The Best Graceland Tours: Tips for Visiting Graceland

Advice for making the most of your time at Elvis' famous home.

U.S. News & World Report

The Best Graceland Tours: Tips for Visiting

Best Graceland Tours

A visit to Graceland, especially its mansion, is a popular activity for both Elvis fans and Memphis tourists.(Getty Images)

When Elvis Presley was just 22 years old, he purchased Graceland – a 10,266-square-foot mansion that occupied a nearly 14-acre property in Memphis, Tennessee. After the singer's death in 1977, the executors of his estate found that the mansion's exorbitant operating costs proved difficult to maintain, so they decided to open Graceland for tours in 1982. Since then, more than 20 million people from around the world have visited the mansion – which now spans 17,552 square feet – and its surrounding Elvis-themed museums and shops. If you're planning a visit, keep these recommendations in mind.

Where is Graceland? Graceland is located in the Whitehaven community of Memphis, Tennessee, approximately 3 miles west of Memphis International Airport and 9 miles south of downtown.

Know Before You Go

  • What: Graceland tours
  • When: From March through October, Graceland is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. From November through February, Graceland is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The last mansion tour begins at 4 or 5 p.m., depending on the day and time of year. Free visits to the Meditation Garden (where Elvis is buried) are available daily (except Christmas Day) from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. The Graceland Exhibition Center is open every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Cost: There are four tour options that range in price and access. The Mansion Only audio-guided tour prices start at $41 for adults and $21 for children ages 7 to 12. Meanwhile, the Ultimate VIP Tour is led by a guide and starts at $174 per person; children 2 and younger tour for free.
  • Must-know tip: Visit the mansion after 2 p.m. to enjoy fewer crowds and shorter wait times, as this is the slowest time of day. Check Graceland's website for exact opening times; there are certain days and holidays where hours vary.
  • Website: https://www.graceland.com/

Graceland's main draw is the mansion, but there's more to see than Elvis' former abode. Visitors can stop by Elvis Presley's Memphis, a 200,000-square-foot museum and entertainment complex. This building houses the Presley Motors Automobile Museum and a series of exhibits, such as "Elvis' Tupelo," which explores Elvis' early life in his hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi. The Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, which displays the entertainer's gold and platinum records, his famous jumpsuits and movie memorabilia, can also be found here. In addition, the complex houses two restaurants and a soundstage where tourists can watch Elvis' movies.

After you learn all about the King, check out the Graceland Exhibition Center. Opened in May 2019, this 80,000-square-foot venue features a variety of interactive museum exhibits that cover a variety of subjects, including motorcycles and Muhammad Ali, to name a few. The complex also boasts a food court, a bar and a separate, rentable event space.

The mansion tour will take about 90 minutes to complete. Those who decide to tour the rest of Graceland's offerings should budget approximately 3 1/2 hours to explore. You're welcome to bring cameras, but flash photography is not permitted. Video cameras cannot be brought into the mansion, attractions or gift shops. A limited number of wheelchairs and strollers are available. Note that two rooms in the basement of the mansion and the Lisa Marie airplane are not wheelchair accessible. Travelers should also bring a permanent marker to sign the famous Graceland wall before they leave.

Graceland visitors mention that even non-Elvis fans will enjoy the tour and the up-close look at the entertainer's famous lifestyle. Visitors also appreciate the audio tour narrated by John Stamos. They recommend upgrading your tour to one of the VIP options, saying it is well worth the additional cost.

Travelers should also check out Graceland's events calendar as the complex and its hotel, the Guest House at Graceland, host numerous weekend events, concerts and daytrips to Elvis' hometown throughout the year.

How to Tour Graceland

There are four different ticketing options for visiting Graceland. The least expensive option is the Graceland Mansion Only tour, which grants visitors access to the mansion and includes an audio tour and orientation film. Tickets for the mansion tour start at $41 for adults, with discounts for seniors and children.

The second option is the Elvis Experience tour. Tickets for this tour, which start at $61 per adult, include everything in the Mansion Only tour, plus admission to Elvis Presley's Memphis. Another option is the Elvis Entourage VIP tour, which includes everything from the Mansion Only and Elvis Experience tours, as well as skip-the-line access to the mansion, a VIP shuttle to the mansion and access to a special exhibit for VIPs only. Tickets start at $99 per person. For each of these three tour options, tourgoers can opt to pay an extra $5 to access Elvis' Airplanes, an area that showcases two private jets Elvis used during his career.

For unfettered access to Graceland, consider the Ultimate VIP tour. The Ultimate VIP tour includes a guided tour of the mansion with an expert guide, access to Elvis' jets, Elvis Presley's Memphis, the special VIP exhibit, a meal voucher to Vernon's Smokehouse, a keepsake backstage pass and more. Tickets for this experience start at $174 per person; children 2 and younger tour for free.

Tourgoers can purchase their tickets online or at the box office on-site. Tickets purchased online can be printed at home or downloaded on a smartphone (which saves time). You can also choose to pick up your tickets at will call; you must have a photo ID to pick them up. Patrons who purchase the Elvis Experience, Elvis Entourage VIP or the Ultimate VIP tours have the option to purchase a multiday ticket to access Elvis Presley's Memphis for an additional one, two or three days. Multiday tickets start at $17 per person and can be purchased on-site only.

Tickets for exhibits at the Graceland Exhibition Center are not included in any Graceland tickets and require additional entrance fees. Tickets for those exhibits can be purchased on Graceland's website.

Getting There

Patrons can reach Graceland by car. Parking at Graceland costs $10. The lot is located next to Elvis Presley's Memphis and the ticket booth. The only way to get to the mansion itself is by shuttle, which is included in your ticket price. The shuttle pickup is across from the ticketing pavilion.

There are also a few public transportation options. The Memphis Hop, a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, makes stops every hour at several attractions in the city, including Graceland. This bus runs Wednesday through Saturday only and tickets cost approximately $30 for adults and $20 for children ages 4 to 12. Memphis Area Transit Authority No. 42 bus route stops close to Graceland. Travelers who visit Sun Studio can take its free shuttle, which stops at Graceland, Sun Studio and the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum.

Additional tour options:

Looking for more information on Memphis? Check out the U.S. News Travel guide.

Gwen Pratesi, Contributor

Gwen Pratesi's love for food, travel and culture have taken her around the world to explore ...  Read more

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