Visiting Graceland | What To Expect

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I’ve been an Elvis fan my whole life. Born seven years after his death, I listened to his music from infancy. My mother grew up on his tunes and cried when he died. She passed down her love for him and his music to all four of her kids. Did I ever think I’d actually visit Graceland though? Never.

That is until we moved to Tennessee, and the drive to Graceland was under two hours.

You can’t live this close and not go. It would basically be a sin. So, when my little sister came to visit and flew in and out from the Memphis airport (less than 5 minutes from Graceland) I knew we’d be making a sister day date to the King’s house.

Visiting Graceland, the favorite home of Elvis, was an amazing experience. Not just walking through the house, but through all the buildings memorializing his career, life, loves, military duty, and more. It's a 4+ hour experience, so make sure you have enough time to allocate before visiting.

How Graceland Is Set Up | Options When Visiting

Always ready to just go with the flow, we researched real quick online, knew that we could purchase tickets at the box office (though you can do it online too), and headed off!

We did the Elvis Experience Tour, which included:

  • Graceland Mansion Audio-Guided Tour 
  • Self-guided tour of Elvis’ Custom Jets
  • Full Access to all-new Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex, which includes:
    • Self-guided tour of Presley Motors Automobile Museum
    • Self-guided tour of Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum
    • Self-guided tours of Elvis Discovery Exhibits

We wanted to make sure we toured the inside of the mansion and saw the planes. Our tickets were $77 each and it was the perfect package for us. If we went one higher, to the VIP, we would have had a tour guide. If we went one lower, it wouldn’t have included the mansion tour. And you have to do that if going. I’d recommend the VIP tour if you want to splurge! That requires more planning ahead though, because of tour times. We were working around my sister’s flight schedule, so we needed to be more fluid with our timeline.

Give yourself at least 4 hours when visiting Graceland

We spent four hours there but could have stayed longer. We like to stop and read all the info that goes along with the photos and memorabilia. And because the mansion tour was self-guided (we had headphones and an iPad that told us facts as we went room to room) we lingered there as well. The Presleys saved everything. I mean everything. Receipts, deeds, pay stubs, thousands and thousands of items that not all of them can be displayed. If they did, no one would ever leave!

A fun fact one of the workers shared with us, is that the three horses currently residing at Graceland are rescues the Presley foundation saved and brought to the King’s pastures to live out a life of peace. Even in death, Elvis and his humanitarianism live on. When one passes, they get another, and the circle continues.

Graceland Mansion is on one side of Elvis Presley Blvd, while most of the exhibits, the two planes, restaurants, and parking are on the opposite side. The tour bus takes you to the mansion, and then brings you back to the exhibit haul to continue your tour there. We spent the most time on this side of the road. There are about four connected buildings to tour. One is “Elvis Presley’s Memphis” which features all his cars, motorcycles, and even his John Deer tractor! I’m not a huge car person, but each car had a plaque that shared when Elvis purchased it, as well as fun facts about him and the car. And in each exhibit haul, they have constant loops of movies featuring the King with the items right in front of you. They truly have it set up really well!

After his car area, is “Elvis, The Entertainer Career Museum” which goes through his whole life, from infancy to his big break, to the military and beyond. Then there is his memorabilia exhibit, and then, then you get to his jewelry and costume area. This was HUGE and we could have stayed much longer. They have all his famous stage outfits, as well as jewelry and more. It was jaw-dropping and a must see when visiting.

They also have the “Sound Stage” where they have props from movies about Elvis and Graceland as well as a few smaller exhibits.

I shared the whole experience on Instagram (and have a highlight bubble about it). There I received several messages that said, “Wow, I thought it was just a tour of the house, I had no idea it was a full blow experience. I need to go now!”

And I agree! You need to go!

Fun fact:

Graceland has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the nation, and the second most visited house in America after the home of the President of the United States, The White House.

I won’t get into all the interesting facts and tidbits we learned, because that’s what Graceland is for. I would recommend watching the newest movie to come out about his life though, “Elvis” before going. The producer worked closely with Lisa Marie and the Presley foundation to make it an accurate depiction of her father and his legacy.

I hope that helped clear up what exactly is available to see and tour in Graceland. The whole property now is over 100 acres and has an RV park as well as The Guest House, a Graceland hotel that’s stunningly beautiful from the outside and gets great reviews. This is truly an experience that could take a whole day. Plan ahead and take your time wandering through and experiencing Elvis as is only possible in Graceland.

Curious what brought us to Tennessee, living two hours from the King? Check out this post here.

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