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Elvis Presley’s Graceland is a must-see destination for music fans. Make the most of your visit to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee with this in-depth guide.
Since Elvis Presley’s death in 1977, Graceland has been a place of pilgrimage for fans of all ages. Visitors come from all over the world to see the former home of the King of Rock and Roll.
More than just Elvis’ iconic mansion, Graceland is a museum dedicated to the life and legacy of the music legend. You’ll be able to tour Elvis’ luxurious mansion, cut up close to his airplanes and cars, see his stunning jumpsuits and memorabilia, and more.
Elvis Presley’s Graceland has something for everyone, guaranteeing unforgettable experiences. Are you ready to dive into the history of rock ‘n’ roll and visit the iconic Graceland mansion?
In this blog post, I’ll explain how to make the most of your visit to Graceland. Read on to find out how to plan the best trip to Elvis’ home!
History of Elvis Presley and Graceland
Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1935 and relocated to Memphis, Tennessee when he was 13 years old. He began his music career in Memphis in 1954, quickly gaining a reputation as a charismatic performer with a unique voice and style. He soon became a household name and a cultural icon.
In 1957, Elvis purchased Graceland, a 13.8-acre estate in Memphis, for $102,500. He lived there with his parents, wife, and daughter until his death in 1977.
Graceland played a significant role in Elvis’ life and career. The house saw everything from the birth of his daughter Lisa Marie, to countless recording sessions, to all of his legendary parties. After his death, Graceland became a place of pilgrimage for fans of Elvis’ music.
In 1982, Elvis’ wife Priscilla opened Graceland to the public as a museum, allowing visitors to experience the mansion and Elvis’ personal effects. Today, Graceland is one of the most famous homes in American, attracting more than 500,000 visitors each year.
Planning Your Trip to Graceland
Graceland is probably the most popular thing to do in Memphis. And with over 500,000 visitors each year, you can expect this music mecca to be crowded. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when planning your trip to Graceland:
Buying Tickets: Tickets to Graceland can be purchased online or on-site. It’s typically better to buy your tickets in advance to ensure availability of your desired tour time and to avoid long lines. You can print your tickets or have them available on your smartphone so you don’t have to stand in line.
When to Visit: Choosing the right time to visit Graceland is also crucial. The best time to visit Graceland is during the off-season, typically from November to March, or on a weekday when there are fewer crowds. It’s also less busy in the afternoon after 2 p.m.
Getting to Graceland: The best way to get to Graceland is by car. On-site parking costs $10 and the lot is located right by the visitor center. The only way to get to the mansion is by shuttle from the visitor center. There is also a Memphis Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus that makes a stop at Graceland.
Where to Stay: There are plenty of options for where to stay in Memphis that are near Graceland, like The Guest House at Graceland or the Days Inn by Wyndham Memphis at Graceland. Continue reading for more options.
Where to Stay Near Graceland
You have plenty of options for where to stay near Graceland. Whether you want the full Graceland experience by staying at the estate-run property The Guest House at Graceland or you want a traditional hotel like the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Graceland, you can’t go wrong.
Here are the closest hotels to Graceland:
- The Guest House at Graceland (0.2 miles)
- Days Inn by Wyndham Memphis at Graceland (0.2 miles)
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Elvis Presley Blvd. (0.7 miles)
And here are some vacation rentals near Graceland:
- This home is literally a 5 minute walk from Elvis Presley’s Graceland (0.3 miles)
- “TCB” of Graceland (0.3 miles)
- Spacious Memphis Home – Walk to Graceland (0.3 miles)
- The Retreat at Graceland (0.4 miles)
- The Mini Mansion at Graceland (0.5 miles)
- Memphis Vacation Rental – 1/2 Mi to Graceland (0.5 miles)
More Places to Stay in Memphis
Looking for a different place to stay in Memphis, Tennessee? Check out these other great options.
- Top Hotel: The Peabody Memphis
- Great Value: Comfort Inn Memphis Downtown
- Unique Stay: Big Cypress Lodge
The Graceland Experience
Your visit to Elvis Presley’s Graceland begins at the Visitor Center. You’ll pass through the beautiful white gates and enter what is basically Disney World for Rock & Roll fans.
Beyond the gates, you’ll find souvenir shops, Elvis-themed dining, the ticket office, and an entertainment complex called Elvis Presley’s Memphis that contains exhibits on Elvis’ life and career.
Once you’ve gotten your ticket, you can board the bus to the Graceland Mansion and Elvis’ Airplanes. The bus is the only way to reach the mansion.
After touring Graceland and the airplanes, you can come back to Elvis Presley’s Memphis to see the exhibits like Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, Presley Motors Automobile Museum, and the Elvis Discovery Exhibits.
You have plenty of options when it comes to booking your Graceland tour:
Elvis Experience Tour — This is the most commonly booked tour. It includes an audio-guide tour of Graceland Mansion, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, and Elvis’ Airplanes. Tickets cost $79.75 for adults and $45.50 for children ages 5-10.
Elvis Entourage VIP — This VIP ticket includes an audio-guide tour Graceland Mansion, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, and Elvis’ Airplanes, and it gives you a VIP shuttle to the mansion, front-of-the-line mansion access, a keepsake backstage pass, an an exclusive exhibit for VIPs only. Tickets cost $135 per person.
Elvis Movie UVIP Tour — This special tour with a private tour guide features insight into the research done by Baz Luhrmann for his film ELVIS. The tour includes an expert guided small group tour of Graceland Mansion, a guided tour of Elvis’ Airplanes, a guided tour of Elvis Presley’s Memphis exhibits, access to Ultimate Lounge and the exclusive VIP exhibit, an exclusive photo opportunity, a personal Graceland Archives show-and-tell session, and a keepsake pass. Tickets cost $195 per person.
