Graceland picture
Graceland
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Clay Larsen/Flickr

Key Info

Elvis Presley Boulevard

Details

Historic Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 3.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

With this city's strong musical identity, there's no question as to why Elvis Presley chose Memphis as his kingdom. Graceland, located approximately 10 miles south of downtown Memphis, is one of the most-visited private homes in the country. When you stop by for a tour, you'll see the King's famous jungle room, pink Cadillac, record collection and even shoes and gifts sent to him from avid fans. Elvis' grave is also located on the Graceland grounds. As you tour the home, you'll have the help of an iPad to guide you through the rooms, plus audio narration by actor John Stamos.

While some visitors claim Graceland is overpriced and too crowded, most agree visiting is a must – even for non-fans. Reviewers also offered a few tips: get to the house early to avoid the crowds, don't bring anything you won't need for the tour (you'll be juggling headphones and an iPad as you wander the house) and check with the visitors bureau for deals and discounts on tickets. Also, be sure to check Graceland's website to see if any events are taking place during your visit (if you hate crowds, avoid visiting Graceland in August, when Memphis hosts the annual Elvis Week festival). After touring the house, consider visiting Elvis Presley's Memphis at Graceland, an all-new 200,000-square-foot entertainment complex filled with restaurants, museum exhibits, gift shops and more. 

Graceland is open to visitors every day but Thanksgiving and Christmas, though hours of operation vary by season. You can visit the Meditation Garden at Graceland (where the grave sites of Elvis and members of his family are located) for free between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m daily. A basic mansion tour (which is self-guided) costs $39.75 for adults, $35.80 for teens between the ages of 13 and 18 and $19 for children between the ages of 7 and 12. Kids age 6 and younger enter for free. If you opt for one of the VIP tours, expect to pay at least $96.50 per person. If you want to avoid the $10 parking fee, hop on a free shuttle bus at Sun Studio, which departs to and from Graceland every hour on the hour. 

If the above activities still don't scratch your Elvis itch, consider booking a luxury motorcoach tour of major music landmarks and museums nearby with Graceland Excursions. The daytrips bring visitors to destinations such as Tupelo, Mississippi (Elvis' birthplace), Dockery Farms (home of Charley Patton, the "Father of Blues") and the Grammy Museum in Mississippi. Prices for adults range from $99 to $119, and lunch is included in some cases. Tours depart from and return to the new Guest House at Graceland – a unique lodging experience just steps from the gates of Graceland. This 450-room, full-service hotel is the most significant addition to Graceland since the attraction opened in 1982. The glamorous accommodations are said to reflect Elvis' personal style; in fact, some of the suite designs were overseen by Priscilla Presley herself. Visit Graceland's official website for more information.

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More Best Things To Do in Memphis

National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel
Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Type
Time to Spend
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#1 National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel

Recent travelers agreed the National Civil Rights Museum should be at the top of anyone's list of things to see in Memphis. Housed in the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, the museum features multimedia presentations on the civil rights movement. With the help of 260 artifacts, more than 40 films, oral histories, interactive media and external listening posts, visitors are guided through five centuries of history. During your self-guided tour, you'll view artifacts paramount to the movement, such as a Greyhound bus ridden by Freedom Riders. You'll also have the chance to see King's motel room, where he spent his final hours.

Reviewers described the museum as "surreal" and "incredbily moving." They went on to note the staging of the exhibits is "top-notch" and said the museum helped put seminal events of the period into context for a better overall understanding of the movement. Visitors should budget at least two to three hours to tour the entire facility.

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Brand USA/Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau
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