Did you know that Graceland, Elvis Presley’s house in Memphis, is the second most visited house in the entire US after the White House?
Of course the difference is you can go inside Elvis’s house and take as many photos as you like without a horde of bodyguards or a throng of reporters. In fact a pilgrimage to Graceland is on the Bucket List of a vast array of people from rock and roll fans, the squealing girls (now grandmas) of the 1960s and 70s, and hilariously you’ll come across dressed-up Elvis lookalikes roaming through the Presley mansion, eating a burger in their onesie at the burger bar or browsing through his collection of classic cars.
AND in 2019 the new Graceland Guest House hotel opened just next door with rooms themed like Elvis Presley’s House. Read on to see what they look like!
If you fancy getting married by Elvis, read about the Elvis wedding in Las Vegas I gate-crashed!
I’ve visited Elvis Presley’s house twice with about five years between visits. The first time we were on what we called a Music Road Trip starting in Nashville, down to Memphis and ending in New Orleans.
Leave extra time for shopping and eating!
Across the road is a veritable shopping and dining mecca these days where you pick up your tickets and hop on the buses to take you across the road into the grounds.
Graceland sits on a small hill behind trees on the front lawn that slopes down to the iconic gates. Some people are actually quite surprised by how small the house looks – maybe because it’s been hyped up for so many years!
Elvis bought Graceland in March 1957 and installed his iconic music gates as part of the overall renovation before he moved his parents, Gladys and Vernon in, in the May.
The only way to get through the Graceland gates is to buy tickets (online or in person) for an audio headset tour and take the shuttle bus from what I call “Elvis-ville” across the road. It really is for crazy, hard-core Elvis fans!
You should also allow an hour or two after or before your tour to eat in the 1960’s inspired diner, view the King’s cars, planes, gift stores and read all the paraphernalia. It’s packed with souvenir shops and other exhibitions over there, but below is what you’ll see inside Elvis’s house.
Peek inside Graceland
The upstairs rooms at Graceland are locked and alarmed and no one is allowed up there except family. Even staff are not allowed up here, out of respect for the family as it includes Elvis’s bedroom (and the bathroom where he died) as well as Lisa Marie’s room.
But there is great news for true Elvis fans – the Guest House at Graceland, a new 450-room hotel with rooms and suites, bars and the lobby all decorated with a nod to the decor of Graceland has been built almost next door. Scroll down for a peek at the hotel pics too!
You’ll pass through the kitchen where someone told me Elvis had the first microwave in the country (?) Anyway, it cost $1000 back in the 70s.
Are you ready for the Jungle Room?
Turn left and go down the hallway from the kitchen where you’ll find the wackiest room in the whole house (or maybe not! Check out the pool room too!)
The floor and walls of the jungle room are covered in green shag pile and wooden furniture is carved into animals, with stuffed animals sitting on the oversized furniture.
But wait! Here’s the pool room, so you can decide. Check out the fabric wall and ceiling coverings.
Once we finished walking through the house with our headsets on telling us about each room we came outside around the back.
Here Elvis had his office, a private shooting range and an indoor racquetball court where he played this piano on the morning of his death before he went upstairs to his bathroom. This used to house his massive platinum records which have since been moved into their own gallery.
The Presley graves
At the end of the tour you come to Elvis’ grave where his parents and grandmother also lie. Each day gifts arrive by mail from fans and staff make sure they all get placed here for a turn with the king.
An eternal flame burns and a statue of Jesus, given to Elvis by his friends and that used to stand in the garden, stands at his feet.
Elvis was a twin, but his brother Jesse died at birth on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo Mississippi. He had a plaque for his big brother placed beside his parents here in the memorial garden at Graceland.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a tourist attraction without the shopping! Back across the road where you got your tickets are several stores selling Elvis Presley merchandise, including these onesies that go for upwards of $3000!
Tour Elvis’s planes
Peek through the Graceland Guest House hotel!
This 450-room hotel with pool, a ball room that can hold 1000, convention hall and theatre is just a few steps from Graceland and as you’ll see, it’s rooms have been decorated with a nod to Elvis Presley’s quirky 1970s design aesthetic.
Check out latest prices for Graceland Guest House here on booking.com
If you’re planning a Music road trip, check out my 10-day itinerary including Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans >
Other things to do in Memphis
We all know the King loved to eat – and Memphis BBQ is about the most quintessential thing you could bite into. I really like Central BBQ.
A visit to the Lorraine Motel and Civil Rights History Museum is another Memphis must-do. It is about so much more than the Martin Luther King era, but a sobering insight into the back story of the slave trade and Rosa Parks, right up to MLK’s murder.