Graceland, the iconic home of Elvis, is a must-see for any fan. Take a VIP tour to explore the mansion's iconic rooms, learn about Graceland's history and the many stories that lie within its walls.
(2nd) Most Visited Home in America
46 years after his death, Elvis Presley’s legacy endures. Although he died too soon, The King remains one of music’s most endearing legends. And our obsession with legends manifests in a multitude of ways.
If you can believe it, 600,000 people visit Elvis’ mansion, Graceland, every year. It is the second most visited home in the United States, behind only the White House. Even those who aren’t fans of the Hound Dog still come to visit the Memphis historical site. But why are people so obsessed with Graceland?
Graceland Mansion may be associated with the King of Rock n’ Roll, but it began as a simple farm. Stephen C. Toof previously owned the farm and named it after his daughter, Grace. When Stephen passed, Grace inherited the estate. When Grace passed, her niece, Ruth Moore, decided to build a mansion on top of the plot.
Two decades passed, and the Presleys, with their newly claimed fortune, purchased the 10,266 square foot land and its mansion. Contrary to popular belief, Elvis didn’t buy Graceland; his parents, Vernon and Gladys, did. The investment cost a 22-year-old Elvis $100,000. Not bad for a mansion.
Where else better to begin our journey through Graceland Manor than at the gate to the entrance itself? At the very edge of the estate lies a musical gate for visitors to drive through. On each side of the gate lies a rock and roller playing guitar, with musical notes leaping out from the instruments.
Given the King’s fame, it’s a bit strange he chose an utterly transparent gate rather than a more solid block that would protect his privacy. Alas, the decisions made by the legend have likely affirmed his status even more. Paparazzi snapped many intimate moments between Elvis and his family from the famous gate.
Welcome to Graceland
The front steps of Elvis' iconic mansion are just as famous as its musical gate. On the steps of the entrance to Graceland, Elvis would park his pretty colored Cadillacs, and the paparazzi would know the star was home. The window surrounding the front door is adorned with stained glass red roses and the letter 'P.'
Graceland's brick wall is a shrine to Elvis, covered in personal messages from fans worldwide. Although the exterior of the Colonial revival stone-laid mansion with its towering white columns was left intact, the interior was tweaked to fit the requirements of The King in many unique ways.
The Staircase of Dreams
The moment you step through the door of Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion, you know there is something almost magical in the air. With a grand staircase, mirrored walls, and golden linings, the first thing visitors see is the picture of American royalty. It, indeed, was a home built for a King.
Just one of five staircases, however, still the most grand. Images of Elvis Presley climbing his stairs are iconic, perfectly capturing the luxury and glamour of Graceland. In his later years, Elvis didn't journey back down these stairs. As reported by the Daily Express, he would never be seen "in pyjamas or unshaven."
Decadent Dining Room
Elvis' favorite food may have been the infamous bacon, peanut butter, and banana sandwich, but it certainly didn't stop The King from dining on his sandwiches like a king should. Decorated by candles and golden chairs, the Presleys would happily feast on the food of their private chef, Mary Jenkins.
The ground is covered in black marble tiles, a picture of 1950s glamour. During a livestream on the Presley Estate's Instagram, the Graceland archivist Angie Marchese said, "Elvis sat at the head of the table because it did give him one of the best views of the TV that's over to the corner on the right."
A King’s Kitchen
If Elvis needed more food, a button underneath the table in the dining room connected to a bell in the kitchen. He once told the press, “The only thing in life I get enjoyment out of is eating.” You and me both, Elvis. Even in a house filled with fun rooms, Elvis still found the kitchen his favorite.
While this room is undoubtedly opulent, with its mirrored walls and golden linings, the thick carpeting is a curious choice for a space where Elvis’ customary ice cream sandwiches and bacon meat loaves. He prioritized beauty above practicality, and who dares to argue with the King?
Long Grocery List
Elvis was known for many things: his incredible voice, his electrifying stage presence, and his love of peanut butter and banana sandwiches. But did you know that King of Rock n’ Roll also had a very specific set of demands for his kitchen? Let’s just say Elvis' diet was definitely not healthy, but it sure was delicious.
