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When in Memphis, almost everyone asks if you’ve been to the Elvis Presley house. It’s practically mandatory, along with sampling the smoky barbecue and checking out the ducks in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel.
We went with the crowd, and while we’re glad we did, we don’t plan on returning.
We got an inside look at the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s private life. While we enjoyed our visit, it sometimes left us wanting more. We’ll explain below!
What Is the Elvis Presley House?
The Elvis Presley house is called Graceland. It was Elvis Presley’s longtime home since 1957.
A prominent family connected to newspaper publishing built the stately home in 1939. Initially, it was on 500 acres of land.
When Elvis was a young superstar, he purchased the house and nearly 14 acres for a reported $102,500. He died unexpectedly in 1977, and the iconic Graceland became a tourist attraction five years later.
Because of the extreme devotion of many of his fans, some refer to a trip to Graceland as a pilgrimage.
Where Is the Elvis Presley House?
Elvis owned houses in California, but Graceland was his primary residence for 20 years. It’s in Memphis, Tennessee, where his family lived when he started his recording career with Sun Records.
The white-columned, two-story mansion with a stone fence is on a stretch of U.S. Highway 51 that people call Elvis Presley Boulevard.
The home is several miles south of downtown Memphis, distant from many of the city’s other popular attractions.
Does Anyone Still Live at the Graceland Mansion?
The Presleys were a tight-knit family, and several lived at the Elvis Presley house over the years. Elvis’ parents, Vernon and Gladys, moved in with him in 1957.
His paternal grandmother, Minnie Mae, and her daughter, Delta, joined them later. The singer and actor married Priscilla Beaulieu in 1967, and they soon had a daughter, Lisa Marie.
Graceland is no longer a residence, however. The final occupant of the house was Elvis’ Aunt Delta, who lived there until she died in 1993.
What Are You Able to See on a Tour of the Elvis Presley House?
The Elvis Presley house restored the décor to how it generally looked in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. In that sense, visiting Graceland is like stepping back in time.
What you see depends on which tour package you choose. With the basic tour, you can view most of the interior and the grounds. You also get admission to various exhibits across the street in Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex.
Touring the house, you’ll see the living room and his parents’ old bedroom, plus a billiard room with unique wall tapestries.
You’ll also peer into the TV room with three TV sets and the funky Jungle Room before walking through the kitchen.
The tour includes Elvis’ father’s old office, a large trophy room, his racquetball court, and the outdoor Meditation Garden. This final stop often stops visitors as they realize it’s the Presleys’ final resting place.
The additional attractions include walk-throughs of the entertainer’s two airplanes and a tour of an impressive automobile museum. He had many unique cars!
You can also browse several other sprawling exhibits of memorabilia and personal effects.
Why We Wouldn’t Visit Again
We loved seeing much of Elvis’ stuff, especially all those heavy wool jumpsuits and his custom jewelry.
We’re happy that we took the tour of the Elvis Presley house but didn’t feel the need to return. Here’s why.
You Can’t Go Upstairs
For all you can see at Graceland, the upstairs is still off-limits. It’s probably out of respect for the family because this is where Elvis died.
We understand, but we were disappointed because we wanted to see the King’s bedroom. We weren’t looking to satisfy a morbid curiosity, but we felt we were missing out.
The Tour Is Audio Guided/Self-Guided
We were hoping for a personal tour of the Elvis Presley house from an experienced guide with exciting stories. Instead, they handed us an iPad with a narration by actor John Stamos and remembrances from Lisa Marie.
The tour was self-guided, but we felt rushed because so many people were anxiously in line behind us. We had some questions about the house and furnishings, but we couldn’t ask them.
We weren’t expecting bargain-basement pricing, but we suffered a sticker shock at the gate.
The cost is high to get your foot in the door. The add-ons add up quickly.
We wanted souvenirs for our friends, but they were costly, too. Simply put, it takes dough to visit Elvis Presley’s house.
You’ve Seen It Once, You’ve Seen It All
It’s a cliché, but we’ve “been there, done that.” Graceland isn’t full of rotating exhibits that change seasonally so we wouldn’t expect a different experience next time.
“It is what it is” is another overused expression, but it applies in this case. Unless they open the second floor, that is; then we might want to return.
We’re Not Diehard Elvis Fans
We like Elvis and his music but aren’t the super-fans many other visitors were. Many of them were reverent, some even tearful, as they made the rounds at Graceland.
We have a deeper appreciation for him after the tour of the Elvis Presley house, but we’re not into him on that level.
Keep in Mind: While we may not be Elvis fans, we do enjoy listening to music on the road and have found The Perfect Road Trip Music Service!
How Much Do Graceland Tours Cost?
You can get the more personal tour of Graceland that we wanted, but it’ll cost you.
Here’s a breakdown of the tour packages, how much they’ll cost, and what you’ll get for them.
Ultimate VIP Tour
This is the top-of-the-line package that costs $196 per person. Children two and under get in free.
For that premium price, you and up to nine others get the expert guide for an intimate tour of the house.
The extras include a tour of the two planes plus a restaurant meal and access to a private lounge.
In addition, you can peek into the Graceland archives for a behind-the-scenes “show and tell session.” You will also take home an official backstage pass as a keepsake.
Elvis Entourage VIP
This next tier is a run-of-the-mill tour of the Elvis Presley house, except you get to skip to the front of the line.
You also get a backstage pass, and you can tour the mansion, the two planes, and the outlying museums and exhibits.
The price for these self-guided tours is $128 per person and free for those four and under.
Elvis Experience Tour
This is the introductory tour of Graceland and the same museums and exhibits across the street, including the planes. It takes around four hours, maybe a little less, to see it all.
The cost is $77 each for people who are 11 and up. Pricing is $44 for youths ages five through ten. It’s free for kids four and under.
Elvis Presley’s Memphis + Planes
This is the least expensive option but doesn’t get you inside the house. Admission to the Entertainment Complex across the street is $48 for adults and $27 for youth.
We doubt this one’s very popular. Maybe it’s for people who had visited the house before management fully developed these additional tour features.
Keep in Mind: County songs are popular to listen to while on the road! These 15 Country Songs will evoke a special feeling on your next road trip!
The Elvis Presley House Is Worth Seeing Once
We wish we were as excited about the trip as Paul Simon was when he sang, “I’m going to Graceland.” Looking back, it wasn’t what we expected.
On the grounds, you feel like you’re witnessing history because Elvis Presley’s house is an almost monumental American landmark.
However, it’s pretty pricey and wasn’t quite as satisfying as we’d hoped. We kept wondering how the upstairs looked!
We have a better picture of Elvis’ remarkable life and his powerful impact on many others.
We’re happy to say we’ve checked Elvis Presley’s house off our bucket list. Now we look forward to seeing everything else Memphis offers.
Will you visit Graceland soon?