The article concerns civic experiences beyond or prior to civic action. Approaching questions of civic culture and democracy by way of the rather broad notion of civic experience, the author suggests that democratic values and processes involving citizens’ participation should be understood as deeply anchored in the lifeworld. The article establishes a view in which civic culture is understood from a holistic perspective as an experience. At the same time, the author is interested in the ways in which media are involved in that process, without assuming their predominance in fostering civic engagement and public connection. Drawing mainly on 20 solicited, open-ended online diaries with young adults from Narva, Tartu, and Tallinn in Estonia and the European Social Survey Round 5, the article proposes civic experience as a helpful notion to overcome the generic divide between utopian and dystopian views on the relationship between media and civic culture.