Memphis TN 38116
- Mon: 10am-4pm
- Tue: 10am-4pm
- Wed: 10am-4pm
- Thu: 10am-4pm
- Fri: 10am-4pm
- Sat: 10am-4pm
- Sun: 10am-4pm
In 1957, Elvis Presley bought Graceland, a stately mansion in Memphis, and made it his home for the rest of his life. After Elvis' death on August 16, 1977, Graceland was opened to the public in 1982, and has since drawn visitors from around the world, who want to see what it was like to live like a King. But it's not simply for Elvis fans; anyone with an interest in rock 'n' roll and popular culture will enjoy visiting Graceland. The mansion tour has several impressive displays; the Trophy Room features the many awards Elvis received, and the Racquetball Building is host to his jumpsuits and a stunning display of gold and platinum awards. And there's more than just the mansion -- across the street, in Graceland Plaza, you'll find a variety of museums spotlighting different aspects of Elvis' life and career (there's one museum just dedicated to his cars and motorcycles), along with his two planes, the Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II. Graceland's grounds also have Elvis' final resting place; he's buried in the Meditation Garden, along with his parents.
Parking and public transportation at Graceland
Parking is available at Graceland's parking lot for a fee; there's also an RV park and campground right behind the adjacent Heartbreak Hotel. If you're visiting Sun Studio, there's a free shuttle to and from Graceland. If coming by bus, the #42, #43, and #46 all go by Graceland.
Best and worst times to go to Graceland
The weather is most pleasant in Memphis in fall and spring, and the crowds are lighter as well. The heat and humidity are especially punishing in the summer, and crowds are heaviest during "Elvis Week" in August, commemorating the anniversary of Elvis' death on August 16, 1977. There's a smaller scale celebration in January, celebrating the anniversary of Presley's birth on January 8, 1935.
Admission to Graceland
There are five ticket packages. The best value is the Platinum Tour and Airplanes Tour package, which gives you access to the mansion, nearly all of the museums, and the airplanes: prices are $45 for adults, $40.50 for adults over 62, youth 13 to 18, and students with ID, $21.50 children 7 to 12; children six and under are free. The Elvis Entourage VIP Tour package throws in a few perks; front of line mansion access, exclusive entry to a museum not available on the other tours, and all day entry to all attractions. Prices (including the Airplane Tour) are $77 for adults, $76.50 for seniors/youth/students, $74.50 for children.
Must see/do at Graceland
Be sure to check out any special exhibits currently running during your visit, which change over time to highlight different milestones in Elvis' career. Write your name on the front wall surrounding the mansion, where fans scrawl special messages to Elvis. If you're an Elvis collector, the shops at Graceland Plaza have a variety of exclusive items.
Other places to visit near Graceland
There are not many attractions around Graceland. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music (where Elvis recorded when it was Stax Studio) is about a 15-minute drive away. Downtown Memphis isn't much further; on the edge of downtown you'll find Sun Studio, where Elvis made his first recordings. The Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum and National Civil Rights Museum are also worth visiting.
Insider tip for visitors to Graceland
Every day, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., guests are allowed to walk up to the Meditation Garden for free.
Author's bio: Gillian G. Gaar is a Seattle-based freelancer who writes about music, entertainment, and travel. Her favorite Elvis song is "Hound Dog."