We Said...
We're bullish on these Chicago spots.

Heart O' Chicago Motel,
inexpensive, (773) 271-9181, www.heartochicago.com. In Chi-town, it's difficult to find a hotel for under $100 a night. It's even harder to find one you'd actually want to stay in. Thankfully, there's this cozy, well-managed little place a hop, skip, and a jump from downtown. We're but one of its many budget-conscious fans.

Hotel Indigo Chicago Gold Coast, expensive, (312) 787-4980, www.goldcoastchicagohotel.com. One of the pickiest people we know recently recommended the Indigo. And from its cozy locale on a tree-lined street to its now-that's-what-we-call-­service staff, it won't disappoint.

Bleeding Heart Bakery,
inexpensive, (773) 278-3638, www.bleedingheartbakery.com. If man could live by pastry alone, we'd make this sweet new spot our permanent home. Owner Michelle Garcia uses only organic ingredients for her treasure trove of treats, be they gingerroot brownies, rosewater madeleines, or Gruyère tarts. Avoiding sugar? Don't worry. Michelle's husband, Vinny, whips up salads, sandwiches, and other more substantial selections.

Haro, moderate, (773) 847-2400. Spanish tapas in Little Italy? Believe it. Better yet, Haro's has pintxos, tapas-like bites served sandwich-style and filled with your pick of sardines, ham, lamb, shrimp, and more. If you really want to get your Spain on, coordinate your visit with one of the restaurant's many Spanish music, dance, film, or art events.

Museum of Holography,
(312) 226-1007, www.holographiccenter.com. Call us cheesy, call us nerds, but we think holograms are a fascinating art form, and this little-known institution, which boasts the largest and most comprehensive collection in the country, is the perfect place to ogle maidens that morph into monsters, jitterbuggers that practically dance off the page, and the like.