To celebrate Elvis Presley's birthday on January 8, there are many places around the United States where you can honor the King. Here are my picks for the Top 5 tourist attractions relating to Elvis Presley:
5) Elvis Presley Statue, Honolulu, Hawaii
Elvis Presley has a significant link to Hawaii. During the 1960s, he filmed three movies there including "Blue Hawaii," "Girls! Girls! Girls!" and "Paradise, Hawaiian Style." He vacationed in Hawaii often and he performed three concerts there.
The most prominent was the 1973 "Aloha from Hawaii" concert. This made history as the first concert broadcast by satellite. It reached over a billion viewers.
To commemorate this achievement, a life-size statue of Elvis circa 1973 was unveiled in 2007 in front of the Neal Blaisdell Center where the concert was held. The statue was a gift from TV Land in tribute of the 30th anniversary of Presley's death.
4) Elvis' Honeymoon house, Palm Springs, California
The house at 1350 Ladera Circle in Palm Springs is known as Elvis' Honeymoon house. In September 1966, Elvis leased the house for one year for $21,000. This rental was suggested by Colonel Parker who also had a house nearby in Palm Springs.
Elvis and Priscilla spent their honeymoon night here on May 1, 1967. Originally, the couple had planned to get married at the house outside by the pool, but had to change their plans once it got leaked to the press. Instead, Elvis and Priscilla flew to Las Vegas the morning of May 1 and got married at the Aladdin Hotel. After a small reception, the couple flew back to Palm Springs to spend their honeymoon night.
Apart from their honeymoon, it is not known how many nights Elvis and Priscilla spent here during the year the house was rented. A few years later, Elvis purchased his own home in Palm Springs on Chino Canyon Road and spent a great amount of time there after his divorce from Priscilla.
The Honeymoon house is also recognized for its architectural value as an example of mid-century modernism. Tours of the Honeymoon house are available daily by appointment only. Visit http://www.elvishoneymoon.com/ for more information.
3) Elvis Presley statue, Las Vegas, Nevada
Another place Elvis spent a great amount of time was, of course, Las Vegas. Following his movie years and his legendary 1968 "Comeback" special, Presley returned to live performance at Las Vegas' International Hotel in 1969. At the International Hotel (which became the Hilton in 1971 and the LVH - Las Vegas Hotel in 2012), Elvis performed to sold-out crowds in the intimate 2,000 seat Showroom theater, and kept breaking attendance records in subsequent years. Elvis would perform two months each year for the next seven years performing two shows a night. He became the biggest draw in Vegas at the time, with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin ranking a distant second behind him.
To commemorate Elvis' record-breaking run at the Las Vegas Hilton, in September 1978, a life-size statue of Elvis was unveiled at the hotel by Barron Hilton with Priscilla Presley and Vernon Presley in attendance. The statue now sits outside the entrance to the hotel.
2) Elvis Presley's birthplace, Tupelo, Mississippi
Only 90 minutes from Graceland and Memphis is the birthplace of Elvis Presley in Tupelo, Mississippi. The original two-room shack where Elvis Presley was born has been preserved and restored, and is now a museum where fans can come and walk through the two-room house. (See photos)
Taking a cue from Graceland, the restored shack is just one part of the attraction at the Elvis Presley Birthplace complex at 306 Elvis Presley Drive in Tupelo, Mississippi. The original house was designated a state historical site back in 1978, and since then the Elvis Presley Memorial Chapel was built on the grounds in 1979, and an Elvis Presley Museum was added in 1992.
1) Elvis Presley's home Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee
Of course, the most popular Elvis attraction in the world is Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley from 1957 until his death in 1977. Graceland is one of the most visited private homes in the United States. Graceland receives 600,000 visitors each year, compared to The White House and The Biltmore Estate which both receive approximately 900,000 visitors per year. In the summer of 2012, Graceland received their 18 millionth visitor.
When you visit Graceland, you're not just seeing the house. Across the street is the huge Graceland Plaza complex filled with a plethora of Elvis shops, restaurants, and additional museum exhibits. Elvis' plane, The Lisa Marie, is on display as well as many of Elvis' cars at the Elvis Presley car museum.
In 1991, Elvis Presley's Graceland was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2006, Graceland was declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.
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