This article examines the real potential of smart cities to offer a better experience to residents as people with more than just basic needs. This is done through a lens of design, urban encounters and on-site sensations. The topic is presented and discussed in four main themes; Facilitating the Making of Livable City and Quality Experience, Mental Associations of the City, The Unique Intimacy of the Night Experience, Emotional Responses: Safety, Stress and Discomfort, and the Taste of the City: Character, Wayfinding and Monotony. This is done to facilitate analysis and communication. Nevertheless, the topics presented here should not be separated from one another. Various qualitative methods were used in the analysis of the Milton Keynes case study. This includes interviews, field observations and visual comparisons with other cases, allowing for a deeper understanding of the different capabilities of the different approaches. The results help to further fill the knowledge gap in the literature on the overlooked aspects of smart cities and provide better information for smart city design.