This Graceland Virtual Tour Takes You Inside Elvis’ Home
The magnificent mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, known as Graceland was the pride of singer and actor Elvis Presley. He spent his first night there on June 26, 1957, opening the gates to an amazing era of music history that remarkably lives on to this day. Over the 20 years he spent there, the property was “Elvis-ized,” with myriad changes to suit the eclectic taste of “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
Today, it’s part museum and shrine, a bucket-list destination for millions of fans, as well as Elvis’ gravesite. With more than 600,000 annual visitors, it’s the third-most visited house in the U.S., behind the Biltmore Estate and the White House.
Ready to take a peek inside? Slip on something comfortable (we recommend “Blue Suede Shoes”), and join us for this Graceland virtual tour!
Entering the Estate
The property is located at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard.
It’s encircled by a wall constructed of pink Alabama fieldstone, built at a cost of $65,000 and installed shortly before the Presleys moved here.
Signing the Wall
Today, the wall is covered with graffiti and professions of affection for Elvis.
Don’t worry, there’s still room for your personal contribution, which we recommend you add before entering the gates.
The Front Gates
The gates at the bottom of the curving driveway were installed at a cost $1,339 in 1957. They were designed by Abe Saucer and built by John Dillard, Jr. of Memphis Doors.
Adorned with musical notes and artistic outlines of Elvis playing guitar, they resemble sheet music.
The Perfect Photo-Op
There are a number of photographs like this one of a beaming Elvis posing with the gates. He would even sometimes stand here and sign autographs for fans.
Just behind the gates to the right is the guardhouse, which was added in 1970.
Entryway to Graceland
At the top of the hill is the Entryway to Graceland. Here, you’re greeted by a pair of white lions, two white iron benches and four imposing Corinthian columns flanking the front door.
The home’s exterior is covered with a special limestone, sourced from a quarry in Mississippi. It has a tan color that contrasts pleasantly with the green shutters on either side of the eight paned windows. Surprisingly, it exudes an air of subtlety.
A beautiful panel of ornate stained glass sits above the doorway — four flowers around a “P” in a golden circle. The flower pattern flanks the front door as well in thin, vertical panes.
Extravagant stained-glass artwork is found in many locations throughout Graceland.
A Little Graceland History
Before we step inside the estate, here’s a little bit of history first. The estate received its identity from the original owner, who named it Graceland Farms after his daughter Grace.
The nearly 14-acre property remained in the prominent Memphis family for several generations, leading to the construction of the 10,266-square-foot Colonial Revival style mansion in 1939.
The King Takes Over
Under the guidance of his parents, Elvis purchased it on March 19, 1957, for the then-princely sum of $102,500. He was just 22, less than a year from his groundbreaking “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance, a breakout star looking for a little privacy and something to grow into.
He’d spent only a year at his previous “Music City” residence (the nearby 1034 Audubon Drive), ultimately realizing the constant crush of fans gathered at the driveway was too much for the neighbors.
A National Treasure
Graceland, which has 23 rooms, was extensively remodeled by Presley (his mother reportedly vetoed purple walls and white corduroy drapes) and authentically reflects his taste, as well as style influences of the 1960s and early ’70s.
It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Elvis’ parents, Vernon and Gladys, and his grandmother, Minnie Mae, actually lived with him in the 17,552-square-foot dwelling, which served as Elvis’ headquarters for two decades until his fatal heart attack there on Aug. 16, 1977.
The first floor features a luxurious living room and the adjacent, slightly understated music room. On the other side of the first floor is a formal dining room, with the kitchen tucked just behind it. A ground-level bedroom, accessed from the back of the foyer, was occupied primarily by Elvis’ parents.
Shall we take a look?
Upon entry into the foyer, you face the staircase to the second floor, which is roped off and closed to the public. To the left, behind a white urn on a mirrored pedestal, is a framed baby portrait of Lisa Marie. Elliptical arch openings on either side lead to the Living and Dining rooms.
To the right of the stairs is a short hallway which ends at a first-floor bedroom. A small table, with a mirror hung above it, is the only decoration on it. As was the case when Elvis was alive, there’s always a vase full of flowers.
The white-carpeted 15-step staircase has a white-and-gold accented railing on the right side, with mirrors covering the left wall.
Along with the mirrors, there’s a portrait of Elvis as a young man. He’s wearing a white shirt and a placid expression. His hair is noticeably lighter, which suggests he’d recently been discharged from the Army. Elvis wasn’t able to dye his hair black when he was a soldier.
