Sun Studio picture
Sun Studio
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Alex Shansky/Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

Key Info

706 Union Ave.

Details

Sightseeing, Tours Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.4scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 5.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Often referred to as the birthplace of rock 'n' roll, Sun Studio is a must-see for music aficionados. Former owner Sam Phillips helped launch many a music career, including that of Elvis, B.B. King, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash. In recent years, the studio has been used by artists like Justin Townes Earle, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and The Walkmen, among others. On your guided tour, you'll hear stories about the legendary musicians who recorded here, listen to unreleased tracks and see memorabilia from the studio's heyday.

Recent visitors said Sun Studio is everything Graceland is not: authentic, personal and quirky. Reviewers said the tour guides were knowledgeable and entertaining, with many calling the experience "moving" and even "spine-tingling." Since this is such a popular attraction, travelers recommend arriving as soon as the studio opens to avoid having to wait for a tour spot. All tickets are booked in person on the day of the tour, though you can purchase a prepaid voucher online to be exchanged for a ticket upon your arrival at the studio. Note that prepaying online will not guarantee you a spot on a specific tour, and you'll need to budget at least two weeks to receive your voucher in the mail. 

Located in downtown Memphis, Sun Studio is open to visitors seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. and guided tours are given at the bottom half of every hour, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tours last approximately 40 to 50 minutes. Admission costs $14 for adults and $12 for students, military and AAA members. Children ages 5 to 11 get in free; children younger than 5 years old are not permitted on the tour. There is also free parking and a gift shop on the premises, and free shuttles will cart you to and from Graceland and the Rock 'n' Soul museum on Beale Street. The first half of the tour is not wheelchair accessible, which may be problematic for some guests. For more information, check out Sun Studio's website

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More Best Things To Do in Memphis

National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel
Stax Museum of American Soul Music
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Time to Spend
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#1 National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel

Recent travelers agreed the National Civil Rights Museum should be at the top of anyone's list of things to see in Memphis. Housed in the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, the museum features multimedia presentations on the civil rights movement. With the help of 260 artifacts, more than 40 films, oral histories, interactive media and external listening posts, visitors are guided through five centuries of history. During your self-guided tour, you'll view artifacts paramount to the movement, such as a Greyhound bus ridden by Freedom Riders. You'll also have the chance to see King's motel room, where he spent his final hours.

Reviewers described the museum as "surreal" and "incredbily moving." They went on to note the staging of the exhibits is "top-notch" and said the museum helped put seminal events of the period into context for a better overall understanding of the movement. Visitors should budget at least two to three hours to tour the entire facility.

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Brand USA/Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau
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