Visiting Graceland: Plan Your Trip!

* Graceland provided complimentary tickets for my visit. All opinions are my own.

I was only two years old in 1977, the year that Elvis died but his musical influence has been a part of my life since I was eight years old. My dad was actually born in Nashville, Tennessee and on a visit back to his birthplace we stopped in Memphis to visit Graceland. This was my introduction to the world of Elvis and I was hooked!

Graceland Mansion Staircase to Elvis’ Private Quarters

Each year Graceland welcomes thousands of visitors from all over the world. Knowing people fly across the ocean just to visit Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee is a true testament to how popular Elvis still is today.

When I found out my best friend’s mom who passed away a couple of years ago was a HUGE Elvis fan and never had the opportunity to check off a bucket list visit to Graceland,  I knew we had to make it a girls road trip in her honor.

On a hot summer day in August we loaded up our car and began our journey from Texas to Memphis, Tennessee. With Elvis songs on our play list, we were on our way to Graceland!

As we drove down Elvis Presley Blvd and saw the gates of Graceland, we were like excited teenage girls, well, except for the fact we are totally not teenage girls anymore. Did I really just say “Totally”??

This was Elvis Week and the grounds were filled with people from all over the world there to honor the King! I was afraid of the crowds since it was Elvis Week but we quickly saw that the staff of Graceland had it all under control and it made our visit a very smooth experience.

When you first arrive at Graceland you will park on the opposite side of the street from the Graceland Mansion. This is also where you will purchase tickets (see ticket pricing at the end of this post) and have access to several gift shops, restaurants, special exhibits and a chance to see the Sirius Elvis channel broadcast booth.

Before we decided to visit the mansion, we started out with the self-guided tours that were offered as a part of our Platinum Tour ticket. The first stop was Elvis’ Automobile Museum. This exhibit will take your breath away as it showcases over 30 of Elvis’ personal vehicles and vehicles he gave to family members. It is greatly known that Elvis had a love for cars and found great joy in gifting them to friends and family.  I would love to show every car in this exhibit but that would be a lot of pictures and you really, really, really need to experience this in person. You won’t be disappointed!

After touring the amazing exhibit halls across the street from Graceland, it was time for the Main Event…..The Graceland Mansion!!!  We were given an iPad intended for narration of our mansion tour and earphones as we boarded the bus that drove us through the gates of Graceland. The huge trees and expansive lush green yard were beautiful and it was then that it was like taking a big step back in time.

We unloaded from the bus and waited on the front porch steps for our tour guide to begin, all while taking in the fact that we were at Elvis’ front door!!  If only he were here to greet us! As our tour began we walked through the rooms that used to be alive with Elvis and his friends playing pool, watching tv and playing music. There are many not-so hidden small staircases inside Graceland and that was a neat little surprise. Up the big white main staircase behind blue velvet curtains were Elvis’ private quarters. That is one area of Graceland you will not be able to visit and I have huge respect for that.

Our tour then took us outside into the backyard and through the office where Elvis’ gave his famous interview after returning home from the Army.  Next door to the office is a small room Elvis used for target practice. We learned Elvis was always up to something! Whether it was riding golf carts or even horses all over the property, he always looked to entertain. Still today, beautiful stables adorn the property with horses.

As our tour was ending I realized just how peaceful this special place was and I could see how Elvis was at home here. Upon our last leg of the tour was the Memorial Garden where Elvis and family members are buried. At that point I realized we really had honored my best friends mom with this visit to Graceland. Even though I had visited as a child, this was visit meant so much more!

Here are some helpful planning and savings tips you can use when planning your visit to Graceland ……

~ When planning your visit, be sure to check out the operating hours HERE to get the most out of your day at Graceland.

~ While there are a few cafe’s on the Graceland property, you can save money when you pack your own lunch cooler. We retreated back to our car, turned up the a/c and enjoyed eating and talking about all we had seen at the exhibits thus far.

~ Receive ticket discount codes (valid during 2015) at  Use the discount codes HERE to purchase your tickets.

~ Pack your camera or remember to fully charge your smartphone because you will want to take a ton of pictures!! Photos are allowed all over Graceland, inside and out with the exception of flash photography.

~ Visit Graceland…..FREE!
Each operating day, visitors are offered the opportunity to walk up through the gates of Graceland and visit the Meditation Garden FREE from 7:30am – 8:30am. The Meditation Garden is where the grave sites of Elvis and members of is family are located.

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