The chandelier that hangs above the stairs was the third installed by Elvis. It was placed there in 1974.
Atop the stairs, at the first landing, there are blue drapes covering the wall, with gold trimming. To reach Elvis’ bedroom, you turn right to a landing that’s just outside the bedroom door.
Immediately to the right of the foyer is the living room. It features white furniture and white carpet, with an open doorway to the music room at the far end.
A pair of elegant rainbow-hued stained-glass peacocks captures your attention immediately. The artful cacophony of color was the creation of Laukuff Stained Glass. The birds were installed in 1974 at a cost of $9,345, a price that included several other stained-glass pieces. Elvis commissioned them as an ancient Christian symbol of eternal life and resurrection.
The living room boasts mirrored walls, a white-marble fireplace and a 10-foot, glass-topped, custom-made coffee table. Just inside, to the left, is a portrait of Elvis hung on a mirrored wall above a cabinet with a framed photo of his parents.
The sofa, while not wide enough to hold Elvis’ famed “Memphis Mafia” collection of friends and advisors, was a spacious 15 feet from armrest to armrest. It was purchased for $1,375 in 1957.
Just beyond the living room, as you pass between the preening peacocks, is the music room. Originally used as a solarium by the previous owners, Elvis transformed the 17-by-14-foot space into a cozy location to entertain dinner guests on the piano.
Several pianos occupied the room through the years, but the King’s favorite was a 1912 Knabe grand that he purchased in 1957 and had painted white.
The room also contains the ubiquitous television. Elvis had them installed in countless locations throughout the house.
As an RCA recording artist, he received them for free from the company, which was a leading TV manufacturer.
The formal dining room is located on the other side of the foyer. It has curio cabinets in both corners, black marble flooring in the center and a carpeted perimeter.
The dining table featured a hidden button, installed on the underside, used by Elvis to buzz the kitchen, which is just through an open door to the right.
Dining Room Windows
The windows in the dining room, which face the front yard, are nearly floor to ceiling, framed by lush blue drapes with gold tassels.
A mirror sits between the two windows, partially obstructed by a massive oak cabinet displaying a collection of silverware.
The King of Blue Drapes
Elvis loved blue drapes so much that they didn't just adorn the dining room.
The same drapes are found in the living room and atop the foyer staircase.
The kitchen has an upscale 1970s look, right down to the appliances. It’s cozy and functional, not grand. There’s a TV (of course) on a small counter and a breakfast bar with stool seats.
In addition to the TV, two black-and-white monitors provide the live video feed from Elvis’ security cameras. A pair of stained-glass lights hang from chains; their artwork depicts fruits and vegetables.
Top-of-the-Line Kitchen Gadgets
The refrigerator, which held all of the fixin’s for Elvis’ favorite meals, is a double-door model that was uncommon in most kitchens. The oven, a Tappan Fabulous 400, is similarly state of the art for its time. Elvis loved to own the latest gadgets, evidence of which is an early model microwave oven.
Notably, patterned carpet covers the floor. One can only imagine the mess if a griddle-fried, peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich or perhaps BBQ spaghetti (among Elvis’ favorites) fell onto the floor.
Tucked behind the living room is a small bedroom, originally used by Elvis’ parents and later by his grandmother and aunt.
There’s a bathroom, allowing complete privacy for the inhabitant, despite its proximity to the main quarters. The bathroom’s wallpaper is decorated with poodles in various forms of fun and frolic.
Remodeled in 1974 with a yellow-and-black theme, Elvis had a lightning bolt and cloud painted on the back wall in tribute to the logo he adopted in the 1970s.
A wall in the TV room is embedded with three TVs (inspired by the knowledge that then-President Lyndon Johnson had a trio of sets to simultaneously watch the network news) with a deep-pillowed couch to relax in.
A Closer Look
If you look closer at the TV room, the ceiling and one wall are mirrored, and the carpet is yellow shag. A fireplace adds a feeling of warmth to the room, even if it appears that it was never lit.
Elvis’ collection of vinyl LPs and 45 RPM records sits on a shelf.
In-Home Theater Experience — Complete With a Wet Bar
A pull-down projector screen descended from the ceiling for movie viewing. For sound, there’s high-powered audio equipment located in custom-cut shelves in the TV wall.
