Visiting Memphis for a vacation would typically include a tour of Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. Memphis has many cool places to see, several of which are music-related, so if you enjoy seeing and learning about music history, it is a great stop to make for a few days. If you just passing through and have only one day, Graceland Memphis TN should be at the top of your list, here is why.
The Ultimate Guide to Graceland Memphis TN
If you weren’t already an Elvis fan, I am pretty positive you would leave one.
First some popular questions about Graceland Memphis TN.
How far is Graceland from Gatlinburg TN?
Memphis is in the west end of Tennessee and Gatlinburg in the East end. It's about a 6 hours drive from one to the other.
Things to do Near Graceland?
There is so much to do! If you want to stretch your budget then I suggest these 21 Can't-Miss Free Things to Do in Memphis TN.
How long does a tour of Graceland take?
The audio tour of the house takes around an hour and a half. The full tour of the museum and other exhibits can take up to 4 hours.
What is the best time of year to go to Graceland?
I would suggest April and May or October and November. This is the down season before it gets too cold. June – September its summer break and the place is packed plus the summer is hot! Spring and fall you get in when it's less crowded and the weather is still nice!
Related: 189 Free Things to do in Tennessee
Can you visit Elvis grave?
Yes! He and several family members are buried in the gardens of the mansion, more on that below.
What is the Graceland admission fee?
At the time of this post, the basic mansion tour is $41.
For full access to the Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex that is $61.
Or go for the Ultimate VIP option for $174 and get the mansion with a tour guide, the whole complex, the airplane, a meal voucher, and a photo opportunity.
Can you visit Graceland free?
Yes, in a way. The memorial gardens where Elvis is buried are free to visit daily from 7:30 am to 8:30 am, the mansion is not. Now there is a workaround. Hear me out.
About the Graceland Tours
When I first went there a few years ago, I had a small appreciation for his music and was fascinated by the idea of seeing his home and memorabilia, but I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I came out totally impressed and not because it was a huge, flashy mansion or anything super glamorous, but because you really feel like you were impacted by all he stood for and accomplished, and because it is a huge piece of American history and the foundation for Rock n’ Roll itself. The amount of music he made and people he impacted is unreal and it feels great when you’re a part of that.
They have recently opened a new hotel next door as well, which makes it very nice if you need to stay nearby and just adds to the whole Elvis experience. A bit more about that at the end.
When you purchase the tickets to Graceland Memphis TN, they give you a time to come back for doing the tour of the house and grounds, and there is a nice new introductory short film you watch before going over to do that. The rest of the things you tour are across the street from the mansion and easy to get around to each of them.
Exploring Graceland Memphis TN
You are given your own interactive tablet for the mansion tour and it is very well done, with narration for each section and also some voice recordings of Priscilla and Lisa Presley in certain spots. It makes it feel more authentic and it is very moving to hear some of the things they had to say, while you’re standing in the place they lived.
They do the tours every few minutes, so it is staggered, and you can move through the mansion easily, without feeling totally crowded in. It is not as large inside as you may guess and so they have to really stay on top of this, and they do a great job.
Elvis purchased this house when he was 22 and every item in it was one he added.
The front entry and living room are a standout part of the house, and so is the dining room. Also, the Jungle room of course and the downstairs rooms are pretty awesome. Let learn a bit more about them!
The foyer is the gathering place when you first walk in. It then splits off a few ways but you follow the audio tour for the most cohesive tour.
The stairs to the 2nd floor are here but you can't tour the upstairs it's private and reserved for family only since he did die in the bathroom up there.
Fun Fact: This is 1 of 5 sets of stairs.
Peacock Living Room
This is the first room you see when you walk into the foyer. I love Peacocks so I really loved the stained glass windows. Done up in blues, whites, and golds really make the room pop.
There is a massive white couch, chairs, and carpet and how it's still so clean I will never know!
His Parents’ Bedroom
The only bedroom you get to see and also the only bedroom on the main floor is this beautiful purple room that was his parents.
I love the chandelier here! Something you can't see is the buzzer under the table by Elvis's seat to summon the kitchen staff if he needed something. That might be my favorite feature in Graceland Memphis TN.
I'm sure you have heard of Elvis's love for fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches, there were a lot of them made in this kitchen! He also insisted that there be cans of sauerkraut, fresh banana pudding and 3 packs of Doublemint gum in the kitchen at all times. Who knew?
Next, let's head to the basement.
This is where Elvis was known to watch 3 TVs and once! The room is done up in yellows and blacks with his signature glitter. There is also a bar down here for entertaining.
