Long Live the King
Since its opening in 1982, Graceland has welcomed literally millions of Elvis fans onto the estate, and, in true, Elvis superfan fashion, many have left their mark on the place. This photo captures just a few of the messages left by Elvis fans on the walls outside of the Graceland mansion.
According to most recent estimates, more than 650,000 tourists visit the mansion each year. There are very few long-dead stars who could continue to draw more than half a million people each year, but the love for Elvis is still going strong today!
Welcome to Graceland
The first thing that visitors to Graceland see when they arrive is this bright blue sign, and hundreds of thousands of tourists pass by it each year. Currently, Graceland holds the record for the most visitors to a privately owned home, and its visitor numbers rival that of even the White House!
The mansion is currently owned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. In addition to managing Elvis' former home, the group is responsible for most of the Elvis merchandising and licensing worldwide.
Fans Enter the Mansion
The front entrance to the Graceland mansion is adorned with statues and columns, which feels appropriately regal for the King of Rock 'n Roll. However, the outside doesn't really scream Elvis—if you didn't know you were at Graceland, this would look very much like your average ritzy house.
And there's probably good reason for that. When Elvis bought the mansion, he was attempting to escape all the press and adoring fans who were hounding him (and his neighbors) at his current home. The mansion allowed him to live a high-class life without telegraphing "Elvis lives here!"
The Living Room
We expected Elvis' living room to be extra, but we weren't expecting it to be this extravagant! From the mirror walls to the stained-glass peacocks to the baby grand piano, this is a room that definitely makes a flashy statement.
The living room in Graceland contains a lot of mementos that had personal meaning to Elvis, including a painting that his father gave him on their last Christmas together as well as assorted photos of his parents and his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.
Memorabilia in the Racquetball Building
To say that Graceland is packed to the gills with Elvis memorabilia would be an understatement. In this photo, we get a glimpse of just one room that's been decked out from floor to ceiling with Elvis mementos, from costumes to albums.
This particular setup can be found in the Graceland racquetball building. Strangely enough, Elvis was a big fan of playing racquetball, so he installed a court and building on the premises after purchasing the mansion. It was one of many modifications that Elvis made to the home.
The Jungle Room
One of the most iconic (and controversial) rooms in Graceland is the infamous "Jungle Room". Some people say that this is easily the tackiest room in the mansion, but it's also one of the most memorable. Elvis may not have had impeccable taste, but he definitely had a strong point of view when it came to decor.
When Elvis was touring on the road, he would often get homesick. To avoid this, he would have his crew redecorate his hotel room to better remind him of home. Often, they would end up recreating the Jungle Room to give the King a little taste of home.
The Record Collection
To this day, Elvis is still the best-selling solo artist of all time, with his sales estimated to be as high as one billion. And if you visit Graceland, you can get a glimpse of every gold and platinum record the King ever recorded.
When all was said and done, Elvis ended up with 101 gold albums (which is the current record) and 57 platinum records (which is also the world record). Needless to say, these records take up quite a bit of wall space in the mansion!
When you're as famous as Elvis, a gated mansion is a must! The original gates to Graceland still stand, and, while they're definitely kitschy, that was exactly Elvis' style. However, despite the extra security, the King wasn't a total recluse.
Back when he was alive, you could sometimes find Elvis standing behind the gates signing autographs for fans. And, on any given day, you could see the entire Presley family going about their daily lives from the gates as well.
Flowers for the King
Since his death, Graceland has been ground zero for tributes and memorials to Elvis. And, like this one picture, some of these memorials are truly elaborate and beautiful. We don't know what compels fans to bring flowers for the King, but it's been a tradition since the beginning.
Each year on the anniversary of his death, Graceland celebrates Elvis Week, which includes a procession and a candlelight vigil. During these events, fans bring all sorts of mementos to lay at Elvis' graveside.
An Elvis Cadillac
Elvis loved a lot of things in his life, but Cadillacs were near the top of his list. You can see all sorts of cars that belonged to Elvis when you visit Graceland, including this beautiful teal Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60.
By far, one of Elvis's most famous cars was his pink Cadillac which he nicknamed "Elvis Rose." At the time, very few car manufacturers offered cars in pink, but that all changed after Elvis bought his and the color surged in popularity.
Fans from Across the World
Elvis may have been American, but he was a worldwide phenomenon—and continues to be to this day! This floral display was sent to Graceland for Elvis Week from a fan club all the way in Brazil. The King definitely had fans far and wide!
