Best Tips for First-time Visitors to Graceland
Have you had the chance to visit Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee? If not, you may be wondering if Graceland is worth visiting. Keep reading to find out!
Graceland is the second most visited residential property in the United States, after the White House in Washington, D.C.
Whether you’re a big fan of Elvis Presley or interested in the music history, Graceland won’t disappoint. We think Graceland is worth visiting so keep reading to find out why as well as time for your visit.
You can see Elvis’ mansion, awards, many of his famous jumpsuits, classic cars, and countless artifacts, all giving you a feel for the life he led.
Graceland consists of not only the mansion at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee but there is also a large complex across the street to visit.
Elvis bought Graceland in 1957 for $ 102,500.
He spent a great deal of time away from home, but Graceland is where he felt the most comfortable.
Start your visit to Graceland here
Once parked, head to the ticket pavilion. If you have purchased a ticket online and need to pick it up, proceed directly to the “Will Call” window. Your ticket will have a tour time. They recommend arriving at least 15 minutes early to get your tickets.
Your tour starts with a 7-minute film about Elvis. Timed tickets allow mansion tours to be spread out. We went in late December when the crowds were lighter, and the mansion was decorated for the holidays.
Once the film is over, you board a shuttle bus that will take you across the street to the Graceland Mansion.
ProTip: You join the line for the shuttle bus by going out the back door of the theatre. Sit near the back door so that you don’t have to stand in line long for the shuttle bus.
For the tour, you have the option to use an iPad and headphones, free of charge. We would highly recommend taking one. The audio tour, narrated by actor John Stamos (English) is very user-friendly and available in several languages. Graceland is worth visiting just to take the audio tour and learn all about Elvis’ life.
Graceland Mansion Tour
Once at the mansion and divided into small groups, a verbal introduction is given, including do’s and don’ts, while doing the tour and had a few minutes to hear the iPad tour introduction.
Taking photos is welcome, but no flash photography or videos. Also, it is best to leave the selfie sticks at home.
Every room in the mansion is the original decor. It is just like walking in Elvis’ footsteps.
Each room has a sign about Elvis and the room’s history. What John Stamos says on the iPad tour is pretty much word for word of the signs, but I took a photo to read later at my own pace. There is so much to take in that; I learned much more by looking back at the pictures and rereading the signs.
ProTip: You move along in an orderly manner, but you can slow the pace down with lighter crowds.
Note: There are stairs down to the TV room and billiard room (These are not wheelchair accessible, but staff can show you the rooms via a monitor) and then stairs up to the jungle room (there is a way to get to this room if you cannot do stairs.
Closed to the public, the second floor of the mansion contains Elvis’s private quarters.
The tour includes other buildings on the expansive property. You will be walking outside to access these buildings.
There is an outbuilding with Vernon Presley’s office, a trophy building with photos and artifacts, and a building with a squash court and lounge.
Opposite the outside pool is the final stop on the Graceland Mansion tour; the Meditation Garden. Here, you will find a peaceful area where Elvis is buried along with his mother, father, grandmother, and stillborn twin brother. Sadly, the grave of his grandson was added in 2020 and his daughter in 2023.
The mansion tour lasts about 1.5 hours.
Once you finish with the mansion tour, you will take the shuttle back to the main complex. There are four restaurants and 13 attractions and exhibits to visit, including Elvis’ airplanes.
Note: Elvis’ airplanes are not wheelchair accessible.
ProTip: Download the Graceland app. It has a map, a description of the exhibits and experiences, and much more.
Is Graceland worth visiting? I hope we’re convincing you that yes, Graceland is worth visiting! In case you need more convincing, let’s keep going to see what else you will see.
If we had to pick our favourite exhibit; it would be the Presley Motors Automobile Museum where some of Elvis’ favourites are on display, as well as the display of his costumes in the Elvis: Dressed to Rock.
Pro Tip: We covered pretty much all the Graceland complex and mansion had to offer. It took us close to 4 hours, but we were not rushed and did not have to battle large crowds. The complex and Graceland property require a lot of walking.
Conclusion: Is Graceland Worth Visiting?
Whether you are a die-hard Elvis fan or interested in this piece of music history, a visit to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, is a must-do. It is absolutely worth visiting Graceland.
When to Visit Graceland:
September to April is lighter on the crowds, and you can avoid the extreme heat. Weekdays are also less crowded. We are big fans of traveling in the shoulder season to avoid crowds.
Avoid summer and holiday weekends, Elvis’s birthday (Jan 8) and Elvis Week (mid-August).
$10 for cars, $15 for large vehicles.
7:30-8:30 am free-admission walk-up visits to the Meditation Garden.
Open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (Closed early Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve, closed Christmas Day)
Airplanes open at 10:00 am.
The last mansion tour begins at 4:00 pm or 5:00 pm, depending on the day of the week and time of the year.
There are five different ticket options. We did the Elvis Experience Tour. Check the Graceland website for ticket information.
Where to stay when visiting Graceland
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Arpt Elvis Presley Blvd. It was only a 5-minute drive from Graceland. During the warmer seasons, the guitar-shaped pool is open. There is a complimentary hot breakfast. Ms. Duffie will take great care of you.
Located beside Graceland Mansion is the guesthouse at Graceland.
Where to eat when visiting Graceland
Located at the Graceland complex, Vernon’s Smokehouse offers authentic Memphis BBQ and Elvis’s favourite home cooking, including meatloaf, catfish, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
Gladys’ Diner- offers classic American cuisine, including burgers, hot dogs, and pizza.
Marlowe’s Ribs and Restaurant– located on Elvis Presley Boulevard and only a 5-minute drive from Graceland. We ate there. Not only does the restaurant pay tribute to Elvis by decorating with memorabilia, but if you are staying at one of the many partner hotels, they will pick you up and drop you off at the restaurant in a pink Cadillac limousine. The Rock Star treatment! I will also say that their ribs were the best I have ever eaten.
Our visit to Graceland was made possible by Memphis Travel, but as always, our views and opinions are our own.