A U-shaped wet bar, with yellow Formica countertop and padded elbow-rests, along with shelves of cocktail-related curios, completed the entertainment hideaway.
Added by Elvis as one of the first true “man caves,” the jungle room looked out to the backyard. It was designed by Bernard Grenadier, who also created the estate’s meditation garden.
On the room’s north end was a built-in waterfall wall of cut fieldstone.
The Ultimate Man Cave
The rest of the jungle room features, among other extravagances, faux fur-covered Polynesian-themed furniture, hard-carved chests and cabinets, and lime-colored, shag carpet.
Note that the ceiling is also covered in the same carpet.
A Temporary Studio Space
There are hanging ferns, mirrors, an array of jungle-themed lamps and a Tiki bar at the far end of the jungle room. Animal figures are everywhere. Elvis had a thing for primates, in particular. His favorite was a chimpanzee named “Scatter” whose previous owner was a Memphis TV personality.
In early 1976, a mobile recording unit was set up at Graceland, and Elvis transformed the jungle room into a temporary studio, from which he recorded “From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee.”
Adjacent to the jungle room is the billiards room, where Elvis shot pool and relaxed with his crew. Originally a library, Elvis channeled the vision for his personal pool hall from a painting of an 18th-century billiards room.
The room is covered in fabric — more than 300 yards of it! — including the ceiling. It reportedly took a team of workers 10 days to hang it. The project required the installation of hundreds of special rods so the fabric could extend from the walls in cascading ribbons.
Other Billiards Room Accents
The stained-glass chandelier above the table’s green felt is surprisingly understated for a man of Elvis’ flamboyant tastes. The colors are blue and green, with a touch of red.
A rip in the table’s green felt top remains, reportedly from a colleague’s failed attempt at a trick shot.
The second floor of Graceland remains closed to the public out of respect for the family’s privacy. It features a master bedroom and accompanying master bathroom, a small office and a dressing room that was converted into a bedroom for Elvis’ bodyguard.
In the rear corner, diagonally opposite the master bedroom, is the bedroom that was occupied by Lisa Marie, Elvis’ baby daughter.
Unfortunately, we can't show you the luxurious master suite because the only people allowed to enter are Elvis’ former wife Priscilla, daughter Lisa Marie and the Graceland curator. It faces the front yard and was accessed by climbing the foyer staircase and turning right.
A door at the top of the stairs leads to a short hallway with a black-upholstered leather door that opens to Elvis’ private area. What we do know is his black bed was 9 feet by 9 feet, and beside the bed, which at one time was draped in a red canopy with large gold tassels, sat a red telephone. The bathroom where Elvis died is to the right of the bed as you enter the suite.
Elvis' Upstairs Office
While you can't see Elvis' upstairs office in person, a mock version of it was part of a VIP exhibit at Graceland.
The exhibit titled, "Elvis Through His Daughter's Eyes," ran from 2012 to 2014.
Lisa Marie’s Bedroom
The room occupied by Elvis’ daughter looked out on the sundeck above the jungle room with a view of the backyard.
It contained a circular, faux-fur, canopy bed and a private bathroom.
Set aside from the house, the racquetball building was added to the grounds in 1975, coming in at $200,000, nearly twice the price of the original Graceland purchase.
It was Elvis’ personal sports complex, with a weight-training area on the ground floor, full-size racquetball court, Jacuzzi and dressing room upstairs. His shower was equipped with five gold-plated showerheads.
Racquetball Building Lounge Area
The building also had a lounge area with leather furniture, a bar, pinball machines and a piano for relaxing after a workout.
The court is exactly as it was the day of his death, save for Elvis’ racquet under glass, just beyond a velvet rope that keeps visitors off the hardwood floor.
Known today as the trophy building, the wing was built in 1966. Elvis first used it for elaborate slot car racing tracks.
Later, it housed his growing collection of awards.
The Hall of Gold
The Hall of Gold is, perhaps, the most striking aspect of the trophy building.
It displays all of Elvis’ Gold and Platinum albums and singles, along with three Grammy Awards.
Elvis Memorabilia to the Max
The trophy building also displays a stunning array of stage costumes, musical instruments and movie memorabilia.
You can gaze at his birth certificate, his junior high report card and Priscilla’s spectacular wedding dress.
Added in 1957, the simple kidney-shaped pool and cut-stone patio was a playground for Elvis and his pals. Measuring 18 feet wide and 36 feet in length, it’s virtually unchanged in the decades since he passed.
