Elvis Presley's Memphis | Alex Shansky

Ultimate Elvis Presley Bucket List

Grab your blue suede shoes and get ready for a rockin’ week in Memphis. Experience all things Elvis all over the city of Memphis with these must-see attractions and hidden gems to make your celebration of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll™ an unforgettable experience for the whole family.

Elvis Presley's Memphis | Andrea Zucker

7 Must-Sees for the Ultimate Elvis Fan

Elvis Presley, with his unique voice, signature dance style and quirky curled up lip, burst through television sets and juke boxes in the mid-1950s. He didn’t just show up out of nowhere. He came from Memphis.

In Memphis, the spirit of Elvis Presley lives on. Many landmarks of Elvis’ Memphis have been lovingly preserved by his eternal fans. If you claim to be the ultimate Elvis fan, here are seven attractions and off-the-beaten-path places you won't want to miss. 

Press the right arrow (>) above to get started. 

singing in a microphone

See Where Elvis Recorded

In 1954, an unknown Elvis Presley, grabbed a mic and sang his heart out making Sun the most famous recording studio in the world. Take a guided tour through the birthplace of rock 'n' roll where you will experience outtakes from recording sessions, touch Elvis' first microphone and hear the real story of the studio that launched the careers of not only Elvis Presley, but Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, B.B. King, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, and many others that signed with the Sun label.

Tip: The Sun Studio Shuttle picks up and drops off hourly from the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, Graceland, Sun Studio and Heartbreak Hotel, and runs 7 days a week. The shuttle is free. 

Lansky Bros Sign

Dress Like the King at Lansky Bros.

In 1946, with a $125 investment from their father, Bernard and Guy Lansky founded Lansky Brothers. What started as an Army surplus store among the bars and clubs on Beale Street, quickly changed course to sell trendy clothes to the local youth and musicians. The bright, vivid and silky fabrics at Lansky Brothers contradicted the well-defined and traditional styles popular with many in the South at the time.

While Bernard Lansky was initially poked fun at for establishing such an in vogue store on Beale, he quickly proved his foresight in doing so. 

Bernard recalls looking up one day and seeing a young man looking at his windows. He walked up to greet him and told him “Come on in and let me show you around.” The young man said “I don’t have any money, Mr. Lansky, but when I get rich, I’m going to buy you out.” Bernard told him, “Don’t buy me out, just buy from me!”

Presley bought his high school prom outfit from the store. Lansky also outfitted Elvis for his performances on the Ed Sullivan Show (plaid sport coat and pegged pants) and the Dorsey Brothers Show. Bernard was the man who dressed Elvis in the pink/black combination, which defined the cool colors of the ’50s era. 

Lauderdale Courts Memphis

Stay the Night in Elvis' Apartment

Elvis and his parents, Gladys and Vernon, lived in Lauderdale Courts (now Uptown Square) from September 1949 to January 1953. It was from here that Elvis would practice his guitar in the basement laundry room and would also meet and play with other musicians who lived nearby. Elvis would walk to Beale Street and gain inspiration from blues artists. You could find him listening to records at Pop Tunes around the corner.

Today, you can tour (and spend the night in) Elvis' old digs – apartment 328 – which has been decorated to reflect the life and times of the Presley’s in the early 1950s. The Elvis Suite at Lauderdale Courts is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

 

graceland

Graceland, Home of Elvis Presley

No trip to Memphis would be complete without a tour of Graceland. Purchased in 1957 for $102,000, Graceland was home to Elvis until his death in 1977. It is one of the most visited homes in the United States. 

Graceland offers a one-of-a-kind journey through Elvis’ humble beginnings and rise to superstardom with up close and personal looks at the influence that forever changed our music and our lives. Discover the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll experience through videos, photos, personal mementos and artifacts, movie memorabilia, stage costumes and much more. 

Memphis backbeat tours bus

Hound Dog Tour with Backbeat

If you really love Elvis, don’t miss the special Elvis Week Hound Dog Tour, a musical extravaganza exploring the places that Elvis lived, worked, and played.

Backbeat Tours takes a one-of-a-kind approach to sharing Elvis's legacy in a high-energy concert and sightseeing tour all rolled into one. This 90-minute tour also offers an optional guided tour of the Presley apartment at Lauderdale Courts, where a teenage Elvis lived with his family. (If you choose to visit Lauderdale Courts, the tour will last about 2.5 hours.) 

