Discover Elvis Presley's Los Angeles
Celebrate the legacy of the King at key locations in L.A.
Born on Jan. 8, 1935, Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the greatest cultural icons of the 20th century, known to millions of fans around the world as “the King of Rock and Roll,” or simply, “the King.” Elvis was a transformative music figure who fused country, rhythm and blues, and elements of pop and gospel into what became the foundation of rock and roll. His extraordinary stage presence broke barriers, set the standard for all who followed, and galvanized an entire generation of youth culture.
In terms of pure numbers, Elvis is unmatched - according to Guinness World Records, Elvis is the best-selling solo artist of all time, with 1 billion sales worldwide. In March 2022, the RIAA certified that Elvis has sold 146.5 million albums in the U.S. He’s inspired a legion of impersonators, and pretenders to his throne come and go. But Elvis Presley will always be the King.
Baz Luhrman's latest musical, Elvis stars Austin Butler in the title role and Tom Hanks as his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Elvis received eight Oscar nominations for the 95th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, and Best Costume Design.
With the spotlight once again on the King, Elvis fans can explore his legacy throughout L.A., from a historic recording studio to his favorite restaurants, hotels, and even a spiritual sanctuary near the Pacific Ocean. Read on and discover Elvis Presley’s Los Angeles.
GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE
Opened in December 2008 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the GRAMMY Awards, the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE is a 30,000 square-foot museum with interactive, permanent and traveling exhibits. Spanning four floors, more than two dozen exhibits explore the history of music, from rock and hip-hop to country, classical, Latin, R&B and jazz.
Elvis has been featured at the GRAMMY Museum in numerous exhibits, panels and screenings, such as "Elvis Presley: The Searcher," "The Music Behind Sun Records," "Elvis at the Movies" and Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer.
During his career, Elvis was nominated for 14 GRAMMY Awards. All three of his competitive GRAMMY Award wins were for gospel recordings: How Great Thou Art (1967), He Touched Me (1972) and his live performance of "How Great Thou Art" (1974). He was awarded the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36 in 1971.
The Studios at Paramount
Beginning with Love Me Tender in 1956, Elvis starred in 33 feature films, including two concert documentaries. Elvis made several films for Paramount Pictures, ranging from the drama of King Creole (his personal favorite) to lighthearted hits like Blue Hawaii. The Blue Hawaii soundtrack, which spent 20 consecutive weeks at Number One on the Billboard charts, was recorded at the legendary Radio Recorders studio in L.A. (see below).
The two-hour Paramount Pictures Studio Tour offers guests an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the Paramount legacy and iconic locations on the studio lot. The VIP Studio Tour is an in-depth, 4.5-hour insider’s experience that features even more Hollywood history and magic that’s unavailable to the general public. During the Halloween season, the 2.5-hour After Dark Tour takes visitors into hidden passageways, mysterious alleys, historic theaters and original film vaults.
Bob Baker Marionette Theater
In G.I. Blues (1960), Elvis plays an Army specialist stationed in Frankfurt, Germany with dreams of opening his own nightclub back in the states. During a stroll with local cabaret singer Lili (Juliet Prowse), they come upon a puppet show that's having technical issues. Elvis steps in and serenades a female puppet with "Wooden Heart," which became a #1 hit in the UK. The puppets were created and performed by Bob Baker - they were so realistic, Elvis was reportedly "freaked out" and had to go to his trailer.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater (BBMT) is LA's oldest children's theater company. Smithsonian Magazine notes that BBMT is the longest-running puppet theater in America. Designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2009, BBMT has entertained more than one million children with original shows ranging from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker to a musical journey through the history of Los Angeles.
An L.A. favorite since 1931, Canter’s Deli moved to its current location on Fairfax Avenue in 1953. The 24-hour deli is a veritable crossroads of pop culture, where everyone from Elvis to Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali, Led Zeppelin, Prince, Van Halen and many more have noshed. Legendary Tuesday night jam sessions in the deli’s bar, the Kibitz Room, have featured the likes of Slash, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rick James and Joni Mitchell.
To celebrate its 80th anniversary, The Formosa Cafe reopened in June 2019 after a stunning $2.4 million renovation by the 1933 Group, which has garnered widespread acclaim for its restoration work on high profile projects like Tail o' the Pup, Highland Park Bowl and Idle Hour.
Designated a local cultural resource by the City of West Hollywood, The Formosa Cafe was located just steps from the Pickford-Fairbanks Studios, which was founded in 1919 and later known as United Artists Studio, Samuel Goldwyn Studio, Warner Hollywood Studios, and currently The Lot since 1999. Legendary stars like Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, and James Dean would pop into The Formosa, adding to its reputation as one of Hollywood's most infamous and longest-running celebrity hangouts.
Longtime Formosa regulars will recognize design elements like the hundreds of black and white celebrity headshots that line the main bar area, and the glass case with Elvis porcelain figurines that were given to former chef and owner, Lem Quon by Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame features more than 2,500 terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalk along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street. The five-pointed stars honor the accomplishments of actors, musicians, directors, producers and others in the entertainment industry.
Elvis received his star at 6777 Hollywood Blvd. in the category of Recording on Feb. 8, 1960. The star was later moved to its current location next to The Beatles star under the infamous "Hollywood Goddess" gazebo at Hollywood and La Brea.
