television production house and says filling out our “I Heart” questionnaire reaffirmed her faith in–and love for–the city she calls home. Here are a few of Munira’s favorite things about Mumbai.

Russian national Elena Kozlova relocated to St. Petersburg in 2006 to pursue higher education, but her love for the city made her stick around after she claimed her degree. The Spotted By Locals blogger says living in Russia’s former imperial capital gives “the rare feeling of living in a museum under the open air surrounded by water,” and she likes it that way. Here are a few of Elena’s favorite things about the charming port city she calls home.

Dearbhaill Standún and her husband own and operate a restored 17th-century “hill village,” Cnoc Suain, just a short drive from Galway city on Ireland’s west coast. Though the Gaelic speaker and musician loves her rural retreat in the ruggedly beautiful Connemara district, she cherishes her time in this “friendly festival city by the Bay.” Here are a few of her favorite things to see and do in Cathair na Gaillimhe (that’s Irish Gaelic for Galway).

Native Chicagoan Beth Williams caught the travel bug after spending half a year in Japan during college. After graduation, she missed Asia so much she just had to go back. A gig teaching English brought her to Hong Kong, where she’s lived for the past two years. Armed with her camera and irrepressible wanderlust, Beth’s now on a mission to prove that you can work a 9-to-5 and still find time to travel. Here are some of her favorite things about the city she calls “a place unlike any other.”

Marti Buckley Kilpatrick, an American journalist and cook, has called San Sebastián home for the past three years. This food aficionado with a passion for Basque culinary culture–whether in pintxo form or at a five-hour lunch–points to an ancient local proverb that translates to “Wherever your thoughts go, your feet will follow” as her motto. Here are a few of Marti’s favorite things about this distinctive center of culture.

An engineer by day, Skopje native Boban Talevski, a professed “foodie who never sleeps,” shares his insider insights on Spotted By Locals in his spare time. He loves that the Macedonian capital has “the buzz of some big metropolis, but in essence is still a very small city.” Here are some of his recommendations for travelers visiting the place he calls home.

Iryna was “born and raised in beautiful Ukraine,” but is happy to call Calgary her “second home.” After traveling through Europe, she decided to make Western Canada her permanent residence and hasn’t ever looked back. Here are some of her favorite things about Alberta’s “Cowboy City.”

It’s a new year and, with it, new trips to plan. As you mull over which places you’d like to tick off your travel bucket list in 2014, consider these brief but compelling reasons why you should visit 20 of the world’s cities from the people who know and love them best.

When Annie Agnone isn’t exploring “America by Night” as a Nat Geo Young Explorer, she’s pursuing a MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. In the spring of 2011, when her new hometown was hit hard by a tornado, Annie was impressed by how her neighbors came to each other’s aid. In addition to the generous local spirit on display, Annie has also become a fan of lubbers, palmetto bugs, boiled peanuts, pines, and big-leaf magnolia trees since moving to the home of the Crimson Tide. Here are a few of her (other) favorite things about living in Tuscaloosa.

After a decade of “intercontinental hopping,” German national Ute Kreitz returned to the “fatherland” in 2007, settling on Hamburg as her new home base. Having heard many people over the years call Hamburg Germany’s most beautiful city, she was skeptical, but after moving there, she couldn’t agree more. Here are a few of Ute’s favorite things about the city she describes as having “a small town feel and a cosmopolitan touch.”

I Heart My Festive City

Button up your winter coat and grab a cup of cocoa, because the holiday season is upon us. To toast the wonders of winter, we are highlighting seasonal must-dos from our fantastic I Heart My City community. From Christmas markets to ice skating, delicious delicacies to botanical gardens, here are 20 ways to celebrate the…

Caroline Eubanks has lived everywhere from Charleston to Sydney, but continually finds herself drawn back to her place of origin: Atlanta, Georgia. She shares her hometown pride on her blogs “Caroline in the City” and “This Is My South” and now she’s sharing some of her hard-won insider secrets with the Intelligent Travel community.

Laura Jankjewitz is a full-time engineering student with a passion for Asian culture–she’s even learning Chinese in hopes of studying abroad one day. But in the meantime, here are some of Laura’s favorite things about her home town, Stuttgart, Germany.

Kieran Cain hails from Denver, Colorado, but made the choice to relocate “up the hill” to Breckenridge, where he makes his living as the marketing director for Breckenridge Ski Resort, and couldn’t be happier. Here are a few of Kieran’s favorite things about the town he now calls home.

Sofia native Ana Blagova spends her time running a small non-profit dedicated to promoting art in urban spaces and sharing her insider insight with the world as a Spotted By Locals contributor. Bulgaria’s capital city has been attracting more visitors each year, a trend Ana welcomes. As she says: “The more people, the more fun.” Here are some of Ana’s favorite things about her hometown.

Elie Gardner, a freelance photographer who contributes to Traveler magazine, grew up in a tiny town in North Dakota. Work brought her to Peru’s capital city in late 2010, and she’s been there ever since. Elie loves speaking Spanish, trying new foods, seeking out cultural experiences, and finding hidden gems in her husband’s hometown. Here are some of her favorite things about Lima.

Ariel Bloomer was born and raised in Portland but took a hiatus from Stumptown to go college and teach English in Bulgaria. “The travel bug comes as a bit of a curse,” she says. “I’m privileged and doomed to travel around the world knowing the best place I can imagine lies in my wake.” There are certainly worse problems to have. Now Ariel’s happily back in her old stomping grounds, and celebrating her homecoming with a tribute to all things Portland.