On the Hound Dog Tour you'll see Elvis' high school, Chisca Hotel, home of WHBQ radio station, Overton Park Shell, the amphitheater where he performed his first big show in 1954, Homes of Elvis' girlfriends and much more. Go here to find out more or to book your tour

The Arcade Restaurant

Sit in Elvis' Booth at the Arcade Restaurant

When you go to the Arcade for breakfast, try to get a seat at the Elvis booth towards the back of the restaurant (it was apparently his favourite). Even if you can't get the coveted seat, you can still chow down on the restaurant's fantastic sweet potato pancakes and other classic southern breakfast treats. The Arcade is one of the oldest restaurants in Memphis and the classic retro decor hasn't changed in years. 

60 Years of Rock 'n' Roll event at the Levitt Shell. Photo Credit: Andrea Zucker

Elvis' First Concert at Levitt Shell

Elvis sang at Overton Shell (now Levitt Shell) several times. First in July 1954 and according to Scotty Moore, Elvis was so nervous he stood up on the balls of his feet and shook his leg in time with the music, a move he sometimes used in the studio. To his shock and horror the young girls in the audience went crazy, yelling and applauding. Scotty said, "We didn't know what was going on when all those people started screaming and hollering." He later appeared on August 5 and the Shell was jammed with an overflow crowd having several hundred turned away. While in Memphis, try to catch one of the 50 free concerts performed at the Shell yearly

1 of 8

Graceland and Elvis Presley's Memphis

Graceland Mansion

It’s the most famous rock ‘n’ roll residence in the world, so it’s a must-see during your visit to Memphis. An interactive iPad tour will guide you through Elvis' home, which has preserved his eccentric décor throughout. See touching home videos of Elvis with his daughter Lisa Marie. Don’t forget to check out the newly restored racquetball building while you’re there. 
Plan Your Visit To Graceland

Elvis Presley's Memphis

This new multi-million-dollar entertainment and exhibit complex is located across the street from the Graceland Mansion. Step back in time as you experience the nostalgic Memphis that helped birth the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll™. With an assortment of museums to honor his legacy, wardrobe and impressive plane collection, restaurants, shops and fun photo opportunities, Elvis Presley’s Memphis is a one-of-a-kind experience for every Elvis fan. 
Visit Elvis Presley's Memphis 

Guest House at Graceland

Located just a few steps from Graceland, this AAA Four-Diamond resort reflects Elvis’ signature swagger (Priscilla Presley herself oversaw design aspects). With restaurants and a new soundstage booking headlining concerts, The Guest House is becoming a destination in and of itself.
Book your room. 

Meditation Garden

Elvis and his loved ones are interred on the grounds of the Graceland amongst beautiful landscaping and peaceful sculptures. Plus, guests who arrive early and leave before the first tour begins are allowed free access to pay your respects to Elvis and his family in the Meditation Garden. 
Visit The Meditation Garden

Gates of Graceland

Not only are the welcoming Gates of Graceland a fantastic photo opportunity year-round; they also serve as the center of the annual Candlelight Vigil that unites thousands of fans during Elvis Week held in August. The Gates are also the starting and finishing line for the annual Elvis 5k Run, benefiting Livitup, Inc. Read the love notes from fans written on the wall or leave your own message.
Start planning for Elvis Week

Celebrate the holidays

Christmas was always a very special time of year for Elvis. So what better way to get into the spirit than by joining in the festivities at Graceland? The mansion will be decorated with a special lighting ceremony in November, which includes a very special visit from Santa. Enjoy all the traditional decorations including a life-size Nativity scene through Elvis' birthday on January 6. This year at Elvis Presley's Memphis will also host the first Christmas with Elvis at Graceland. Get your tickets and enjoy a live orchestra presenting all of Elvis’ biggest Christmas hits. 
Christmas at Graceland 

Elvis Birthday Celebration

Fans from all over the world with gather on the mansion lawn to sing happy birthday to Elvis and will feature special events and guests, as well as the annual Elvis Birthday Proclamation Ceremony. Events will take place January 6-8. 
Get a slice of birthday cake

Presley Motors | Andrea Zucker

Tour Elvis' classic car collection at Presley Motors. | Andrea Zucker

Elvis' Old Stomping Grounds

Arcade Restaurant

The Arcade is not only the oldest diner in Memphis, it has been a local favorite for years. Elvis loved the Arcade and regularly ordered their fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. In his honor, there is an Elvis booth located in the back and is decorated with pictures of the King of Rock 'n' Roll™. Take a seat, order the sandwich, take a selfie. You'll be glad you did.
Enjoy a Meal at the Arcade

Lansky's

Shop with the Clothier to the King® at Lansky Brothers. The family-owned retailer, established by the late Bernard Lansky, helped develop Elvis Presley’s signature style when as a teenager, Elvis Presley shopped at their original location at 126 Beale Street. Today, a historical marker identifies the site of the original store on Beale, but you can still shop for dapper and impressive Elvis-inspired suits and 1950s-style clothing at their store located inside the Peabody Memphis hotel.
Shop at Lanksy Brothers

