When it comes to the best places in town for food, shopping, drinks and more, SI Swimsuit models know it all. So we asked them. They sent us their recommendations for food, drink, shopping and more and we’ve compiled it all in one place just for you. Don’t see your city? Stay tuned. Next up, #SISwimSearch finalist Clarissa Bowers. Through her time in Music City, she has gotten to know the best of the best of Nashville.
"I made the move to Nashville three years ago to begin my undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt. Coming from a tiny, one stoplight town in central Florida, I loved that Nashville had big city things to do, but still maintained the Southern hospitality I knew and loved. I still remember on my first day of class, I was walking down a sidewalk and this guy in a big, lifted pickup truck slowed down and started driving next to me. Having endured my fair share (though there really is no “fair” share) of cat-calling in bigger cities like Miami and New York City, I thought, “Oh great, here too.” Then, the guy rolled down his window and he had this big cowboy hat on his head. He popped his head out of the window and said, “Howdy, ma’am, I hope you have a lovely day.” He tipped his hat, rolled his window back up and went on his merry way. And that’s when I knew I picked the right city in which to go to school.
I love food. I plan my day around food. It should come as no surprise that my main knowledge of Nashville is food-centric. My ultimate day of dining out in Nashville would go a little something like this:"
Best Breakfast Spots in Town: The Donut + Dog, Pancake Pantry, Milk & Honey, Biscuit Love
"First stop, breakfast. Nashville has some of the BEST breakfast and brunch spots I have ever tried. Pancake Pantry, Milk & Honey and Biscuit Love are all musts, but if you are only spending one day in Nashville -- and if you don’t feel up to the challenge of having four breakfasts -- then The Donut + Dog needs to be your first stop. Full disclosure, I initially tried this spot because I thought the “Dog” in “The Donut + Dog” was indicative of a donut spot where you could bring your furry friend. They do have a dog-friendly patio (my pup approves), but the “Dog” in the restaurant name is actually referring to dogs of the Oscar Mayer variety. This breakfast spot serves donuts, coffee, hot dogs and draft beer."
For that Perfect Midday Bite: Hattie B’s
"Next stop, lunch. Every Nashville first-timer has to try Nashville Hot Chicken and a great place to earn your hot chicken wings is Hattie B’s. They have heat levels ranging from “Southern” (no heat) to “Shut the Cluck Up” (hot, very hot). If you do find that the chicken is a little too spicy, just wash it down with some cobbler and ice cream. Problem solved."
Best BBQ Around Town: Peg Leg Porker
“Up next, dinner. Nashville may not be Memphis, but it still has some darn good BBQ. Peg Leg Porker is a family owned and operated spot in the Gulch, and they always offer a warm welcome. If the Southern hospitality isn’t enough to make you stay, order the BBQ nachos and that ought to do it. Carey Bringle is the pitmaster behind the delicious food and also the inspiration behind the restaurant’s name. At 17 years old, Bringle was diagnosed with an aggressive bone cancer and he lost his right leg. He spun this tragedy into his fuel for living life to its fullest and remembering that every day is valuable, and every day is “a chance to eat more great food."
For a Late Night Sweet Treat: Mattheessen’s
"The day would not be complete without dessert, and Mattheessen’s is just the place to satisfy your sweet tooth. Another family-owned gem, the owners opened their first location in Key West (also near and dear to my Florida roots) and recently opened a new location in downtown Nashville. They serve fudge, ice cream, cookies the size of your face (as they should be), key lime pie and all of the sweets your soul needs. There are many instances in life in which less in more. Dessert is not one of those instances, and Mattheessen’s GETS IT. “
Fancy a Budget-Friendly Sporting Event: The Sounds
"If you find yourself with a little downtime between meals, Nashville also boasts plenty of fun activities. What is the best day to visit Nashville, you ask? Tuesday. Why? Because select Tuesdays at the Nashville Sounds stadium are also known as Tail Waggin’ Tuesdays, where you can bring your fur baby with you to catch a ball game and proceeds from the night benefit Agape Animal Rescue. The Sounds were under Oakland A’s ownership when I moved to Nashville, and they are currently the Triple A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. MLB games are a great time, but Triple A games offer a near equal level of skill so you are still guaranteed a good ball game, and you won't have to offer up your first-born child for amazing seats. Plus, parking and lines for concession are way less of a hassle at an minor league game. Also, the scoreboard is a giant guitar. Need I say more?”
To Find the Music in Music City: Grand Ole Opry
"Nashville is nicknamed Music City for a reason. When I toured Vanderbilt, my guide told me there are more than 20,000 live music events in Nashville annually. I don’t know if that number is spot on, but there are certainly plenty. You can go almost anywhere on almost any night of the week and find live music playing. We do love our country music in Nashville, but if melodies of beer, dogs and trucks aren’t for you, many venues have other genres of music playing as well. If you are a country music fan, the Grand Ole Opry is a concert experience unlike any other."
Best Bars on Broadway: Luke’s 32 Bridge, Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop, ACME
"If you have survived your sugar-coma post-Mattheessen's and are in search of a little nightlife, find your cowboy boots and head on down to Broadway (boots not actually required). Luke’s 32 Bridge, Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar, and Acme Feed & Seed are my personal favorites."
When You Need to Catch-Up on Those ZZ’s: Airbnb, Gaylord Opryland Resort
"Once you have experienced Broadway and are looking for a place to kick off your boots, Airbnbs can be great and convenient options for a stay in Nashville. If you prefer a hotel, the Gaylord Opryland Resort is situated in the heart of Nashville, a mere 10-minute walk from the Grand Ole Opry, and it even has a mini-water park!”
Regardless of where you decide to hang your hat, Nashville is sure to welcome you with open arms!"