Elvis wanted his kitchen to be fully stocked at all times with his favorite foods. His usual shopping list ran around $500 a week, and his staples included: Pepsi, biscuits, banana pudding, brownies, ice cream, fudge cookies, gum, and ingredients for meatloaf. It’s no wonder he gained 80kg in the last few years of his life.
The Jungle Room
Now this is where we move past the ordinary rooms and step into the wacky mind of Elvis Presley. The Jungle Room at Graceland is one of the most iconic rooms in Elvis’ mansion. It was named after the Polynesian-inspired furniture that he personally picked out, which reminded him of Hawaii, his favorite vacation spot.
Elvis had the Jungle room soundproofed with a carpet that covered both the floor and the ceiling. This enabled him to use the space as a recording studio, where he recorded some of the songs on his album From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee.
While the Jungle Room was a transformative experience for The King, no jungle is complete without animals to go with it. And no one loved animals like Elvis did. One of his original plans for Graceland was to turn it into a zoo. While it never reached zoo status, there were plenty of animals running around.
After receiving a toy squirrel monkey from his parents for Christmas, Elvis decided the toy wasn’t enough. He then adopted a spider monkey called Jayhew. But Elvis didn’t stop there. He also had a cheeky chimpanzee named Scatter, who wore human clothes and had a penchant for alcohol consumption.
Picture of Extravagant Suburbia
The living room at Graceland is one of the most lavishly decorated rooms in the mansion. It features a custom-built 15-foot sofa and a 10-foot coffee table and blue stained glass windows. While the image of Elvis' enormous white couch is ingrained, the custom-built sofa was originally metallic blue.
Elvis later had the couch reupholstered in white in a more understated style. The living room was a favorite gathering place for Elvis, Priscilla, and the rest of the family. He would often relax on the sofa and watch TV or play music with his friends. The room also served as a backdrop for many of Presley's famous photo shoots.
Dysphoria in Graceland
We now know Elvis was a troubled soul. Riddled with substance, food, and alcohol abuse, many of Elvis’ loved ones believe he never truly knew how to love himself. One major giveaway of Elvis’ frantic state of mind was the enormous amount of mirrors around the house that distorted perception.
A mirror above the fireplace in his living room was split into many different pieces, so when a person looked at themselves, they would see a broken view of their own reflection. One of Graceland’s experts said, “No matter where you stand in this room, you will never be able to see yourself as a whole, healthy person.”
The Music Room
Right behind the living room and the famous white couch lies one of Graceland’s most famous rooms. While connected to the living area, it is noticeably separate from the rest of the room. Dramatic golden drapes surround the room and give it the most luxurious feel, with a cascading chandelier to give it a regal feel.
Visible through the opening and stained glass is a gorgeous black grand piano, a classic 1960s TV set, and a small couch for any invited guests. Here, Elvis would invite record company producers, musicians, and other esteemed guests to play sweet tunes or watch his TV appearances.
The King Sleeps in Purple
One of eight bedrooms but no less grand, Elvis’ bedroom had the burgundy purple any king deserves. However, it wasn’t Elvis who designed his room. His beloved mother, Gladys, was responsible for the decoration of the bedroom. Gladys was responsible for many of the more functional rooms in Graceland.
Gladys’ exquisite taste is clear in every corner of Graceland, particularly from the royal purple feel of Elvis’s bedroom. Though she had a short life in the mansion, as she passed away in 1958 and the Presleys moved in only in 1957, her influence on its décor is undeniable.
A Bedroom Fit for a Princess
With every noble king, there is always a pretty princess whose own needs must always be accounted for. If Elvis was the King and Priscilla his Queen, then little baby Lisa Marie had to be Graceland’s Princess. Elvis couldn’t resist his daughter. Whatever Lisa Marie wanted, she received.
And what Lisa Marie wanted is what any little girl ought to have: a fuzzy and cuddly round bed, the most gorgeous pampering station known to humanity, and a closet fit for a princess. However, Lisa Marie’s room is shrouded in secret. To this day, no one is allowed to see inside the room.
