Yes, it’s possible to visit Graceland, Elvis Presley’s mansion in Memphis, for free. Score! You can’t actually go inside the mansion, but you can stop by the Meditation Garden and view the graves of Elvis and his family up close.
For those without the cash or time to see the whole mansion, the garden is a great free option. Read on for the info….
When You Can Visit Graceland For Free
Every morning from 7:30-8:30 am, the gates open and visitors are welcome to walk up the drive to the Meditation Garden. The mansion is at 3764 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Outside the gates, you’ll see the historic marker dedicated to Elvis Aaron Presley.
Graceland, of course, is where the King of Rock N Roll lived. Elvis bought the 13.8-acre mansion in 1957 for just over $100,000. That was a massive sum at the time! But he could afford it thanks to his extensive track record of hits.
The brick wall around the property has been decorated with messages from thousands of Elvis fans over the years.
As you walk up to the Meditation Garden, you can get a good look at the mansion.
Fun fact: Graceland is the second-most visited house in the United States, behind only the White House. Cool!
NOTE: As of October 2020, the Graceland website says that morning access to the meditation garden is on hold due to the current health crisis. There is no word on when visitors will once again be allowed to visit Elvis Presley’s grave for free.
The Meditation Garden and Graves of Elvis and His Family
Then it’s onto the garden itself. I went on a Monday morning and found myself in the company of another 15-20 people, including some excited German tourists who threw a bunch of cameras my way and required me to take several photos of them.
The garden is a beautiful, peaceful setting, with flowers and a central fountain. You can visit the meditation garden at Graceland for free every morning of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Getting free admission for a walk-up visit is a great privilege, so be respectful of the grounds and your fellow tourists.
Elvis is buried with his mother, father, grandmother and stillborn twin brother.
Graceland Tours, Tickets, Hours, Parking
Elvis died in the bathroom of Graceland in 1977 of a heart attack. The property is now owned by his daughter Lisa Marie, who lived in the house for the first few years of her life.
As noted earlier, you can’t go inside the mansion unless you purchase tickets. And ticket prices have shot up dramatically in recent years. In 2011, you could get a basic ticket for $31, but the cheapest ticket as of 2020 is now $45.50. And that’s for something called the “Memphis & Planes Tour,” which doesn’t even include a tour of the mansion!
The cheapest Elvis mansion ticket is now a whopping $73 for adults and $42 for kids. That’s the Elvis Experience Tour, which includes a mansion tour and full access to the Elvis Entertainment Complex, which includes museums and a tour of his custom jets.
Some Graceland tours include access to the Presley Motors Automobile Museum, which is a collection of the King’s old cars. That includes his famous pink Cadillac! Plus his Rolls Royce, his Mercedes Benz limo, and more.
These massive prices explain why so many people are interested in just visiting the meditation garden at Graceland for free without paying for the full mansion visit. VIP mansion tours range from $112-184. The most expensive tour includes access to “VIP exhibits” and random perks like a free meal and an “exclusive photo opportunity.” That really doesn’t sound like anything work paying extra for, to be honest. Find tix here.
If you want to fully immerse yourself into the Elvis experience, you can stay right at The Guest House at Graceland. You won’t be staying inside the mansion itself, but you’ll be just steps away, on an upscale hotel property operated by the folks who run Graceland.
Graceland hours vary by season, but as of this writing, it’s generally open 9 am to 4 pm most days, with extended hours to 5 pm on certain popular dates. The mansion is closed to visitors on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The museums don’t open until 10 am.
You can often find special events at Graceland, such as his annual birthday celebration, which often runs for several days. It’s January 7-10 next year (his actual birthday is January 8.) So keep your eyes peeled for special programs that Graceland advertises from time to time.
Graceland does have a secured visitor parking lot. For GPS purposes, the parking lot address is slightly different: 3717 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis TN. At last check, the cost for parking on-site was reportedly $10. When I visited, I found free street parking in the neighborhood and walked over, so that’s always an option.
Many people often wonder if you can drive by Graceland or see it from the road. You can, but it’s hidden behind the gate, and it sits back from the road a bit, so you won’t see much just from driving by. You’re better off parking and walking over the front gate. That way you can at least get a pic of the front gate, the historic marker, and a view of the mansion from a distance.
For a look at what you might find inside the mansion, give a read to my friend Deena’s post about visiting Graceland on Elvis Presley’s 76th birthday celebration.