My husband and I go on a few short trips every year just to get away.
Surprisingly, we had never visited Memphis even though it’s only a short 3.5 hrs from our house.
However, after watching the newly released Elvis movie, I decided to surprise my hubby with a short weekend trip to Memphis for his birthday.
We left our house around noon on a Fri and arrived to Memphis just in time to do the 4 pm tour at Sun Studio.
The studio is open for 45 minute guided tours every day from 10am to 6pm. The tour is $15 for adults, $13 for students and $10 for kids ages 5-11.
Read reviews here
Sun Studio is known as “The Birthplace of Rock’n’roll”. It is the discovery location of musical legends and genres of the 50’s from B.B. King and Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.
It was opened in 1950 by Sam Phillips and is where 18 yr old Elvis recorded his first song.
There’s a small bar area that serves soda, coffee and water.
After purchasing our tickets, we had to wait a few minutes before our tour started so we walked around and took some pics.
Once our tour started, we were taken upstairs to the 2nd flood.
Our tour guide explained the history of the building and talked about some of the singers who had recorded there.
There were soooo many pictures of Elvis!
Once we got to the top of the stairs, there was the original broadcast booth where “Daddy-O” Dewey Phillips broadcasted his radio show from 1953-1959.
The booth was excavated from inside the abandoned Hotel Chisca during the summer of 2013 and reconstructed at Sun Studios in 2014.
Tip: The Hotel Chisca was saved and restored and now serves as apartments.
On July 8, 1954, Dewey Phillips played Elvis Presley’s first record, That’s All Right and after 50 phone calls, over a dozen telegrams and spinning the record over a dozen times, the song was an instant hit.
The unexpected reaction prompted Dewey to call Elvis down to the studio to come in for a live on air interview.
There was so much history in this building and it was really interesting to hear about its past.
The room held lots of memorabilia from the good ole days.
After spending a few minutes upstairs, we were then taken back downstairs to where Elvis and many others recorded music.
This was the office of Marion Keisker MacInnes.
She was a radio show host, station manager and assistant to Sam Phillips at Sun Records. She is best known for being the first person to record Elvis Presley on July 18, 1953.
A picture of Elvis and Marion
The original front door to Sun Records where so many came here to record their music.
This room is the sound room where legends were born.
The ceiling still had the original tiles from the 1950’s.
The my surprise, we were given the opportunity to hold one of Elvis’ microphones and stand where he stood when he recorded music in the studio! So cool!
After listening to our tour guide for about 15 mins, we headed back to the main entrance where our tour ended.
We walked around for a few more mins taking more pictures.
This was the original ornamental door grill at Sun Records. It was removed by Marion Keisker after her departure in 1957 because she had paid for it with her own money.
In 1988, she donated it back to Sun Studio …she died a year later.
Some shots of the outside of Sun Studio
We couldn’t leave without getting our picture in front of the studio!
The studio is a National Historic Landmark
I just had to touch the door that so many legends had touched! 🙂
After leaving Sun Studios, we drove by the other studio that Sam Phillips had moved into after Sun Studios became too small for him ….it’s called Sam Phillips Recording.
We then headed to our hotel….the Hampton Inn & Suites – Beale Street.
Read reviews for the hotel here
The hotel was perfectly situated one block from the famous Beale Street!
Beale Street was established in 1841 and is one of the most iconic streets in America. It became a thriving area for black commerce and culture around the time of the Civil War.
It’s three blocks of nightclubs, restaurants and shops in the heart of downtown Memphis, and a melting pot of delta blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B and gospel.
Shots of our room
After getting checked in and settled into our room, we headed back outside to check out Beale Street.
It was really cool!
A shot of A. Schwab…
A. Schwab’s is the oldest store on Beale Street. It was established in 1876 and is the last remaining original business on Beale Street.
They have all kinds of souvenirs and a soda fountain where you can order light sandwiches, salads, sodas, milkshakes and more.
We decided to head to BB Kings for dinner.
They had a $10 pp cover charge which I wasn’t very happy about but the entertainment that night made up for it.
The walls of the restaurant are covered in pictures of Memphis icons.
The restaurant is known for their BBQ and you can’t visit Memphis without trying the BBQ!
So, I ordered the BBQ plate with coleslaw and baked beans and my hubby ordered the ribs.
The food was delicious!
I am not a big music person. I usually drive without ever turning my radio on so I was a bit apprehensive about eating here since there are live bands playing. I don’t like loud music at all but my hubby loves it!
However, there was a guy named Memphis Jones that performed while we were eating and he was great! I enjoyed myself so much that we ended up going back the next night for dinner!
Tip: Click here to view BB Kings calendar to see who will be performing each night
After Memphis finished performing, another group, called the BB King’s Blue Club All Star Band performed….they were good too but not as good as Memphis Jones!
After we ate and listened to the bands, we decided to leave and walk around Beale Street for a while before heading back to our hotel.
It was cool to see all the signs on Beale Street light up.
Beale Street is blocked off to traffic and there is a heavy police presence in the area.
You actually have to pay $5 to access the street beginning at 8 pm. You have to go through security as well. They wand you and check your bags…it was crazy!
We spotted this cool mural so we just had to get a picture in front of it! 😉
We also spotted a cookie store called Insomnia Cookies so we went in and checked it out.
They had vegan and gluten free options so we ordered a few to take back to the room.
Unbeknownst to me, Insomnia Cookies was started in 2003 and has over 200 stores throughout the US …and there’s one near me! They are also owned by Krispy Kreme so you know they are good! 😉
After walking around for a while, we called it a night and headed back to our hotel.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for Day 2 where we visit Graceland!