As a lifelong Elvis fan, a visit to Memphis, Tennessee has always been on my bucket list and I finally did it! And here’s why a weekend in Memphis should be on your list too!
If you follow me on instagram, you probably noticed I went on a dream trip a couple of weeks ago because I couldn’t stop posting about it!
I became an Elvis fan when I was around 10-11 years old and saw The Jordanaires perform at a classic car show venue. Between classic Elvis songs, they talked about the man they used to perform with and admired. I was always around classic music thanks to my family’s love of classic cars and car shows so I became an EP fan pretty naturally.
In fact, I became quite the fan – always doing little activities on the anniversary of his death date and birthday – one year even adopting a cat on one of the special days and naming him Elvis. So visiting Memphis and Graceland has always been on my dream bucket list. And while you’d think since I live in Tennessee, it would be an easy visit, but in fact I’m all the way across the state! A straight drive is about 500 miles [which is no easy feat] and why the trip hadn’t happened yet.
Once I married my husband I quickly found out that his mother was also a huge Elvis fan. Originally from the Philippines, my Mother-in-Law chose Tennessee as the state to come to in the US because of… yes, you guessed it, Elvis! He was as big of a star in the Philippines as he was in the States, apparently.
So while she chose Tennessee because of Elvis, and has actually visited Memphis a couple of times, had never been able to make it to Graceland. So this year my husband and I decided it was time and for Mother’s Day we gifted the trip surprise to both my Mother and Mother-in-Law [and me, of course]!
Before we began our trek across the great [wide] state of Tennessee, I spoke with the Memphis Visitor’s Bureau and received some great advice on places to check out during our weekend in Memphis, with a focus on The King, of course. With their help and advice, we had a great weekend in Memphis planned starting with our incredible hotel.
The Guest House at Graceland
Here’s the way I described staying at The Guest House at Graceland to family and friends… “You know how when you go to Disney and stay at a Disney hotel you’re like immersed into Disney and it’s Disney all the time?” Well, that’s how this hotel is with Elvis.
It’s Elvis all day and all night [love the live music in the lobby], but done SO tastefully, SO classy that even non-Elvis fans [WHAT?!] will LOVE this resort.
It was by far my favorite part of our visit to Memphis just because of the surroundings, the atmosphere, the incredibly helpful staff, and the food! I highly recommend staying at The Guest House at Graceland no matter how long your stay in Memphis is and be sure to visit 1 of the 3 restaurants on site, Delta’s Kitchen. We had an amazing dinner there, but I’ve also heard their breakfast buffet is wonderful.
And did I mention the complimentary Peanut Butter and Jelly table? Once Delta’s Kitchen closes at 10pm, the staff sets out a lovely spread of peanut butter and jelly [and bananas, of course] for guests. It’s such a fun little addition to the atmosphere and quite popular apparently – we stood in line for 20 minutes to partake just because it was FUN!
With 450 beautifully decorated rooms and suites overseen by Priscilla herself, this resort is as classic and beautiful as anything should be when bearing The King’s name. It’s a MUST see and stay.
Also one of the biggest perks of staying at the resort is the free shuttle, that runs every 30 minutes, to Graceland. Once you’re at the resort, there’s really no need to drive anymore!
If you’re an Elvis Enthusiast, you’re obviously going to visit Graceland and I don’t think there’s much I can say except… do it! I purchased the Elvis Experience Tour + Planes Tickets for each of us. While I’m sure the VIP led tour would have been even better, I felt like we could see it all and learn most through the iPad tour included with these tickets.
If I could give you one piece of advice for touring the home, go SLOW! I was so excited to see it all that I kind of rushed through faster than I wish I had and would have loved to go through again a little slower to take it all in again.
Elvis Presley’s Memphis
With the ticket we purchased, we also had access to the Elvis Presley’s Memphis Complex. This is a MUST. This is where you’ll see SO many great Elvis belongings – like the ’68 Special black leather outfit, which was the highlight of my day, his cars, and so much more. This is where you’ll spend the bulk of your day.
Between Graceland, touring the planes, and the complex we spent about 7 hours and could have easily stayed longer. There are 2 restaurants within the complex that serve great food so there’s no need to leave once you’re there. And be sure to visit all of the gift shops – I loved that they all had unique merchandise depending on which area they were located.
I couldn’t visit Memphis without heading to Beale Street. It’s iconic and one quick look at the amazing landscape makes it very obvious why. There’s so much rich musical history on this street – you can feel it in the air when you walk down the street.
While we drove to explore downtown and Beale Street, I did see a shuttle from The Guest House at Graceland so if you’re staying there, definitely check that out.
BB Kings Blues Club
While visiting Beale Street we couldn’t walk by BB Kings Blues Club without stepping in. I was so excited and thrilled when the Visitor’s Bureau invited the 3 of us for a complimentary dinner that night and we had amazing seats on the 2nd floor for the live music.
We enjoyed the iconic ribs, barbecue, and amazing sides on the menu. The atmosphere was amazing and a great way to experience downtown Memphis.
While we didn’t get the chance to visit Sun Records, I really wish we had because of the history of the amazing little studio in not only Memphis, but music history all around. If you’re spending the weekend in Memphis, don’t miss it!
Memphis Music Hall of Fame
Before our visit, I had no idea that so many musicians had their start in Memphis and even on Beale Street. I admit, I’ve visited Nashville a few more times than Memphis and just assumed it was the capital of music in Tennessee, but I was certainly set straight after a visit to the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.
Just across the street from BB Kings, this museum was a great introduction to Memphis artists and includes artifacts from Elvis, Johnny Cash, Justin Timerlake, and many more.
While a weekend in Memphis may seem like a lot of time, it really isn’t compared to all the amazing sights and places this beautiful Southern city has to offer. A few other notable locations that we would have loved to see this time, and plan to on our next visit to Memphis, are visiting the Gibson Guitar Factory, take a walk along the Mississippi River on the River Walk, and visiting Bass Pro Shops at The Pyramid.