Wednesday, October 16, 2013


We decided to spend Saturday doing touristy stuff, and you can't come to Memphis without paying homage to Elvis Presley at his Graceland Mansion home.

The Mansion is located about 9 miles south of downtown in a part of town that you probably wouldn't ever want to get lost in. Since we wanted to get there early to avoid the rush, we rented a car for the day at the downtown Avis location for about $37 total.

We could have also just jumped on a free shuttle bus from the Rock & Soul Museum, but then we'd be stuck on someone else's schedule (first pick up was 10:30AM) and would be stuck going during the busiest hours. Hiring a taxi was another option, but that would cost about $30-35 each way, so renting a car was a much better choice for us.

After renting the car at Saturday 9AM, the drive only took about 20 minutes, but we took a detour out of the way to get some breakfast. After finding a Burger King, we got back on Elvis Presley Boulevard and eventually found the Graceland parking lot just before 10AM.

The parking lot is really easy to miss if you're not paying attention. After getting off the highway, you'll drive about 2 minutes down Elvis Presley Blvd. There you should see a green sign for "Graceland Parking" at the intersection immediately after you see big signs for the Heartbreak Hotel on the right side of the road if you're heading south. Parking cost $10, but you could pay with a credit card as well as cash.

Arriving that early, we were able to park very close to the entrance and walk easily over the small bridge to enter the ticket center. We didn't have to wait in line at all, but by 11AM, there were some pretty long lines. You have a choice of 3 different Ticket Packages, though we recommend getting the Platinum Tour Package ($37/adult) which will include the Mansion tour, but also the Airplanes, Cars, and several other period exhibits. My father brought his AAA membership card and got $3 off each ticket. Not an amazing savings, but an extra $6 gets you some good eating in Memphis.

When you purchase your ticket, it will have a time and group number assigning you to a specific Mansion shuttle bus boarding time. Strollers have to be folded up when boarding the shuttle. You will also receive an audio guide/headphones where you can listen to commentary as you walk through the home.

The 30 second shuttle bus ride will just take you across the street to the mansion where you will be briefly oriented and led into the house. My stroller was taken from us as we got off the shuttle. They brought it to the car park behind the house since strollers are not allowed inside the mansion and we picked it up as we left the interior portion of the tour.

The Mansion tour is self-guided with your audio headset. You basically walk in a line from room to room following the people in front of you, sectioned off by colored ropes to prevent adorable toddlers from making a mess. While you have the chance to linger in a room for a bit, you're really supposed to continue moving forward.


After the interior, you will see a few more of the exterior structures including the Trophy Room (where all his awards are highlighted along the walls) and the Racquetball Court (which is now a showcase of Elvis' Las Vegas sequined jumpsuits). The tour finishes at the grave site where Elvis is buried (with his parents and stillborn twin brother).



By the time you finish the Mansion tour, it will probably have been about 45 minutes and you're back on the shuttle bus taking you back across the street to the rest of the Elvis exhibits. Here's a map of the Graceland Attraction area:

Our Platinum ticket package had about 6 different tickets for the various exhibits. We ended up only seeing the Airplanes (a short tour through Elvis' two custom private planes) and the Vegas exhibits.

By then, it was almost 1PM and we were trying to get lunch at Central BBQ before heading back to return the rental car. So we gave away our remaining tickets to the '68 Special Exhibit, Tupelo Exhibit, Hawaii Exhibit and the Automobile Museum to another family with kids and took off in search of some good Memphis BBQ ribs...

No comments:

Post a Comment