TV Room to End All TV Rooms
As a self-professed TV lover, Elvis would never underdo his TV room. Nestled in the basement, the TV room was a dazzling display of extravagance and excess. With its mirrored walls, bejeweled pillows, and multiple televisions side by side, the room was a feast for the senses.
Just like President Lyndon B Johnson, Elvis wanted to watch three TV shows at once, so he had three TVs installed. When his favorite team lost, or he didn’t like something on TV, Elvis was prone to shooting his rifle at the TV. He still always had the TVs quickly replaced. He is the King of Rock n Roll, after all.
Hallway of Records
A hallway is an essential aspect of any person’s house; it connects rooms and helps us feel at home. While some opt for a more simplistic and minimal style when decorating their hallways, they are very clearly not talking about Graceland. In the home of Elvis Presley, there is no such thing as simple.
The hallway upstairs connecting Elvis and Priscilla’s bedroom, Lisa Marie’s bedroom, and the other rooms acted as more of a gold and platinum album display. Specifically, 101 gold and 57 platinum albums decorate the walls of the Graceland hallways. And yes, there were long hallways to accommodate the records.
Billiard of the Brain
As for the strangest room in the house? You are probably not ready for the level of wacky Elvis achieved in his billiards room in Graceland. The kaleidoscopic walls and patterned sofas are a reflection of his vibrant personality. Many visitors say that upon entering the room, a warm and familiar sensation instantly hits them.
Perhaps it is because the essence of Elvis's convivial spirit still lingers in the air. Or perhaps it is because the room has witnessed countless moments of joy and laughter, such as the time his daughter accidentally chipped one of the lamps while throwing a ball at his friend. Few have seen it, but even fewer understand it.
When someone in the family strikes gold luck, the rest of the family's involvement is inevitable. In the case of Elvis and his family, they were involved in his career from the get-go. When Elvis struck luck in music and bought Graceland, it was no question that his father, Vernon, would need his own office room.
The room was filled with cabinets, a TV, numerous portraits of Elvis, and state-of-the-art telephones from the 1970s. But Vernon's office was more than just a place of work. It was a sanctuary where father and son could bond and discuss everything from life and love to professional matters.
Named the Kidney Pool because it is shaped like a kidney, Elvis' pool is approximately 18 by 36 feet. Not a part of the original Graceland, Elvis added the pool in 1957. While it's not extravagant, the pool has become a sacred site for die-hard fans, some of whom have been emotionally overcome when they see it.
One recent visitor to Graceland went so far as to film himself jumping into the pool and posted it on TikTok, where it quickly went viral. Reportedly, employees of Graceland would sell $1 vials of the pool to fans. While this is unconfirmed, it isn't entirely unbelievable, given the fan hysteria around Elvis.
Given the demands of life, we could all benefit from a bit of rest and relaxation. And this was no different for Elvis. His life was a whirlwind of glamour, excitement, and excess. But even the King of Rock and Roll needed a place to quiet his mind and escape the chaos.
Elvis' Meditation Garden at Graceland was his oasis, a serene space where he could relax and recharge. Even if Elvis didn't spend much time meditating, simply walking around the garden and enjoying its beauty was enough to help him calm down and center himself. Well, for a short while.
It wasn't just all rest and no play for The King. Elvis knew how to have fun, and a golf cart was just one way the Hound Dog let his hair down. While there is no golf course at Graceland, Elvis didn't let that stop him. Paparazzi often caught the singer driving around the estate on his buggy with little Lisa Marie.
Bearing in mind Elvis had no passion for golf, just for his fabulous buggy. The cart, a white Harley Davidson, was put up for auction in 2020. While the Presley estate anticipated high bidding of up to $60,000, they needed help to get a bidder for the minimum $20,000 bid.
There's one room in Graceland that's completely off-limits, even to the public. It's a top-secret room that only Elvis, his Queen Priscilla and Little Lisa Marie could access, along with an exclusive entry by Oprah Winfrey. It was only in 2010 when Lisa Marie revealed to Oprah what was inside the room.
