Last week, after an inspiring yet emotional visit to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, the group I was with received a surprise. A gap in the schedule permitted a quick courtesy tour of Graceland, Elvis Presley’s mansion and final resting place. I’ve included some Instagram photos as well as others filtered as I would have had I Instagrammed them.

Arrival to Graceland was as expected. A sign denoted the entrance leading to a small parking lot filled with tour buses. The guide handed over our tickets and we lined up to wait for a bus to take us across the street to the mansion. Of course, a professional photo is snapped prior to boarding the bus that is available for purchase after your tour. Before boarding the bus, we were handed an audio tour– a way for staff to identify paid visitors–that I appreciated later for the additional insight. For someone like me who didn’t grow up in the Elvis generation, there is a lot to learn about the King of Rock and Roll.

The tour started in front of the house and walks you through the property. Nothing has been touched (other than refurbishments, obviously) since 1977. I actually like his living room.

Elvis and Graceland in Memphis Tennessee

His pool room with the crazy carpeted walls and ceiling? Not so much.

Elvis and Graceland in Memphis Tennessee

The upstairs is kept private, just as it was when Elvis was alive. Visitors tour the property via hallways as the rooms are roped off. Though the grounds are expansive, the home is modest by today’s celebrity standards. Elvis’ parents lived there too and it does seem as if many people would make for cramped living quarters.

What is impressive are the floor-to-ceiling walls of awards. Gold records everywhere in multiple rooms. Priscilla Presley’s wedding dress and his costumes are all on display. Visitors customize their audio tour based on what they’d like to learn about.

Elvis and Graceland in Memphis Tennessee

Perhaps the most poignant part of the tour is the Meditation Garden–the King’s final resting place, pictured in the top photo. It’s hard to believe he’s there. Fans across the world still send flowers, posters, letters and more.

But you know what is cool? Graceland is still a home. As I popped Graceland into Google search in preparation for this post, I stumbled upon an article for USA TODAY that my editor, Libby, at 10Best wrote. You see, Graceland won 10Best’s “Best Iconic American Attraction” award and Libby shares details shared by Lisa Marie Presley that I bet most people don’t know. Sometimes, after the fans have left for the day, Lisa Marie visits Graceland–even meeting family for dinner there. Get the rest of the scoop from Lisa Marie about Graceland on USA TODAY.

Aside from the home, I recommend a stop into the car museum. Man, did Elvis love cars. They are immaculately-preserved time capsules.

Elvis and Graceland in Memphis Tennessee

Oh, and any sort of Elvis trinket one could ever wish for can be bought at Graceland. But that’s not surprising, is it?

(This post is part of the Instagram Travel Thursday link-up that includes some of my favorite travel and lifestyle writers! Have a look and link up your favorite Instagram photos, too. It’s fun.)

*My trip to Memphis was courtesy of Expedia as a part of the #ExpediaStJude campaign. With just a $5-$25 donation you could win one of 150 trips or receive a coupon for discounted travel. Have a look at this St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort Dream Trip that is up for grabs.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Thanks for joining us! We visited Graceland when kids were tiny and we didn’t see much of it, because road tripping with 3 under 7 can limit what you get to see sometimes 😉 Thanks for sharing all these pictures!

  2. It must have been a nice surprise to add Graceland to the agenda. I went there some 20 years ago and can’t quite remember what it looked like, so it’s to see these pictures – a house with colourful decor for sure!

  3. This is such a great post, Katie. Really good. I’ve never been to Memphis nor to Graceland. Thanks for sharing and for linking up with us.

  4. I’ve never been to Graceland hence I loved this “virtual visit”. And yeah, the pool room is slightly over the top for my taste too… The fact that is still used as a home makes it all the more special!