Cities Journal

Graceland: The Elvis Tour

A singer, actor, and heartthrob known for his dance moves, Elvis Presley is an American icon. He starred in 31 films and held the largest number of platinum, multiplatinum and gold certifications of any artist in history.

In addition, he sold more than a billion records worldwide.

After his death in 1977, people gathered at his Memphis home of 20 years , Graceland, to pay their tribute. Since Graceland opened in 1982, millions from around the world came to visit. It is now a National Historic Landmark.

When he was 22, Elvis purchased the Colonial Revival-style mansion and transformed the two-story, 10,000-plus square-foot facility into a more than 17,000-square-foot lavish estate with 23 rooms. It stood as a symbol of success as he promised his parents he would put an end to all their financial troubles. The public can only explore the first floor of Graceland, however.


Upon entering Graceland, you’ll wander through the foyer, living room, dining room and the bedroom belonging to his mother. The first few rooms display 1960s décor with accents such as a 15-foot-long sofa and 10-foot-long coffee table. The rooms have the chic atmosphere in which Elvis entertained formal guests.

The Upstairs

The second floor is not a part of the tour. However, one of the four bedrooms was set aside for the King’s wardrobe and the other as his office. A third room was a master bath ,and the fourth was the bedroom of his daughter, Lisa.

Living Room & Music Room

This room went though many transformations over the years. Currently, blue draperies frame the windows but are replaced by a bright red during the holidays. This is a more toned down look than the room whad in the 1970s. Beyond the living room is the music room where a baby grand piano commands attention.

Jungle Room

One step inside and the meaning behind the name is apparent. There’s a waterfall, but the décor is fashioned after Polynesian and Asian influences. As one of Elvis’ favorites, I reminded him of Hawaii, where he did recording, film-making and vacationing. Take note of the large circular chair where Lisa Marie Presley often took naps and had a prime spot in front of the big-screen TV.

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