All along my journey to Graceland, I kept feeling that I was a stranger in a foreign land. Many Elvis Presley disciples travel on long distance pilgrimages to pay homage to the “king.” Take the gentleman that I was sitting by on the tour bus rolling up to Graceland. He was decked out head to toe in Elvis garb. He was adorned in the blue suede shoes, slicked hair, and he actually looked like Elvis! For me, Graceland was a place I’ve heard of, but tears weren’t going to stream down my face once I stepped on the Jungle Room green shag carpet. Despite my lack of Elvis sensibilities, I like Graceland. It’s a definite must see in Tennessee.
Here’s a primer for those who want to see Graceland, but are not willing to start wearing leisure suites with glitter.
Elvis Aaron Presley, born in 1935, was one of the most successful recording artists of all time. He claims the moniker of “King of Rock and Roll.” Presley dominated the charts with mega hits like: Heartbreak Hotel, Love Me Tender, and the Fighting Couple’s fave: Can’t Help Falling in Love. To this very day, his adoring fans still pay tribute to his immense success in music, movies and pop culture. Every year on the anniversary of his demise, they host a candlelight vigil. Elvis grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi and later moved to Memphis, Tennessee. He would use Memphis ,with is soul food and music, as a center for operations for the rest of his life. After his passing at Graceland in 1977, at the age of 42, his body was interred at his beloved Graceland.
Elvis’s palatial estate was acquired by the king in 1957. It was located a few miles outside of Memphis and offered the crooner a private place to relax and refresh when not on his demanding tours. The name comes from the previous owner’s daughter who name was Grace. The property is roughly 14 acres and has a number of different structures on the premises besides the main home.
The mansion is located at 3765 Elvis Presley Blvd., Memphis, TN.
You must know that Graceland is second only to the White House in terms of annual visits to a private home. This is and continues to be an extremely popular tourist destination. There are a number of different tours that you can take. We elected to take a Viator VIP tour. This gave us access to the complete grounds, Elvis’s car collection, a tour of the mansion and entry to another museum just off the side mansion. Needless to say, this insider view of the entire property comes highly recommended from us.
Get your tickets.
The Graceland ticket office is open 8:30 am till 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 9:30 a.m. till 4 p.m. on Sunday. From November through February, the ticket office hours are 9:30 am till 4 p.m.
A shuttle that picks you up in front of the ticket office will take you on the short ride across the street to the mansion. An audio guide is extremely helpful in seeing the home and around the property.
The first stop on the tour is the mansion. Greek revival exterior columns, white washed lions and giant vases welcome you the entrance. Stepping in the front door, you are walking into the grand foyer. From there you have access to all of the first level living quarters. You will see the dining room, the music room, and the living room. Everything you see harkens back to the late 1960s and 1970s.
The Jungle Room
Perhaps one of the most famous rooms in the entire house is the Jungle Room. The entire room is lined with green shag carpet, including the celling! Elvis loved Hawaii, and many of the chairs are carved in an island manner. The room is complete with waterfalls on the walls.
Walk down the stairs and you will find Elvis’s man cave. Complete with a movie theater, pool room and lounge, this was where all the fun happened.
The second floor of the property is not opened to tourists, many of the rooms there are still used by family members on occasion.
Taking Care of Business
Once you walk outside the mansion you can take in the business office. Elvis’s father, Vernon managed much of the crooner’s personal affairs from this office. Here you can see where fan mail was received and responded to. Just outside the office you can see a small room that was used to shoot handguns.
One of Elvis’s passions was racquetball. He had his own court built just behind the home. Today is houses an impressive collection of his awards, costumes and memorabilia.
The Meditation Garden
The final stop on your visit to Graceland is the Meditation Garden. This is where Elvis and his family are buried. There is a monument to his twin brother that was stillborn.
Enjoy your visit to the mansion!
Our visit to the Graceland Mansion was sponsored by our friends at Viator. Does this change our opinion of this incredible experience? Not one bit.