“There’s something magical about this town,” muses Karen Elson, the flame-haired model slash vintage-clothing maven slash singer-songwriter, when describing Nashville, Tennessee. After passing through on a road trip six years ago, Elson and her husband, musician Jack White, were so enchanted by the mix of old-school Southern class and modern country flair that they decided to make Music City their home. Between promoting her new album The Ghost Who Walks and traveling to fashion shoots, Elson shared her favorite local haunts, from morning to night.
8 a.m. Elson often starts her day with the omelette special (a recent favorite: organic corn and tomato with fresh mozzarella) at Marché Artisan Foods (breakfast for two $25), a French bistro and gourmet market in hip East Nashville.
10 a.m. Her next order of business? Checking in at her vintage shop Venus & Mars, near Music Row, which stocks bias-cut gowns circa 1920’s Paris, “cheap and cheerful” sundresses, and more.
Noon She’ll take a break and visit White at Third Man Records, “a one-stop shop” that houses his label plus a cult-favorite record store and performance space.
1 p.m. For lunch, Elson heads to the Yellow Porch (lunch for two $25), in Berry Hill, for house-made soups and salads that use vegetables from the garden out front.
3 p.m. Elson is “really into the 12South area,” a walkable part of the city with an eclectic food and shopping scene. Her top spots: Sevier Park and, for eccentrically flavored Mexican popsicles (think tamarind, rose petal, or raspberry-lime), Las Paletas (popsicles for two $5).
4 p.m. When she has time to pamper herself, Elson opts for a hot-stone massage at the “super-luxurious yet minimalist” Escape Day Spa (treatments from $50).
6 p.m. Before dinner, she’ll sometimes gossip with friends over a Tom Collins at the speakeasy-style Patterson House (cocktails for two $22).
7 p.m. According to Elson, the thin-crust pizza at City House (dinner for two $80), located in a former artists’ studio in north Nashville’s up-and-coming Germantown neighborhood, is “like something Mario Batali would cook up.”
9 p.m. On Monday nights, she’ll try to drop by the Station Inn, in downtown’s Gulch area, for a weekly set by award-winning Western swing band The Time Jumpers. “This place reminds me of why I live here,” Elson says.
Midnight If Elson and White’s house is too crowded, they send visitors to downtown’s Union Station Hotel (doubles from $189)—formerly a Victorian-era train station, now a 125-room hotel.