The musician Elvis Presley left an indelible mark on the Southern United States. He was born here, lived here, and wrote music that was heavily influenced by the area.
Fans of “The King” have no shortage of places they can visit to learn more about him and to honor his legacy, including where he spent his downtime and where he performed some of his most notable shows. There are also a number of fan-created museums that border on kitschy but are fun for the die-hard enthusiasts.
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Elvis Presley Birth Home, Tupelo, Mississippi
Start your Elvis journey where it all began at the Elvis Presley Birthplace. Visit the small town to see the two-room house where he spent his early years before the family moved to Memphis. You’ll see the inside decorated in much of the same way it was back then, thanks in part to father Vernon’s restoration efforts.
Also on site is a museum and a humble church that once sat a few blocks away when the family lived here. Visiting during Tupelo Elvis Festival is a unique experience, as you’ll see tribute artists perform here.
Lauderdale Courts, Memphis, Tennessee
After leaving Tupelo, the Presley family lived at Lauderdale Courts, an apartment complex now called Uptown Square, from 1949 to 1953. A teenaged Elvis kept to himself, playing his guitar in his room in apartment #328.
He learned from fellow musicians who lived at “The Courts” and from those playing on nearby Beale Street. They moved a few years later and the building fell into disrepair. Fans saved it from being demolished in the 1990s and it has become a sought-after place to live.
Sun Studio, Memphis, Tennessee
It was while living back in Memphis in 1953 that an eighteen-year-old Elvis showed up to Sam Phillips’ Sun Studios to record a song for his mother. Receptionist Marion Keisker recognized his talent and passed on his record to Phillips, who wasn’t originally interested.
It wasn’t until he heard a cover of a blues song that he recognized Presley’s talent. He went on to sign him and Presley jammed with what was nicknamed the “Million Dollar Quartet”: Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. Some of music’s biggest hits came from the recording studio, which can be visited on the Sun Studio Guided Tour.
Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee
Perhaps the most well-known place associated with Elvis, his home, which he called Graceland, has the most memorabilia and information on the late singer. The complex contains multiple buildings, each focusing on a different aspect of his life.
Inside the home, you’ll see the unique decorations he was known for, especially in the appropriately named “Jungle Room.” The garage features recording information and outer buildings showcase his famous cars and airplanes. For an even bigger fan experience, visit during Elvis Week and come by for the Candlelight Vigil, where you can pay your respects.
For more on Elvis-related landmarks around Memphis, see this story on The Guardian. Book your Elvis Presley’s Graceland Tour before you get to Memphis. If you can’t get enough Elvis, book your stay at the Guest House at Graceland.
Circle G Ranch, Horn Lake, Mississippi
While not quite an attraction like the previously listed landmarks, this Memphis-area property was where Elvis and Priscilla Presley spent their three-week honeymoon after getting married in 1967 in Las Vegas . Circle G Ranch, in suburban Horn Lake near Hernando, boasts over 200 acres of property.
Here, Elvis had the honeymoon cottage, pictured, along with stables and a lake and spent time with his closest family and friends. It’s currently under development to become a mixed-use facility for events but has not announced an opening date.
Municipal Auditorium, Shreveport, Louisiana
If you’ve ever wondered where the phrase “Elvis has left the building” comes from, visit the northern city of Shreveport, Louisiana. Shreveport Municipal Auditorium was the site of one of Elvis’s early performances and when he finished for the evening, promoter Horace Lee Logan uttered the famous words.
The Louisiana Hayride was a famous program that hosted acts like Presley, Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams at the theater. You’ll see a statue of the King outside of the venue, which still hosts musicians, comedians, and other live acts.
Other Notable Elvis Landmarks
- Levitt Shell– Located in Overton Park in Memphis, this open-air amphitheater was the site of Elvis’ first paid concert in 1954. It was originally constructed in 1936 as a Works Progress Administration project.
- 1034 Audubon Drive– Elvis and his parents lived at this ranch house in Memphis from March 1956 to March 1957 when they moved to Graceland, swapping homes with its owner. It is a private home but features a historical plaque. It’s one of many homes they lived in during their years in Memphis.
- Mini Graceland– Built by a man in Roanoke, Virginia, this scale model of Elvis’ home and birthplace has been a beloved roadside attraction since the 1980s. He has since passed away, but his family continues to restore the miniatures and perform upkeep.