By Cindy Graham
Elvis Presley famously called his luxurious Memphis mansion, Graceland, his home for 20 years. And he certainly did live in style.
Although it’s been 40 years since Presley’s death, his popularity is still growing worldwide, with over 650,000 people visiting Graceland each year. And visitors to Graceland now have another great Presley-related attraction to enjoy: the Elvis Presley Memphis Complex. Completed in 2017, this huge tourist attraction encompasses the Graceland Mansion, Elvis Presley’s Memphis with its state-of-the-art exhibits related to the star’s life, and the Guest House at Graceland, an exquisite Presley-themed hotel.
Begin your Graceland complex adventure at Elvis Presley’s Memphis, an expansive 200,000 sq ft building highlighting the star’s life (admission includes the Graceland Mansion, too). The complex has several excellent exhibits including Elvis’s car collection and his two airplanes, along with restaurants, a theater, and several souvenir shops.
One of the most interesting exhibits is the Hall of Inspiration, which introduces us to the many vocal artists who down the years have attributed Elvis as a major inspiration to their music careers. You will be surprised by the names, including artists as diverse as Dolly Parton, The Beatles, Kiss and John Lennon, who idolized Presley and once said, “If it hadn’t been for Elvis, there would have been no Beatles.”
Presley’s Life of Luxury
Presley’s car collection alone is worth the price of admission. Highlights include his famous pink and purple Cadillacs, along with a number of other unique cars, motorcycles and other modes of transportation, including a few go-carts he enjoyed riding around his estate. Also worth seeing is a hall commemorating Presley’s time in the army, along with one displaying his record albums, awards, and some of his most memorable stage costumes.
When it comes time to explore Presley’s Graceland Mansion, be sure to make use of one of the iPads with headphones; it’s an excellent way to learn more about each room, and your virtual tour guide will provide many interesting bonus features and information you may otherwise have missed.
Feeling peckish? Well, given the complex can take the best part of a day to explore, you’ll probably want to take a break at some stage. Fortunately, the complex also boasts two restaurants, one of which is a replica of a 1950s dinner (the other specializes in BBQ food).
If you’re planning on a night’s stay – or even looking for a great base from which to explore Memphis’ many other attractions – The Guest House at Graceland is a great new place to visit. Consisting of 450 rooms, each boasting many elegant touches, the hotel is located adjacent the Graceland mansions and includes a number of luxury suites designed by none other than Priscilla Presley herself.
Two other notable places to stay in Memphis are the Peabody Memphis, famous for its ducklings, and the five-star luxury boutique hotel the River Inn, boasting stunning views of the Mississippi.
If you can, try to time your visit to the Graceland complex to coincide with one of the regular special events held at the complex, including live performances, Elvis week in August, Presley’s birthday in January, or at Christmastime when the mansion is beautifully decorated for the holidays.
For further details of the excellent Graceland complex adventure, visit the attraction’s website at www.graceland.com.
Contributor Cynthia Graham is an award winning travel writer and blogger. Find her on Twitter at @lovetravelingto; Facebook, www.facebook.com/bluebagnomads; and on her blog, http://www.bluebagnomads.com.