Petersen Automotive Museum
Elvis owned several exotic cars, including a yellow 1971 De Tomaso Pantera that he bought in 1974 for his girlfriend, Linda Thompson. According to one popular story, the couple got into an argument, and when Elvis wanted to leave, the car wouldn’t start. The exasperated King shot the Pantera three times, leaving two bullet holes in the steering wheel and one in the floor pan.
For car buffs, The Vault at the Petersen Automotive Museum is a bucket list experience - an extraordinary collection of 250+ iconic and rare cars from around the world exhibited in a 60,000 square-foot underground space. The Vault houses numerous celebrity-owned cars like Elvis's Pantera, Steve McQueen's 1956 Jaguar XKSS, and Clark Gable's 1941 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe.
Dodger Stadium has made numerous film appearances, from the first Naked Gun film to The Fast and the Furious, Transformers and Superman Returns. Elvis Presley visited Chavez Ravine on March 9-11, 1966 to film scenes for his 22nd movie, Spinout. The stadium’s parking lot stood in for the start and the finish line of the “Santa Fe Road Race.” Look closely and you’ll see the King drive past one of Dodger Stadium’s distinctive parking lot signs, an orange globe with baseball stitching.
In its prime, Radio Recorders was known as the best recording facility in Los Angeles. For decades, the famed studio at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Orange Drive welcomed music greats like Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Sam Cooke, Bobby Darin, Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, and many more. Elvis Presley recorded his second album, Elvis, at Radio Recorders on Sept. 1-3, 1956. These were the first of Presley's many sessions at Radio Recorders, which included classics like Jailhouse Rock and All Shook Up. The historic site - recognized by a "Radio Recorders" street sign - was most recently the home of the nonprofit LAXART visual art space.
The Knickerbocker Hotel
Located in the heart of Hollywood, The Knickerbocker Hotel was originally built in 1925 as a luxury apartment building. The Knickerbocker then became a hotel that catered to Tinseltown’s nascent film industry. Rudolf Valentino was a regular at the hotel bar, as were Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio - the legendary couple spent part of their honeymoon at The Knickerbocker. Elvis stayed in Room 1016 while shooting his first film, Love Me Tender. Today, The Knickerbocker Hotel is a senior home known as the Hollywood Knickerbocker Apartments.
After a seven-year absence from the stage, Elvis returned to live performance with the acclaimed '68 Comeback Special, which was taped at NBC Studios in Burbank in June 1968. First aired by NBC on Dec. 3, 1968, the special featured a sit-down section, stand-up numbers, and two musicals. The stripped down, informal sit-down session - with Elvis and his band performing while surrounded by fans - was a precursor to MTV Unplugged. The success of the special led to a four-week stint at the Las Vegas International Hotel and paved the way for numerous tours.
Following NBC's move to Universal City, the 35-acre production facility is now known as The Burbank Studios - a state-of-the-art, full service film, TV broadcast, and new media studio.
Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel
Built in 1928, the historic Beverly Wilshire is known to millions of movie fans as the hotel where Julia Roberts stayed in Pretty Woman. Located just steps from world-famous Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, the Beverly Wilshire has welcomed dignitaries such as President Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama and the Emperor of Japan. Dashiell Hammett reportedly wrote The Thin Man at the luxury hotel, and Warren Beatty lived in the penthouse for years.
In the late 1950s, Elvis stayed at the hotel while filming at Paramount Studios. During his separation from his wife Yoko Ono, John Lennon is said to have stayed at the Beverly Wilshire because he knew Elvis had lived there.
De Neve Square Park
Located on Beverly Glen Boulevard just north of Sunset Boulevard, De Neve Square Park is dedicated to Felipe de Neve, founder of the pueblo of Los Angeles and a Spanish governor of Las Californias. During the 1950s and '60s, Elvis organized regular touch football times while he was in L.A. making films. The unstaffed “pocket” park is open daily from dawn to dusk and features sycamore trees and English-style 1920s street lamps.
Tucked away in the Pacific Palisades a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean, the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is a lush, ten-acre site with gardens, a spring-fed lake, and a variety of flora and fauna. Founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1950, the Lake Shrine welcomes thousands of visitors each year to enjoy its scenic beauty and serenity. The Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial is a "wall-less temple" that features a thousand-year-old stone sarcophagus from China, which holds a portion of Gandhi's ashes in a brass and silver coffer. Elvis made frequent visits to the Lake Shrine and became close with Sri Daya Mata, the worldwide leader of the Self-Realization Fellowship for over 55 years.
Located in Inglewood a few miles east of LAX, The Forum was considered one of the premier event and sports venues in the country, home to the “Showtime”-era Lakers, the Kings led by Wayne Gretzky, and countless concerts.
Affectionately known by Angelenos as the “Fabulous” Forum, the arena hosted Elvis Presley on his second tour in 1970 - the two shows set a record for ticket sales. Elvis returned for two more sold-out shows on his tenth tour in 1974. Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page attended the evening performance of Presley’s second show.
Now called the Kia Forum, the venue is "Fabulous" once again following a multi-million dollar renovation with state-of-the-art technology and amenities, and continues to present world-class performers from a variety of genres.