Purchase tickets in advance of visiting Graceland, as entrance to the property is timed and slots fill up quickly. The Arcade restaurant takes online reservations on a limited basis.
Explore famous Beale Street during the afternoon, as it will become quite “the party scene” in the evening.
Children under age 6 are free at Graceland. Sun Studios offers complimentary admission for children age 5-11.
About This Day
Looking to explore the musical heritage that makes Memphis so unique? Look no further! This itinerary is filled with fun things to do in Memphis for kids of all ages. Start your day by ordering fried peanut butter and banana sandwich at Elvis’ favorite café, then head over Graceland, the Presley family home. Follow the blues trail, learn about the history of Memphis, and see how one small town helped shape the future of music. From over-the-top room décor to Elvis’ massive onstage jumpsuit collection, this place will not disappoint. Finally, put on your blue suede shoes and walk to Beale Street, where the music still lives.
Arcade Restaurant is the oldest cafe in the city and has occupied the same corner since 1919. It has been featured in countless shows and movies, but Arcade is best known for its famous patron - a musician named Elvis. He visited frequently and sat in the same booth in the back of the restaurant, ordering a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. Today, the famous Elvis booth remains unchanged in the restaurant, except for being commemorated with pictures of the musician and a plaque. It is one of the hottest seats in the city - Elvis fans continue to line up daily to have lunch where the King of Rock and roll once sat.
DIRECTIONS The Arcade Restaurant is located on Main Street, about 10 blocks from downtown Memphis/Beale Street.
TIP We did not have a reservation and had to wait 45 minutes for a table. Reservations can be made in advance - however, are disabled on Saturday and Sunday mornings until after 12:15 p.m. They also do not accept lunch reservations Monday - Friday between 11:30 - 12:30. While strollers are allowed, they are not recommended - the restaurant is quite tight (and busy) inside.
Graceland, the name given to Elvis Presley's mansion and the surrounding property, is a National Historic Landmark that celebrates his life. Beautifully and interestingly displayed, it is a great way to learn more about the King. Our nugget loved the over-the-top room décor, and touring the airplanes. I loved touring the (massive!) jumpsuit collection that Elvis wore on stage. A visit to Graceland includes a very short bus ride from the Elvis Experience across the street to the mansion, with a tour of his house, gardens and grounds. The tour includes a virtual tour with a headset and iPad.
DIRECTIONS Graceland is a 9-mile drive from downtown Memphis.
TIP Strollers are allowed throughout the Elvis Experience exhibits but are not allowed inside the mansion (there are many steps with no elevator access). There are two food options within the visitor center, offering a range of fast food items and ample seating. Gift shops are large with nearly every imaginable item possible.
Among the most iconic features of Graceland are the gates and wall surrounding it. Fans would often line up behind these gates in hope of catching the world's most famous entertainer leave or enter his estate. The gates still stand and protect Graceland today. Fans continue to snap selfies in front of the gates, and their famous metalwork design of the King. The brick wall next to the gates has become a memorial, with visitors from all over the world leaving messages to the king. Graffiti is welcome.
DIRECTIONS The Gates of Graceland are the famous gates/wall that surrounds the Graceland property. Note that the gates are not part of the Graceland Tour and need to be visited separately.
TIP This is a separate (free!) attraction that you can drive (or walk) to - but note that it is next to a very busy street with many cars just feet from the gate and wall. Take caution with children. Be sure to bring a marker, paint or another writing tool to leave your message.
Founded in 1950, this little studio became the soul of Memphis sound. Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King and Elvis all recorded at Sun Studios. Today, it remains a functioning studio, with many modern musicians recording there. Tours are offered daily - allowing fans to see where these legendary musicians recorded their music. An original microphone used by these famous recorders still stands - allowing tour-goers to stand next to it and recreate their own musical photo ops, which is a definite highlight of the tour.
DIRECTIONS Sun Studio is located in downtown Memphis and approximately 7 miles from Graceland.
TIP Children age 5-11 are free, children under the age of 5 are not recommended for the tour. Strollers are not allowed.
Beale Street is a must during any Memphis visit. Be sure to look down at the Brass Note Walk of Fame, where brass plaques embedded in the sidewalk mimic the famous Star Walk of Fame as seen in L.A. These notes, which recognize local music heritage, are engraved with names from B.B. King to lesser-known stars.
DIRECTIONS Beale Street is less than a mile from Sun Studios and walkable.