Ultimate VIP Tour — This VIP ticket includes an expert guided small group tour of Graceland Mansion, a self-guided tour of Elvis’ Airplanes, access to Elvis Presley’s Memphis, access to the Ultimate Lounge and the exclusive VIP exhibit, an exclusive photo opportunity, a personal Graceland Archives show-and-tell session, a keepsake backstage pass, and the option for a meal voucher for a restaurant at Elvis Presley’s Memphis. Tickets with meal voucher cost $215 per person. Tickets without meal voucher costs $195 per person.
Elvis Presley’s Memphis + Planes Tour — This option does not include Graceland Mansion and only gives you access to Elvis Presley’s Memphis and Elvis’ Airplanes. Tickets cost $49.75 for adults and $28 for children.
We chose to go with the simple Elvis Experience Tour. Since it offers basic access to everything, it’s the best tour and the best price for casual Elvis fans.
Touring Graceland Mansion
For the Graceland Mansion tour, if you choose the non-VIP option like we did, you’ll be handed an interactive iPad before boarding the shuttle bus to the home.
The audio-guided tour on the iPad is hosted by John Stamos from Full House (his character Uncle Jesse was a huge Elvis fan, like Stamos himself, and he actually suggested the name “Jesse” for his character in honor of Elvis’ twin brother who died in stillbirth). The audio-tour also featured commentary from Elvis’ wife and daughter.
The tour begins through the mansion’s front doors, as if you were a guest of the Presleys. The furnishings and decorations span all of Elvis’ time at Graceland, but mostly the home is set up to look as it would in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The first stop is the living room, decorated in a pristine white and peacock motif. You’ll move on to the purple bedroom where Elvis’ mother stayed, then to the dining room and kitchen.
The tour does not go upstairs.
From the kitchen, you’ll catch a brief glimpse of the Jungle Room before heading downstairs via the mirror-encased stairwell. In the basement, you’ll get to see the TV room with its own bar area and the pool room.
Then you’ll make your way back upstairs to get a better look at the famous Jungle Room with its green shag carpet and Polynesian décor.
The tour continues outside to Elvis’ father’s office, past the stables where you may be able to see some horses, inside the Trophy Building now filled with artifacts, past the pool, and through the Racquetball Building.
The tour ends at the Meditation Garden where Elvis and his family are laid to rest.
Touring Elvis’ Airplanes
After touring Graceland Mansion, the shuttle bus will drop you off at Elvis’ Airplanes. You can climb aboard the Lisa Marie, a 1958 Convair 880 that has a living room, conference room, sitting room, and private bedroom.
Then you can peek inside the small Lockheed Jet Star with its yellow and green seating.
Touring Elvis Presley’s Memphis
There’s a lot going on in the 200,000 square feet entertainment and exhibit complex that is Elvis Presley’s Memphis. You’re free to explore the exhibits at your own pace.
Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum lets you see hundreds of artifacts like Elvis’ gold and platinum records, walls full of his iconic jumpsuits, memorabilia from his movies, and more. This museum is the world’s largest collection of Elvis artifacts.
Elvis: Dressed To Rock is part of the Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum. It explores Elvis’ onstage style from 1969-1977 with over 100 pieces of stagewear exhibited in floor-to-ceiling displays.
Making of Elvis Movie Exhibit is located inside Elvis Hollywood Backlot and takes a look at the creative process of Baz Luhrmann’s film ELVIS. There are behind-the-scenes videos of the making of the film, drafts of scripts, props, costumes, and more.
Presley Motors Automobile Museum shows off Elvis’ love of cars. Some of his favorites are on display, including his Pink Cadillac, a 1975 Dino Ferrari, and a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk.
Presley Cycles showcases even more of Elvis’ toys, including his motorcycles, John Deere tractor, and ski boats.
Elvis Interactive Experience lets you take part in dozens of interactive and sharable moments, like customized photos and videos of you and Elvis, a dance floor trivia game, and a virtual golf cart ride around the estate.
Icons: The Influence of Elvis Presley Exhibit celebrates Elvis as a music pioneer that paved the way for many of today’s artists. See how Elvis inspired some of your favorite celebrities.
The Archive Experience gives you a glimpse into hundreds of artifacts from the Graceland Archives.
The King of Karate exhibit inside the Graceland Archives Experience documents Elvis’ love for karate and showcases many of his rarely-seen karate items.
The Welcome To My World exhibit inside the Graceland Archives Experience explores the story of Graceland through photos, personal artifacts, and archival footage.
Private Presley: Elvis in the Army Exhibit tells you more about Elvis’ time in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960.
The Hollywood Backlot exhibit features actual sets used in the CMT show “Sun Records”.
X’s & O’s: Elvis and His Love of Football showcases Elvis’ handwritten plays, sports equipment, and more on display for the first time at Graceland. This exhibit is located inside the Haberdashery.
Lisa Marie: Growing Up Presley features personal items from Lisa Marie’s childhood, music career, charity work, and more. This exhibit is located inside the Haberdashery.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Graceland
Visiting Elvis Presley’s Graceland is a fun experience for fans of the King of Rock & Roll and anyone who is interested in music history.
Graceland is a must-visit destination when in Memphis, Tennessee!
More Things to Do in Tennessee
- A Romantic Weekend in Dickson, Tennessee
- Top Things to Do and See in Nashville, Tennessee
- Incredibly Fun Things To Do in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Ready to visit Memphis, Tennessee? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book Your Flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Memphis using Booking.com.
- Get to Know the City: Find the best Memphis city tours and attraction passes on Viator.
Are you planning a visit to Graceland? Did you find this guide to Elvis Presley’s Graceland helpful? Let me know in the comments!