Across from the TV room, is the pool room, named because this is where the pool table is. This room is known for the 400 yards of fabric that cover not only the walls but the ceiling too!
The Jungle Room
This room started off as a practical joke to annoy his dad but he ended up liking the room and kept it. There is green shag carpeting on the ceiling and he even recorded music here.
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Exploring the Graceland Memphis TN Grounds
His Father’s Office
Elvis's dad managed his personal business do Elvis built him an office right on the grounds. He also handled the staffing of the house and the grounds.
This is exactly what it sounds like. This is where all of Elvis's trophies are on display. This also tells Elvis's personal story, his family tree, his wedding pictures, and memorabilia and more.
The Racquetball Building
This has been restored to its original 1970 condition. The photo above is the lobby of the court where his famous pinball machines are and the piano he played on with some friends right before he went upstairs and passed away.
So many are disappointed when they realize the pool isn't shaped like a guitar! Sorry, it's just a plain old kidney-shaped pool but it's a very beautiful setting!
This is the final stop on the tour, where Elvis and some of his family are buried. There is a nice garden and fountain and visitors can pay their respects and many leave a little trinket.
Who is buried with Elvis?
Elvis, his parents, his grandmother, and brother are all laid to rest together in the memorial gardens at Graceland Memphis TN.
Elvis Presley's Memphis
This is the complex across the street. This complex is the size of a full city block and has several museums, dining, cars, airplanes and more.
There are a couple of different gift shops, so if you are looking for merchandise, you will not be disappointed. We didn’t even make it into each one.
Presley Motors Automobile Museum
The car collection museum is beautiful and so much better quality than it was when I was there the last time. The décor and the lighting just make it spectacular.
Elvis The Entertainer Career Museum
The best part to me out of the new areas is the building about his career that starts with his Sun Studios days and works its way through the whole thing in order. There are so many of his outfits, guitars, movie memorabilia and more. There are videos, countless beautiful photographs, many of which are wall-sized, and gold records galore.
You can see famous footage of him and then see the outfit in person he was wearing. It is extremely well done and for a real fan, is a super treat. This part ends with a huge room of his awards and it is truly mind-blowing how many there are, and you know it isn’t even all of them. At this point in the tour, you truly feel like you know so much more about him and get a feel for what he stood for too.
They have one shop that has more exclusive merchandise like jewelry and fashion items that is beside his fashion exhibit. There is also a very well-done section on Sun Studio with other artist’s items and testimonies and a feature on Sam Phillips. This part was brand new and a surprise to me and having visited Sun Studios on my last visit, I can say how good of a job they’ve done on it.
Elvis Discovery Exhibits
There is a building dedicated to his time in the military, one with memorabilia and archives that are so well kept and preserved, and there is also one section with other artists that are famous, including their clothing and many quotes about how Elvis influenced them.
Dining at Graceland
You better believe that while you’re at Graceland Memphis TN, there’s going to be food to enjoy. There are many restaurants that you can enjoy close to Graceland. For starters, there is Vernon’s Steakhouse, Gladys Diner, Rock ‘n’ Go, and Minnie Mae’s Sweets. At the guest house in Graceland, you can experience Delta’s Kitchen, EP’s Bar and Grill, Shake Rattle & Go, and The Lobby Lounge.
Staying at Graceland
Fact on Elvis
Elvis’ hair was actually brown, not black. His black hair was a result of being dyed.
Elvis got his first guitar at the age of 11.
Heartbreak Hotel was Elvis’ was his breakthrough hit.
Elvis was around 6 feet tall and wore a size 11 shoe.
Elvis was drafted into the US Army and served for 2 years, making a measly $78 a month. He was 24 years old while serving. He also met his wife there, who was only 14 years old at the time in 1959. Read more facts on Elvis, right here.
Before you leave, whether you walk across the street or drive up to the little pull-off area, be sure to visit the Graceland gate and wall. Take a sharpie and sign the wall and take in all the fans’ signatures there.
It is really something to stand there and peer over the wall at the mansion and think about how many thousands of people have stood there, especially back in his time, waiting to catch a glimpse of the King.
Graceland Memphis TN Discounts
Those who plan on visiting Graceland Memphis TN can get access to various discounts. Here are some of the discount options for those who are interested:
Adults 62 and over
Youth ages 13-18
College students with college ID
Have you been to Graceland Memphis TN? I'd love to hear about your experience and what your favorite part was! Let me know in the comments below.