Coletta’s Italian Restaurant

This charming restaurant claims to have introduced pizza to Memphis when they added it to their menu in the 1950s. They also claim to be home to Elvis Presley’s favorite pizza: BBQ pizza, the most Memphis pizza on the planet. Dine in the Elvis Room amongst pictures and memorabilia to commemorate the many times when Elvis and his entourage would take over their own private room at Coletta’s. 
Dine at Coletta's

Circuit Playhouse

This Midtown Memphis playhouse, one of several stages for local repertory theatre Playhouse on the Square in the Overton Square Entertainment District, was once a movie theater. Elvis was known to rent it out overnight for private screenings with friends. You can catch a play or musical here almost anytime, but annually during Elvis Week, the theater guides Elvis-themed tours.
See what's happening this season

Audubon Drive

After his first #1 hit, “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956, Elvis purchased a home for his family in leafy East Memphis. The home is currently a private residence. Book a tour with Rockabilly Rides to drive by in style — these Elvis-themed tours are guided by local musicians in classic convertibles.
Get the Rockabilly Fan Guide

Lauderdale Courts

Between 1949 and 1953, Elvis lived at this housing project with his parents. He’s said to have practiced guitar in the laundry room. Tour or even stay overnight in The Elvis Suite, restored to reflect the period during which the Presleys lived onsite. 
Find out more.

Lansky Brothers | Raphael Tenschert

Dress like the king by visiting Lansky Bros. | Raphael Tenschert

Local Museums, Tours and Attractions Honoring The King

Sun Studio

Visit the recording studio that started it all. In 1954, a young Elvis Presley walked into Sun Studio and recorded "That's All Right" and changed the way the world would listen to music. Sun Studio also recorded some of the biggest names in the business including Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and continues to record rising and celebrated artists today.
Hold Elvis' Mic At Sun Studio

Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum

Curated by the Smithsonian Institution, this exhibit tells the story of the birth of rock and soul music and the pioneers who shook the world by rejecting boundaries and pushing past barriers to create that unique Memphis sound. See original Elvis Presley costumes and memorabilia in this interactive museum.
Visit the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum

Elvis Statue on Beale Street

Explore over two dozen restaurants and bars on Beale where you will hear live music from bands inspired by Elvis Presley. During your walk "10 feet off of Beale," look down and note the 150+ brass music notes embedded into the cobblestone. When you find Elvis Presley’s marker, take a selfie and tag #MemphisTravel to let the world know you were here!
Find Elvis' Music Note On Beale 

Peabody Duck Walk of Fame

Not only does the Peabody Hotel showcase their world-famous ducks, it has also found a way to honor Memphians for their contributions to the city by means of a Peabody Duck Walk of Fame. Brass markers (in the shape of a duck's foot) dot the sidewalks along Union Avenue and Second Street. Think Hollywood Walk of Fame - only Memphis-style. We're sure there's one name you will be very familiar with: Elvis Presley.
See The Duck March & Walk Of Fame

Memphis Music Hall of Fame

Elvis Presley is included in five Halls of Fame: Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rockabilly, Country, Gospel and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. Celebrated for his ability to successfully blend different genres, appeal to a wide audience, sell millions of records around the globe and give back to the city he called home. Elvis' tribute in the Memphis Music Hall of Fame is a beautiful one that succinctly captures what made him such a legendary artist. 
Visit The Memphis Music Hall of Fame

American Dream Safari

Although can only view Elvis Presley’s iconic pink Cadillac at the automobile museum in Elvis Presley's Memphis, American Dream Safari gives you the best seat in the house in their 1955 cad-dy. This tour introduces you to the city's best juke joints and blues clubs while giving you the backstories of Elvis, Memphis and the music scene.
Go on the American Dream Safari

Levitt Shell

After Elvis toured the Beale street club scene as a rising star, it was the Levitt Shell, an open-air amphitheater, that gave him his first paid gig when he opened for headliner Slim Whitman. Since then, the Shell has hosted local, regional and international soul, folk, rock, funk and country talent on its stage. Every spring, summer and fall, they host a total of 50 free concerts in the park. Visiting during the off-season? Still stop by for a great photo in front of the majestic stage.  
Visit the Levitt Shell

25 Cent Elvis Impersonator Shrine

Looking for kitschy Elvis fun? Check out the Goner Records Elvis Impersonator Shrine. The hid-den gem offers a glimpse at little figurines dressed as Elvis and performing an Elvis classic. You’ll have to see it to understand it, but you definitely won’t regret this unique tribute to Elvis.    
Visit Goner Records

Sun Studio | David Meany

Snap a photo behind the mic that Elvis used at Sun Studio. | David Meany