There are probably hundreds (if not more) Elvis fan clubs around the world today, and they can even get themselves officially recognized by submitting an application to Elvis Presley Enterprises, the organization that runs Graceland and other Elvis projects.
The Retro TV Room
In a lot of ways, visiting the Graceland mansion is like stepping back in time. This room in the mansion just screams '70s with its yellow and dark brown wood panels and mirrored coffee table. Elvis was also a fan of watching television, which probably explains the three TVs embedded in the walls.
Visitors are lucky to get a glimpse into Elvis' life like this, but not everywhere in Graceland is open to the public. Unlike this TV room found in the basement, the entire second floor is off-limits to the public, mostly because of his death in a second-story bathroom.
Elvis in the Army
There is so much Elvis memorabilia at Graceland that it would be a challenge to take it all in with just one visit. Posters and albums are scattered throughout the home, but this room has a particularly special piece of Elvis history.
Here, you can see a uniform that Elvis wore after being drafted into the military in 1958. He served for two years, and, during that time, he made every attempt to just be another average soldier, not a worldwide superstar.
A Furry Bed
Knowing what we know about Elvis' outrageous design style, is anyone really surprised that he would opt for such a ridiculous, fuzzy bed? It definitely looks comfortable, but we've never slept anywhere as audacious as this!
While you can see his bed at Graceland, it's highly unlikely that you'll actually see his bedroom. It's located on the second floor of the mansion, which is off-limits to visitors and has remained unchanged since his death in 1977.
Sounds of the Jungle
Have you ever wanted a veritable tiki bar in your home? Neither have we, but we can't say the same about Elvis. The iconic Jungle Room in Graceland may be very campy and over-the-top, but you have to admit that some of that woodwork is very beautiful and impressive.
A few years before his death, Elvis turned the Jungle Room into a recording studio for himself, and most of his final two albums were recorded here. The room took on a life of its own after his death and even got a shoutout in Marc Cohn's 1992 hit "Walking in Memphis".
Elvis shared a special bond with his fans and went above and beyond to make them feel valued. Thankfully, after his death, the owners of Graceland have continued to show major love and respect for fans of the King. It's not something you see a lot anymore these days.
In this photo, we see one of the countless Elvis-themed scrapbooks that fans have brought to Graceland. While all of them are not always on display, they're carefully stored on the premises for future fans to get a glimpse of.
Elvis' origins were a far cry from the lavish luxury of his adult life and career. This sign outside of Graceland gives a short account of his early years, which began in Tupelo, Mississippi.
You can find a sign similar to this sign at his birthplace house in Mississippi. While this home is much smaller than Graceland, it's another important pilgrimage point for real Elvis fans. There, you'll find the home, a chapel, and a small museum dedicated to Elvis.
The Billiards Room
Elvis was a man of many hobbies during his life. From karate to horseback riding, it seems like the King was always finding ways to stay busy while still having fun. One of his major loves, later in life, was playing billiards.
The billiards room at Graceland can be found in the basement and was another renovation that Elvis made to the home after purchasing it. Graceland has done a great job at preserving it exactly as it was, including a scratch on the pool table from a trick shot gone wrong.
The kitchen at Graceland has only been open to visitors since the 1990s. Despite being a museum to Elvis, his aunt Delta continued to use the kitchen in the mansion until she died in 1993. It's not the most groundbreaking room in the mansion, but it does have that classic kitschy style Elvis was so fond of.
Elvis does have one interesting tie to the kitchen, though. He was apparently very fond of peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwiches—so much so that this sandwich is now often simply referred to as "The Elvis."
Despite being a somewhat modest mansion, Graceland is still a huge place to explore. Coming in at just over 17,500 square feet, the Graceland mansion spans three floors and 23 rooms. While the first floor and basement are open to the public, the second floor is off-limits with no plans on opening it up.
Elvis purchased Graceland in 1957 for $102,000. While that might seem like a steal, the King ended up doing more than $500,000 worth of remodeling and renovation before the mansion was up to his standards.
A Game of Pinball
Elvis was a man of many tastes, so we really shouldn't be that surprised that he'd have multiple pinball machines in his home. But it still is a little weird to think about the King of Rock 'n Roll was also a pinball wizard.
This room is just off of Graceland's racquetball court. But before you think about playing a game of pinball, keep in mind one of the machines was allegedly rigged. People say that one of the machines always lets the first player win, and - surprise, surprise - Elvis always went first when playing.
