- North America,
- United States
50th Birthday celebration for Elvis lover. Graceland Grand ole Opre Family is going Senior Citizens Teens over 40
The Grand Ole Opry, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee 37214
Tel: 800 733 6779, Tel: 615 871 6779
For country artists, being invited to perform on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry is akin to being knighted. The rest of us can revel in their glory at two-hour performances three nights a week. Most weeks the two-hour show is held at the "new" (as of 1974) Opry building in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel complex, about ten miles from downtown. From November through January shows are held in the Ryman Auditorium, the Opry's more famous home (it's an annual move, born of sheer nostalgia for the Opry's grand old days). Photography is allowed—even encouraged!—during shows; feel free to leave your seat to get the best angle of Little Jimmy Dickens, "Whispering" Bill Anderson, Loretta Lynn, or any of the other living legends that still drop by from time to time. The backstage tour after the show is well worth the it if only to see the late Porter Wagoner's luxurious dressing room. Tickets for the tour and for shows are available online or at the box office.
Shows: Tuesdays, 7 pm; Fridays, 8 pm; and Saturdays, 7 and 9:30 pm.
See + Do
Tel: 901 332 3322
While a few cynics dismiss rock 'n' roll's Xanadu as a tourist trap, Graceland (designated a national historic landmark in 2006) remains the predominant reason to visit the region for anyone with an interest in Elvis or Memphis's musical heritage. In the spring of 1957, at the age of 22, the King spent $100,000 on this house, part of a 500-acre farm named Graceland. He lived here until his untimely death in 1977 and is buried, along with his closest relatives, by the swimming pool out back. His widow, Priscilla Presley, opened Graceland to tours in 1982, and now millions come to celebrate the majesty of the King. Elvis commissioned a redecoration in 1974, and much of that look remains intact. With a 15-foot couch, avocado- and gold-colored kitchen appliances, a fake waterfall, and the green shag-carpet ceiling of the "jungle room," the home exudes fun, loud 1970s style. Tours of the mansion start at the visitors' plaza across the street, where tickets are sold and souvenir shops and cafés serve the masses. On busier days the staff will assign your tour time, or you can book ahead. The recording that accompanies the one-and-a-half-hour mansion tour includes a narration by Priscilla and sound bites from Elvis himself. If that doesn't entirely satisfy your curiosity, dig deeper into the mystique by viewing additional memorabilia in the "Sincerely Elvis" collection, such as 56 of the King's stage costumes, or touring his too-cool car museum and private, decked-out jet, the Lisa Marie. For a one-of-a-kind experience, join the thousands of visitors to whom Graceland plays host during mid-August's annual Elvis Week (a.k.a. Death Week), which culminates in a candlelight vigil; or check out Paul McLeod's estimable collection of memorabilia at Graceland Too.
Closed Tuesdays from December to February.
Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee 38116
Tel: 877 777 0606, Tel: 901 332 1000
If you cruised into Memphis clad in a gold-belted white jumpsuit, hankerin' for a fried peanut butter-and-banana sandwich, you'll probably feel right at home at the Heartbreak Hotel. It's easy to be first in line for a tour of the King's mansion with this location—which is, in fact, "down at the end of Lonely Street," directly across from Graceland on Elvis Presley Boulevard. The 124 guest rooms are decked out in flashy royal blue and gold fabrics with black-and-white photos of Elvis on the walls, while the four themed suites are an exercise in excess, each styled after an important aspect of the Elvis mystique—Graceland, Hollywood, Gold and Platinum, and Burning Love. If that's not enough, flip to the in-house television channel that screens "all Elvis movies, all the time" or take a dip in the heart-shaped outdoor pool. If ever a hotel was fit for the King, this is it. "And although it's always crowded, you still can find some room…"