Graceland: All Elvis, All the Time

Yes, it is unabashedly a tourist trap. But if you go to Memphis, how can you not visit the estate of Elvis Presley, the greatest American singing legend? So we shelled out the cash and took a multi-hour tour of the top sightseeing attraction in town, electing to tour both the house and the multiple museum displays.

The house sits on one side of the highway, faced by a large parking lot and museum complex on the opposite side. Once you buy your ticket, you first see a movie about Elvis’ life and estate. You are then issued an iPad, preloaded with a tour narrated by John Stamos, who played Jesse on the TV series “Full House.” (Trivia: the character on the show was named after Elvis’ stillborn twin brother.)

The tour takes you through the ground floor, outbuildings, and grounds of the estate. The upstairs portion of the house is still private for the Presley family. Because you control the speed of the tour, you are able to see as much as you want (Ellen) or as little (Ken) of each room, and can take as many pictures (Ken) as you wish.

The tour was very well done, carefully omitting the controversial portions (conflicts with Colonel Parker, divorce, drug aspects of his death) while focusing on his personality, possessions, and career. Everywhere possible, Elvis songs permeate the background, so you are quite immersed in the Elvis experience.

If you are ever in Memphis, I would label this a must see, although you must have a fair capacity to absorb all things Elvis, down to the details about the last car he drove and last instrument he played on the day he died. Here are 10 photos that give you a taste.