He may have left the building, but not without leaving behind a legacy. Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock and Roll,” or more simply, “the King,” is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century.

Elvis was a pioneer of rockabilly, an upbeat fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. He landed on top of the charts, making him a leading figure of rock and roll. Forty-two years after his death, Elvis is still almost as relevant as he was during his prime, influencing today’s music fans and artists.

The year 2020 commemorates what would have been the King’s 85th birthday, and attractions across the Southeast are celebrating him in a special way.

Memphis, Tennessee

Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee
Graceland, Memphis, Tenn.
Credit: Courtesy of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

There’s no better place to explore and celebrate Elvis’ life, legacy and career than at his estate.

“Each year, Graceland honors the birthday of Elvis Presley with a multiday celebration,” said Christian Ross, public relations and marketing specialist at Graceland. “Our annual birthday celebration is always an unforgettable experience that attracts guests from all over world.

While plans for the King of Rock and Roll’s 85th birthday are still underway, visitors can expect to see more special guests and friends of Elvis, fan club celebrations, an exciting birthday bash, and the annual Elvis Birthday Proclamation Ceremony from city leaders.”

Inside the mansion, which doubles as a National Historic Landmark, groups can see the living room, Elvis’ parents’ bedroom, TV room, pool room, the kitchen, the famous Jungle Room, his father’s office, the Trophy Building and the Meditation Garden.

Groups can fully immerse themselves in Elvis’ life and career at the new Elvis Presley’s Memphis exhibit and entertainment complex as they experience his roots, influences and artistry through hundreds of artifacts, including gold and platinum records, jumpsuits and memorabilia.

“Also, fans visiting Graceland in 2019 and beyond can look forward to experiencing live shows and concerts as part of Graceland Live, a partnership between Graceland and Live Nation,” Ross said. “Our state-of-the-art Graceland Soundstage and the Graceland Guest House Theatre will host an amazing array of artists guaranteed to excite music lovers.”

Visitors can extend their stay in Memphis by checking in at The Guest House at Graceland, a 450-room AAA Four Diamond room resort hotel.

“Even though Elvis passed away 42 years ago, fans — young and old — say they can still feel his presence whenever they visit,” Ross said. “That’s what we’re trying to do with Graceland and Elvis Presley’s Memphis — preserve the King’s legacy for future generations.”


Tupelo, Mississippi

Elvis Presley Birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi
Elvis Presley Birthplace, Tupelo, Miss.
Credit: Tupelo CVB

It all began in the small, charming town of Tupelo, Mississippi, on Jan. 8, 1935. Elvis Presley was born in a two-room house built by his father, grandfather and uncle, and grew up in Tupelo before moving to Memphis at age 13.

“At the Elvis Presley Birthplace, groups can experience the beginning of Elvis’ story by visiting the humble home where he was born, a museum dedicated to his life and the original Assembly of God Church where he was deeply influenced by gospel music,” said Jennie Bradford Curlee, public relations/international sales director at the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Tupelo loves to celebrate its favorite native son.”

The commemoration of what would have been Elvis’ 85th birthday will kick off with a New Year’s Eve celebration featuring an Elvis-centric giveaway. Events will continue throughout the week leading up to Elvis’ birthday, including arts activities, an unveiling and a birthday party at the Elvis Presley Birthplace.

Groups can dig even deeper into Elvis’ life in Tupelo on the Elvis’ Tupelo Driving Tour or Elvis’ Tupelo Self-Guided Bicycle Tour that explores 13 places that influenced a young Elvis coming of age in Tupelo.

Major stops include Tupelo Hardware Company, where Elvis purchased his first guitar, and Johnnie’s Drive In, Tupelo’s oldest restaurant where Elvis loved to eat.

“Elvis continues to impact Tupelo as fans from around the world travel to this small, Southern town to experience his birthplace,” Bradford Curlee said. “Just like Elvis dreamed and rose to fame, in Tupelo, people still believe that anything is possible.”

Tupelo CVB