Self-Guided Tour of Graceland
Graceland is less than 15 minutes from downtown Memphis. You need to start your tour by the museum buildings and not at Graceland itself. Tickets are $77 for the Elvis Experience VIP Tour, which includes the Graceland Mansion, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, and Elvis’ iconic airplanes. Graceland's open hours are daily 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 7th is the opening day of Graceland's 40th year open to the public.
The tour through the Graceland Mansion is self-guided headphones with John Stamos narrating. Graceland has 23 rooms, including eight bedrooms and bathrooms. On the Graceland Tours, you can see seven of these rooms. If you want to get photos without people, try to be at the end of the tour. The workers do try to keep you moving through the mansion. You won’t be able to dawdle too much. The groups are large, so the main room might be crowded until people start moving through the other rooms. Graceland is the second most visited private home after the White House, with between half a million and 750,000 visitors a year going on Graceland Tours.
The living is immaculately white. White sofas, TV, and even the piano are white. The only color comes from the peacock stained glass and blue curtains. Elvis liked watching TV, and there is at least one TV in every room. They are also positioned in such a way that wherever he sat, he could always see it.
This purple and white bedroom is his parents’ bedroom in Graceland. Very simple but elegant with the additions of the candelabras and chandelier. Elvis loved chandeliers as they were in almost every room and above the staircases. Elvis’ private quarters were on the second floor, and that is off-limits to everyone.
This is the formal dining room at Graceland. Elvis would sit in the chair by the window at the head of the table. He chose this seat because he had a direct line of sight to the TV in the living room.
The kitchen is definitely from the 70s with its yellow refrigerator, green trash compactor, wood paneling, and Tiffany lamps. The TV set in on one of the counters. Elvis loved Technology and upgraded his kitchen with the latest appliances. He even had one of the first microwave ovens that cost him $1000. I don’t know why he would want to carpet his kitchen. Maybe to keep his feet warm?
There are five staircases within Graceland. The one heading downstairs is an optical illusion with mirrors on the walls and ceiling. The stairs leading back up to the Jungle room is covered from floor to ceiling in Green Shag carpeting.
And of course, what would Graceland be without having a room dedicated to TVs. He used to watch three televisions at the same time while sitting in here. This bright yellow and black room also has a bar set in the corner. Elvis has a passion for decorating and was continually updating Graceland. He didn’t stop at the walls; he even made sure the ceilings were covered as well. The TV room had mirrors covering the ceiling.
The Pool Room is my favorite room on the Graceland tours. It is so colorful, and the pleated fabric ceiling radiating from the center medallion is impressive. This is even the original pool table as you can see a tear on the table in the far right corner. It has almost an Asian flair with the furnishings.
The Jungle Room is the highlight of the Graceland Tours. The room has an indoor waterfall of cut fieldstone along one wall and animal statues throughout the room sitting on the green shag carpet. In 1976, Elvis converted this room into a recording studio to record his final two albums.
Elvis and his family-owned several horses. And there are still horses in the stables behind the house today. You can see them grazing in the field behind the white fence while walking behind the mansion.
The racquetball building is decorated like a country club. There is a bar, game area, lounge with sofa chairs, and of course the racquetball court. Music was so crucial to Elvis that he had a stereo system built-in and connected through the entire mansion and supplement buildings, including the racquetball building. Most of the rooms in Graceland are precisely the way they were on the day that Elvis died.
One of the buildings in Graceland shows photos of Elvis’ home in Tupelo, Mississippi. There are also photos of him and his parents growing up along with mementos. He was very close to his parents throughout his life.
The trophy building has tons of Elvis memorabilia for you to see. They bring items down from the second floor occasionally to put on display. You can see Elvis’ desk, Priscilla’s and his original wedding attire, and even Lisa Marie’s baby furniture. As you walk through the collection, you can also peruse the photos hanging on the walls of Elvis and his life.
Elvis has a kidney-shaped pool on the south end of Graceland. It seems simple compared to the extravagance of all of his other renovations and additions. You walk past the pool to get to the Meditation Garden.
Elvis added the Meditation Garden as a place he could reflect and contemplate things going on in his life. Later on, this is where his parents and grandmother are buried. There is even a small stone memorializing Elvis’ twin brother Jesse Garon who died at birth. Elvis was moved and placed here after he died. Thousands of people come on the anniversary of his death and have a procession through his estate and past his grave.
Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum
After touring the mansion and returning via a shuttle to the Memphis complex, there are several buildings and exhibits for you to explore. The first one I went into is dedicated to his career as an entertainer. Elvis recorded at least 24 songs at Sun Studios in Memphis between 1953 and 1955. The songs were a mixture of Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Gospel, Country & Western, Hillbilly, and Bluegrass. You will see Elvis Memorabilia from his concerts and film career and even quotes about how he felt becoming a star so young.
Presley Motors Automobile Museum & Presley Cycles
If you are a car buff, you will love exploring the Presley Motors Automobile Museum. These were cars that he had customized the interiors on, drove around, or just had fun owning. Each car and cycle has a story of what the vehicle meant to him or did to restore it. Back when he was alive, you could find Elvis riding his choppers all around Memphis or even racing go-karts on the driveway of Graceland.
Icons: The Influence of Elvis Presley
Part of the world that is inspired by Elvis Presley is none other than the music industry. This exhibit displays all the artists and how Elvis inspired their looks while they performed. You can find all sorts of artists from Justin Timberlake, and Carrie Underwood, to KISS.
Elvis had a flair for fashion from an early age. He knew what he liked and found people to make the clothes he loved to wear. Elvis is an inspiration to many fashion designers even today. Beside the sparkily jumpsuits that he performed in, he liked the large Cuban collar shirts and wide-leg pleated trousers.
Elvis Custom Airplanes
The 1958 Convair 880 Elvis bought in 1975, after naming it Lisa Marie, he renovated the interior extensively. You can walk through the living room, conference room, and sitting room. You can even see the private bedroom. There are gold-plated seat belts, suede chairs, and leather-covered tables. All are giving Elvis a perfectly comfortable and luxurious flight. There is also the Jet Star, a smaller plane that carried Elvis's manager to and from concerts.
Going on the Graceland Tours is a must-have destination when you are visiting Memphis. Schedule a full day to explore the mansion, grounds, exhibits, and restaurants in the Graceland complex. I enjoyed my time seeing how the King of Rock and Roll lived and admiring all of his favorite things he collected in his short life. Thank you for reading and sharing my Elvis Presley’s Graceland Tours. Thank you. Thank you very much.