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 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, 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 _________________________________________________________________.

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.

Vishwa Shah has been based in Nairobi since the age of six. The current University of Illinois student has traveled all over the world, but, for Vishwa, nothing compares to the quiet beauty of Kenya’s capital city. “It is a fertile, hilly Eden in which I could live and die and live in again,” she says. Enough said. Here are a few of Vishwa’s favorite things about the “Green City in the Sun.”

Autumn is kicking into full swing (for the northern half of the world, at least), so we thought we’d celebrate the season with a special edition of I Heart My City. Here are 20 fall must-dos from I Heart contributors in 20 cities around the world.

Rose Davidson was an intern for National Geographic Travel Books this past summer. She’s traveled extensively around the world, but this Ohio girl will always call Cincinnati home. Here are some of Rose’s favorite things about the Queen City.

I Heart My City: Martins’s Riga

Martins Veidemanis has lived in Riga for close to two decades. He fell in love with the city because of the architecture, its unique “vibe,” and the memories he’s shared there with his wife. Here are a few of his favorite things about the Latvian capital.

Ashley Fleckenstein is an American photographer and travel blogger who spent an extended amount of time in Paris before embarking on a trip to explore the world. Even though her wanderlust has led her to Asia (at least until her money runs out), Ashley’s heart belongs to Paris. Here are a few of her favorite things about the City of Light.

Globe-trotting Englishman Simon Cooke now calls Essaouira home thanks to an extended stay there in 2005. Along with meeting the woman who would become his wife, this passionate traveler began a long love affair with the Moroccan city by the sea that continues to this day. Here are a few of his favorite things about Essaouira. (Pack your bags now; he says October is the best time to visit.)

Traveler of the Year Booker Mitchell was close to celebrating his fourth birthday when 9/11 happened. “Millions call New York City home, and while no one personally knows even a percentage of the population, we unite at times when it matters most and act locally like any other small town in the country or world,” he…

Arianna Malacrida hails from a small town just outside Milan, but decided to make the move to the big city while studying media and communications. After spending a lot of time couch surfing, she settled in to a flat in the Porta Genova neighborhood and started sharing her insider intelligence about Milan with the world via Spotted by Locals. Here are a few of her favorite things about Italy’s second-largest city.

Emilio Brizzi has been a professional photographer most of his life, and one of his favorite subjects is the city where he lives: Amsterdam. His love for the Dutch capital — from its detailed-oriented architecture and modern take on tradition and history to the laid-back independence of its citizenry — is palpable. See if you don’t fall in love next.

Topeka native Shanley Cox made the move to Kansas City three years ago and spends her time dishing about local cuisine on her blog. But this foodie knows the ins and outs of more than just the restaurant scene. Here are a few of Shanley’s favorite things about the “BBQ Capital of the World.”

Bucharest native Andrea Chirulescu came to Oslo five years ago to work in the IT industry — but it only took her a couple hours to fall in love with the Norwegian capital. Here are a few of her favorite things about her adopted city.

Nicola Ferlei-Brown is a British travel writer based in Rome who’s passionate about getting the word out about where to eat, shop, and see all things divine in the city of Seven Hills. Here are a few of this art history aficionado’s favorite things about the place she’s proud to call home.