It’s surprisingly basic: white plaster, pale-blue tiles, old-style concrete coping and a diving board without railings or stairs.
Nobody is allowed to swim in the pool, but it has been maintained by Roy Reed for years. Reed has his share of stories, one of which features an opportunistic employee who sold tiny vials of Elvis’ pool water for $1 each. There’s also the tale of Elvis using the freshly dug pool as a temporary donkey pen.
It’s filled with saltwater and was built at a cost of $8,481.
Just south of the pool, the meditation garden was created in 1965 as a contemplative space. Now, it’s Elvis’ final resting place, alongside his parents and grandmother. There’s also a small monument in honor of Elvis’ stillborn twin brother, Jessie.
The garden was converted to its current configuration, as a burial memorial ground, after an attempt to steal Elvis’ coffin from nearby Forest Hill Cemetery. Reportedly, the plan was to hold it for ransom.
Elvis’ body and that of his mother were brought to Graceland on Oct. 2, 1977.
His father was interred there two years later, followed by his grandmother in 1980.
The Eternal Flame
Within the meditation garden, there’s a circular pool with five fountain jets, a pergola with Ionic columns and a brick wall with four works of stained glass set in arched openings.
An eternal flame burns above a plaque that includes the words “may this flame reflect our never ending respect and love for you.”
The Barn and Stables
Built in 1939, the barn is one of the oldest structures on the property. It’s located near the rear property line and serves as a stable for the horses at Graceland.
Horses still graze in the surrounding pastures, reportedly one each for Elvis, Priscilla and Lisa Marie. The barn proudly remains a historic link to the estate’s original identity.
Elvis’ Source of Peace
The presence of the steeds and the stillness of the barn were considered therapeutic and a source of peace for Elvis. His favorite was a golden Palomino quarter horse named “Rising Sun” who was purchased in 1966. Fittingly, he named the barn “House of the Rising Sun.”
Elvis also owned a black Tennessee Walking Horse known as “Bear.” His daughter, Lisa Marie, rode a Shetland pony named “Moriah” that Elvis led on a halter.
The business of running Graceland was largely the responsibility of Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley.
He worked out of a little building that had the pictured hand-drawn message on a sign affixed to the door. We can't help but love the use of the word "loafing" here.
A Place of Normalcy
Vernon's office is oddly normal — like a traditional office, albeit with a number of Elvis portraits (much of them sent by fans) set here and there. It had wood-paneled walls, a collection of desks, file cabinets, a copy machine and electric typewriters.
In a departure from the rest of Graceland, the carpeting isn’t shag, or eye-catching. It’s a tight, simple weave in a neutral color.
The Smokehouse Turned Shooting Range
A one-story, two-room brick structure was a part of Graceland Farms before Elvis’ ownership. It was used as a smokehouse by Vernon Presley to cure and smoke pork. At one time, he even raised hogs on the property.
Later, the humble smokehouse structure was converted into a Shooting Range for Elvis and his gun-loving cronies. At the rear of the building were four thick wooden posts, with a target hung in front of them.
One of those paper targets, loaded with bullet holes from Elvis’ many firearms, fetched $27,000 at auction.
The ‘Lisa Marie’ Aircraft
Elvis owned five planes. Two are on permanent display at Graceland. The largest is a Convair 880 purchased in 1975 for $250,000. He named it “Lisa Marie” after his daughter. Elvis spent $350,000 refurbishing it, adding two half-baths, a lounge area, conference room, sitting room and a master bedroom with a queen-size bed.
The custom touches include gold-plated seatbelt buckles, 24-karat gold-flecked sinks, leather-topped tables, state-of-the-art 8-track stereo connected to 52 speakers and a phone system.
‘Hound Dog II’
There’s also a 10-seat Lockheed Jetstar on the grounds. Elvis dubbed it “x.” He purchased it for roughly $900,000 while waiting for the “Lisa Marie” to be refurbished.
The interior has a funky green-and-yellow theme, and while not as customized as its counterpart, it was still luxurious. He didn’t fly on the jets for very long. Elvis died two years after their purchase, at age 42.
His Legacy Continues
Elvis fans continue to celebrate the life of the beloved rock star. Each year, there are candlelight vigils held at Graceland on the anniversary of his death.
This photo shows fans at his home on Aug. 15, 2017, to celebrate the 40th anniversary.