People obviously come to Graceland because of their love of Elvis, but there's actually more to see there than just Elvis' world. You can also catch a glimpse of the office his father, Vernon, used while he was still alive. These days, it's filled with paintings of the King himself and other family members.
It turns out that both Presley's father and his mother, Gladys, played an important part in the history of this historic mansion. Presley gave them a $100,000 budget and told them to find a "farmhouse-like" home. They picked Graceland, and the rest is history!
This photo shows the Graceland bedroom of Elvis' parents, Vernon and Gladys, and honestly, it's one of the more beautifully designed rooms in the home. Elvis may have had wild taste in decor, but it's clear his parents had a more traditional aesthetic!
Tragically, in the 1960s, Elvis' mother Gladys died and his father Vernon remarried. There was some serious tension between Elvis and his new stepmother, as he did not appreciate her taking his mother's place as the matriarch of Graceland. Eventually, Vernon and his new wife had to move out of the mansion because of the bad blood.
The Dining Room
If the Jungle Room in Graceland is just too tacky for you, then you can find safe haven in the much more traditionally styled dining room. Black marble surrounded by carpet is definitely an out-of-the-box choice, but it absolutely works better than some styles found in Graceland!
These days, you can pop on into the kitchen that's connected to the Graceland dining room, but that wasn't always the case. Until the 1990s, the kitchen was still used by Elvis' aunt, so it was closed to the public to respect her privacy. There's no telling how many Presley relatives still linger in the mansion!
The Pink Jeep
If there's one thing we know about Elvis it's this: the man loved his pink vehicles. Most famously, Elvis was the owner of several pink Cadillacs. But here, we can see that he'd basically buy any car for sale as long as it was bright pink!
This pink Jeep combines Elvis' love for the color with his love for an exotic jungle aesthetic. That thing is decked out like it's ready for a safari, but that bright pink would definitely stick out like a sore thumb on the savannah!
The Meditation Garden Fountain
The Meditation Garden is one of the most peaceful and serene places you can find on the Graceland estate. During his life, Elvis used this area to unwind and think through his problems. After his death, it became his gravesite, as well as the gravesite for his parents and twin brother.
The fountain, as well as the rest of the Meditation Garden, was designed and built by Bernard Grenadier. It was part of the $500,000 worth of renovations that Elvis did to the Graceland property after purchasing it in 1957 for a little over $100k.
The Trophy Room
The trophy room at Graceland is actually part of the mansion's recreation center, which also includes a racquetball court, personal gym, and locker room. These days, the two-story building is decked out from head to toe with items from big moments in Elvis' life.
In addition to his numerous platinum and gold records, the trophy room also has some more unusual objects as well. Here, you can also see Priscilla Presley's wedding dress, many of Elvis' outfits, and even a few toys that Lisa Marie Presley played with as a child.
Elvis for President
There is no shortage of Elvis memorabilia to be found at the Graceland mansion, but this photo shows some of the more peculiar items associated with the King. People lost their minds when Elvis came around, and that's made perfectly clear by the fact that some people apparently thought he should be president.
These signs were likely inspired by the 1956 Lou Monte song, "Elvis for President." As ridiculous as it sounds, Elvis actually garnered about 5,000 write-in votes nationwide that year, but, as you probably already know, even Elvis was no match for Dwight Eisenhower.
The King's Lincoln
This is actually a bit of a rarity when it comes to cars owned by Elvis. Not only is this vehicle not hot pink (which was his usual go-to color for cars) but it's also not a Cadillac. Instead, this is a very normal-looking Lincoln Continental.
Elvis actually owned multiple Lincoln Continentals in his life, and it was his preferred vehicle for being driven to and from performances. Presley first fell in love with this type of car while stationed in Germany during his stint in the Army.
The King at Home
Graceland has been an Elvis museum for decades at this point, so it can be easy to forget that this place was once an actual family home where Elvis and his loved ones lived a normal life together—or at least as normal of a life as can be expected for a rock 'n roll superstar!
During his life, if you drove by Graceland, you'd have a pretty good shot of seeing Elvis, his parents, wife, and child going about their daily lives, as if they weren't one of the most well-known families in the world. And the estate managers of Graceland have done a fantastic job of preserving the mansion so that fans worldwide can still get a glimpse into the life of Elvis Presley!