Visiting the Legendary Sun Studio in Memphis Was a Complete Out of Body Experience

During our recent and incredible parent’s getaway to Memphis, we made a stop at the historic Sun Studio, also known worldwide as “The Birthplace of Rock’n’roll”. Now, you might not know this off the top of your head, but by the time you’re through reading this post, you will surely have an appreciation for it. My other half, Sean, is a very talented musician. He’s also an oracle of Music History. I couldn’t think of a better person to explore Memphis with and to bring to Sun Studio. Ready to plan your travel now? Check out my travel discounts page where you can get the best travel prices online.


Sun Studio


About Sun Studio – The Historic Memphis Recording Studio


Unless you’re a super fan (and I do mean super) of some America’s greatest music artists of the 1950’s, or you’re my mother’s age, you probably wouldn’t know Sun Studio like you would, say, Capitol Records. But Sun Studio is actually the place where iconic Rock’n’roll legends like Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins got their big start.


Those are some pretty heavy names, and they all have special stories to tell and no one tells them better than the tour guides at the Legendary Sun Studio. But those aren’t the only voices you’ll hear when you get on this tour. At Sun Studio you can hear the voices of the musicians that haunt this studio as you listen to snippets from recording sessions giving guests a completely immersive experience. The energy of the music and the artists who created it is very much still alive in this time capsule.


Sun Studio

Johnny Cash ya’ll


Built in 1950 the walls of this little slice of history have seen actual magic. And when you step inside, you’ll see it too. From their collection of Rock’n’roll memorabilia to the actual microphone that Elvis used during his sessions, it’s easy to have somewhat of an out-of-body experience during your visit. We sure did.


Our Sun Studio Experience Rocked So Hard


Standing in the same room, holding the same mic and being surrounded by the same walls as the most influential recording artists in Rock’n’roll history gave me a complete rush. I didn’t realize just how visceral this experience would be until I was there front and center.


Sun Studio

Best date day ever… well, date weekend.


The knowledgeable enthusiastic tour guide really brought it all home too. I felt like I was in the school of rock learning about the great legends of the 1950’s. I loved them before I went, but after I walked out I certainly had a deeper appreciation for them as artists.


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Sun Studio

Sun Studio

The gift shop/cafe

Sun Studio

Waiting, but so worth it

Sun Studio


Sun Studio

Dewey Phillip’s station room

Sun Studio

A close up of Dewey’s workspace

Sun Studio

This is Sean’s happy face, I swear. Also, the broken records were a signature move by Dewey when he heard something he didn’t like.

Sun Studio

Elvis Presley’s guitar

Sun Studio

The stairs to the studio

Sun Studio

Office space in front of the studio

Sun Studio

A special moment for Sean who is a musician to get some alone time in the studio.

Sun Studio

Instruments everywhere.

Sun Studio

Sean having an actual out of body experience in the studio

Sun Studio

X marks the spot where Elvis stood

Sun Studio

All the vintage vibes.

Sun Studio

The actual mic used by Elvis!

Sun Studio

Going all out

Sun Studio

Just think, the greats used to stand here and chat it up.

Sun Studio

Night mood Vol 1.

Sun Studio

Sean striking a pose.

Sun Studio

Night mood Vol 2


Practical Advice


We spent about 45 minutes on the tour and 15 minutes before and after the tour checking out the gift shop. The tour filled up pretty quick. If you want to get photos of the gift shop then you should get in there right after a tour starts and hang around until the next tour. And bring some spending money. If you’re anything like us, you’ll want T-shirts, CDs and basically all the things. I found it to be a great spot to get my mother a Christmas gift, so something to think about there.


Visiting Sun Studio was such a moving experience for us, I can’t even begin to describe it. We even went back during dusk to get some cool shots in front of the neon signs. That was easy enough to do, we just parked next door for 5 minutes. If you go back at night, try to take it in as you’re standing there where Elvis and Johnny Cash stood, chatting about girls and music.


Sun Studio


For those who are staying at Graceland, there is a shuttle bus that will bring you to and from the studio so you don’t even have to drive. And, if you’re staying downtown, you’re just about 5 minutes away.


If you’re going to Memphis and you have a deep love and appreciation for music, you absolutely must go to Sun Studio. It will feed your soul and likely be one of the best things you do during your trip. For more information about visiting Sun Studios, go to


About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

27 Comments on this post

  1. I learned about Sun Studios, whilst walking Beale Street, on a two-day visit to Memphis. This makes a return trip to the Birthplace of Rock and Roll an absolute must.

    righteousbruin9 / Reply
  2. Johnny Cash, Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis are some of the singers I grew up listening to from my family members. It would be a nostalgic step back in time to go to Sun Studio.

    Bill Sweeney / Reply
  3. Wow Johnny Cash and that cigarette picture. That’s a famous one. Not sure which I like best – that one or the one of Elvis. Both classics. Looks like you really enjoyed it all.

    Kim Croisant / Reply
  4. I missed stopping at Sun Studio when we were in TN a few years back and have been kicking myself for not making time ever since. I would LOVE to make another trip and put this at the top of my itinerary. I am glad to hear the tour was incredible for you!

    Theresa / Reply
  5. Wow! Looks like an awesome place to explore! Would love to visit one day!

    Toni | Boulder Locavore / Reply
  6. Wonderful photos! It’s been so long since we last visited but it has never lost its charm. It a must to stop by the Sun Studio whenever you’re in the area! I mean, how can anyone miss this!

    Carol Cassara / Reply
  7. this is amazing! I didn’t know there were tours available! adding to my bucket list!

  8. I am one of those people who didn’t hear about Sun Studios before but I am glad that you had such an amazing day visiting it. I have seen the studio where Beatles have recorded in London, but that’s about it when it comes to music history.

    Joanna / Reply
  9. Man this is just amazing, love all the musicians, my father is also a musician for over 50 year and I would love to get him there. Thank you for sharing this special trip down memory lane of the greats.

    George / Reply
  10. Wow this would be a trip! I would love to visit and will if I ever get the chance! Looks like great fun!

    Jeanine / Reply
  11. That is an amazing experience, we also love Tennessee! / Reply
  12. My boyfriend and I are HUGE music lovers so this sounds right up our alley! We’re not too far of a drive from Memphis so maybe that’ll be our next weekend trip destination.

    Sydney | A World in Reach / Reply
  13. Here in Cleveland, Ohio we have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which is definitely cool, but I get a sense that this place would give a more intimate, up close and personal vibe. I really want to travel to both Nashville and Memphis to check out the music scenes and this would surely be a good place to stop– thanks!

    kishastewartharris / Reply
  14. I love Tennessee, but I haven’t been to Memphis yet. However, it’s on my to-do list. I’ll definitely have to keep this place in mind when that time comes!

    HilLesha / Reply
  15. Wow this sounds so interesting and like a great place to visit. I love how you can go back in music time and stand where Elvis would have!

    scrapbookadventures365 / Reply
  16. What an epic place to visit! I (accidentally) knew that Memphis was the birth place of Rockn’roll. Back in the day, in my home country, I was fan of a music group called “Memphis la blusera”, one of the lyrics speaks about the Sun Studio too!

    Nati / Reply
  17. What an interesting place to visit. We never heard of this record label but of course we know these rock and roll legends. Looks like you had a lot of fun.

    twinspirational / Reply
  18. It seems like you guys had amazing time in studio. I really loved it.

    Becky Allen / Reply
  19. This looks and sounds like a really cool experience! I haven’t been to Memphsis yet myself, but it’s on the bucket list! x 😉 x / Reply

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