Graceland is a timeless icon of rock’n’ roll history. While Tennessee has many exciting things to do, those in the know head right to Elvis country. As the King of Rock’n’roll, Elvis Presley took the music industry by storm in the 1950s.
This guide to visiting Graceland will help you to get the most out of your visit to this rock’n’roll legend’s lavish abode.
Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935 to a modest family. When he turned 13 the family moved to Memphis, Tennessee in search of job security and a better life. After graduating high school in 1953, Elvis used his own money to cut his first demo record. By 1955 RCA Records had signed him into contract, and in 1957, the young star bought himself a mansion and called it Graceland. And the rest, as they say, is rock’n’roll history.
Guide to Visiting Graceland
Staying At The Guest House At Graceland
The Guest House at Graceland opened in 2016, this 450 room luxury resort is adjacent to Graceland. The hotel plays up the Elvis themes in terms of color, decor, and small details, but not in a tacky way. With entertaining touches such as, heart shaped fire pits being called Hunka Burning Love and the high backed chairs in the lobby resembling the collars of Elvis’ famous capes.
Oh, and don’t forget the famous peanut butter and banana sandwiches served at 10 pm, just as the King enjoyed them. Each evening at Graceland Guest House also features live music. Any Elvis fan will love a stay here when visiting Graceland.
The grounds and exterior of Graceland are beautiful but taking a tour will reveal all of the true personality of Presley’s mansion. The interior is chock full of surprises. Tours generally begin at the Welcome Center, and those staying at the Guest House can take a shuttle. Recently the mansion’s tour capacity has been lowered and this gives you the unique opportunity to walk in Elvis’ footsteps like never before.
While the prices may initially have your eyes bulging, keep in mind that some of these tours are full day experiences. Just roll with it.
There are several different tour options including:
The Ultimate V.I.P Tour – Cost: $196.00 – Average Time: 4-5 hours
The Ultimate V.I.P. Tour includes the Graceland Mansion Tour with an expert guide, a self guided tour of Elvis’ custom jets, and full access to the Elvis Presley Memphis Entertainment Complex. In addition you can also purchase special merchandise only available to Ultimate guests, meal vouchers for restaurants at Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex, and a keepsake backstage pass. This tour package also offers you the chance to return and visit as many times as you would like in one day.
Elvis Entourage V.I.P. Tour – Cost: $128 – Average Time: 4 hours
The Elvis Entourage V.I.P. Tour includes the Graceland Mansion audio guided tour, a self guided tour of the V.I.P. exhibits, and a self guided tour of Elvis’ custom jets. Plus front of the line mansion access and keepsake backstage passes. With this package you may also make return visits as many times as you would like in one day.
Elvis Experience Tour – Cost: $77, Youth (5-10): $44 – Average Time: 3.5-4 hours
With the Elvis Experience Tour package you will get the Graceland Mansion audio guided tour, as well as, the self guided tour of Elvis’ custom jets. You’ll also have full access to Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex.
Elvis Presely’s Memphis + Planes Tour – Cost: $48 – Average Time: 2-2.5 hours
The Elvis Presley’s Memphis + Planes Tour gives you full access to Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex. Including self guided tours of Presley’s Motor Automobile Museum, Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, Elvis Discovery Exhibit, and Elvis’ custom jets.
What To Expect Of The Graceland Tour & Elvis Entertainment Complex
When you are visiting Graceland, as you can imagine, the interior of Graceland is both opulent and quirky. You’ll get to see the infamous Jungle Room, and the tv room that sports 3 different tv’s so that Elvis could watch the major networks just like President Johnson.
At Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex you’ll get to check out Prestley’s Motor Automobile Museum, the Entertainer Career Museum, and Elvis Discovery Exhibits. You’ll get to see the legendary pink Cadillac, and cars from some of Elvis’ most famous movies. Marvel at glass encased costumes that are displayed in chronological order. You’ll also see the King’s military uniforms that he wore while stationed in Germany.
Where To Eat
Inside Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex there are several options for breakfast, lunch or dinner. At these eateries you’ll find great Elvis inspired cuisine, everything from a cup of coffee to the famous grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
Here are some of the options:
Rock’N’Go Perfect for those in a hurry who are looking for something quick and easy. Grab coffee, freshly made sandwiches, and snacks daily. You can get those peanut butter and banana sandwiches here!
Vernon’s Steakhouse – If you’re looking for authentic Memphis BBQ then look no further than Vernon’s. You can get classics like ribs and brisket. Or try some of Elvis favorites such as, meatloaf, catfish, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
There are also several options inside the Guest House At Graceland, including:
Delta’s Kitchen – Located at the Guest House at Graceland, Delta’s Kitchen offers a la carte or buffet breakfasts featuring contemporary versions of traditional southern breakfast options.
Shake, Rattle & Go – Get things rockin’n’rollin at this delicious cafe. Try the coffee, espresso, and mouthwatering baked treats, including their signature sticky buns.
E.P.’s Bar & Grill – Feel the soul of the south with a modern twist at this restaurant. You’ll notice the Memphis inspired setting has tons of southern flair and delicious southern cuisine.
When To Visit Graceland
When you plan on visiting Graceland, there are 2 peak times for visitors. The first is the annual Elvis Week that happens in early to mid-August. There are tons of people who visit Graceland at this time because there are so many special events including concerts, movie screenings, and the Elvis Expo.
Another incredibly busy time is the week of Presley’s birthday, January 8. It’s highly recommended that you book in advance during either of these times.
Other Elvis Stops In Memphis
Sun Records – 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38116
Where Elvis cut his first demo record in Memphis. According to music legend they asked Elvis who he sounded like, and he responded with, “I don’t sound like nobody!”
Heartbreak Hotel – 3600 Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116
Located just off the grounds of Graceland, you’ll find the Heartbreak Hotel. If you’re looking to stay somewhere other than the Guest House at Graceland this is a great option.
Memphis Rock’N’Roll Soul Museum – 191 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103
At this museum you’ll learn about the stories of the musical pioneers who overcame so many obstacles and changed the music industry.
Let’s just say that anytime is a great time for visiting Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. Walk in the King’s footsteps as you’re transported back to a legendary time in rock’n’roll music history at Graceland.