When they reached the secret room, the cameras were turned off. The room is reportedly filled with Elvis's personal belongings, including rings, sunglasses, over 60,000 photographs, and 88 jumpsuits. And no, Oprah wasn’t allowed to record or touch anything and was forced to wear gloves upon approach.
Pink and Grape Cadillac
One of Elvis' most famous cars always parked in the Graceland driveway was his pink Cadillac Fleetwood. He bought the car in 1955 and painted it pink to match his stage outfits. With a bedazzled roof with bright pink jewels, it was peak 50s car decor. He later gave the car to his mother, Gladys.
Another famous car in Elvis' collection was his magenta Cadillac. He bought the car in 1956 and had it painted magenta to stand out from the crowd. The car was originally white, but Elvis wanted it to be more eye-catching. Allegedly, he also had the car sprayed with grape Kool-Aid so that it would smell like grapes!
Nothing Like the Real Deal
If it wasn’t already clear, The King loved cars, but he had a particular fondness for his black Stutz Blackhawk III which he purchased in 1970 for $26,500. At first, the Stutz dealer was hesitant to sell the car to Elvis. He wanted to use it as a display car to attract other potential buyers.
However, Elvis knew what he wanted, and he wasn't going to take no for an answer. He told Meyers, "How do you think you will sell more cars when you drive it, or when the people see ME driving it around?" Elvis loved his Blackhawk III so much that he bought 3 more over the years and even had one customised to his liking.
Flying Lisa Marie
Elvis Presley was known for his love of luxury, and his private jets were no exception. He had two aircraft: a scarlet Lockheed Jet Star and a Convair 880 named ‘The Lisa Marie.’ Not only did his beloved aircraft have a master bedroom with a king-size bed, it also contained a conference room and movie theatre.
He spent over $100,000 to purchase and remodel the 'Lisa Marie,' and the interior was decked out in gold-plated belt buckles, golden sinks, and leather-topped tables.The jet was so big that it had its own tail number, N880EP. The tail number stood for "Elvis Presley Enterprises."
A Presidential Yacht
One of The King’s most prized possessions was his presidential yacht, The Potomac. Elvis purchased The Potomac in 1964 for $55,000. The yacht was originally built for President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), and it had a long and distinguished history. So, Elvis bought it to protect it as a shrine.
The Potomac was 165 feet long and had 25 staterooms. It also had a swimming pool, a movie theater, and a bowling alley. Elvis loved to show off his yacht to his fans, and he often took them for rides on the Mississippi River. Elvis adored the boat and FDR so much, he offered to donate it in his honour.
The Fateful Bathroom
Sadly, it is the bathroom where we end our grand tour of Graceland; the same bathroom where Elvis took his last few breaths. On August 16, 1977, the world lost a musical icon. Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, was found dead in his bathroom at Graceland. He was just 42 years old.
The official cause of death was a heart attack worsened by substance abuse. Many people believe that Elvis's lifestyle contributed to his early death. He was known for his love of junk food, especially peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He would often eat up to 12 sandwiches a day! That day, Graceland lost its King.
Someone Stuck Around
There is one other room at Graceland that is rarely seen by the public: Aunt Delta's bedroom. Delta was the sister of Elvis' father, Vernon. She moved into Graceland in 1966 after the death of her husband. She continued to live in the house even after Elvis passed away in 1977.
In fact, not only did she remain in Graceland following Elvis’ death, she even stayed there when it opened up to the public for visits. Visitors would come to the estate to see Graceland and often see Aunt Delta walking around home. Delta lived in Gladys’ bedroom after she passed and until her own death in 1993.
Resting in Graceland
After a life lost too soon, Elvis was declared dead and his body was laid to rest. The same very spot Elvis would meditate in his garden became the spot he was buried, alongside his mother and father. Having passed away in early 2023, Elvis’ beloved daughter Lisa Marie was also buried next to her dad.
Every year, fans from all over the world flock to Graceland to pay their respects to The King. Even though Elvis’ time on this world has come and gone quickly, the fascination with Graceland reminds us that he was a legend the world fell in love with. And if you disagree, ask the 20 million who have visited his home since 1977.