A couple of years ago, my husband Charles and I were sitting around the house trying to think of something unique we could do that weekend with our son, Jack (who was about eighteen months old and very much into trains). Charles, who worked in Uptown at the time, suggested the M-Line Trolley – he saw it roll by his office every day – yet, we had never been for a ride.
It was summertime, which meant it was hot out (wait, this is Texas…that meant it was REALLY HOT OUT), and the idea of sitting in a little trolley car with a toddler didn’t appeal to me…but, for lack of anything better going on at the time, I agreed to give it a try.
My first surprise was that the trolleys are FREE to ride. My second surprise was that the trolley cars are all AIR CONDITIONED! Woohoo! And it turned out my fears about a cranky toddler were unwarranted – Jack was perched on his knees, his nose pressed to the window, oohing and aahing at the cars on the road and the big work trucks we passed as the trolley ambled past more than one construction site (and what kid isn’t fascinated by a construction site with cement trucks and cranes and all of that fun stuff?).
We recently returned to the M-Line trolley for another successful adventure. Jack is a bit older – his attention span is longer and he’s interested in every. single. aspect. of trolley riding. We were unable to answer many of his questions (“How does it go?” “Who made it?” “What building is that?” etc. etc.) but the friendly trolley-driver was a wealth of information.
There is a stop right out front of the Starbucks on McKinney (and what fun is a trolley ride without a little caffeine?). This is where we started our ride, although you could jump on at any of the many trolley stops. From here, the ride takes you through Uptown (and there’s so much more to see than you realize when you’re driving through), across Woodall Rogers and into downtown – which is where the ride ends (but if you don’t want to get off, stay put – you just turn your seats around – literally – and the trolley heads back the way it came!).
We got off at the last stop and walked around downtown. The Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center (which has many exhibits outside – the perfect place for a restless toddler to get some exercise while you admire the art) are an easy walk away (bring your stroller or baby carrier if you have a little one!). And of course, you’re in downtown Dallas – so you have lots of places to choose from should you decide to get some lunch. The last time we went, we ended up just walking around and enjoying the sights a big city has to offer (mainly, skyscrapers and construction – sure favorites with our three-year-old!).
When you’re done seeing the sights, hop on the trolley and head back to Uptown (if you haven’t already eaten, and have a pizza-loving child with you, may I recommend Grimaldi’s – yummy!).
Before you go, be sure to check out the map (so you’ll know where to get on and off) and the schedule (so you can be sure to plan your trip for a time when the trolley is running). If you’re like me, and kind of freak about the unknown, you can even learn about *how* to ride the trolley here (mostly, how to signal when you want to stop and helpful little tidbits like that – but I didn’t read the Trolley Riding Instructions prior to our trips and we managed just fine).
Oh! And don’t forget your camera…kids and trolleys make for some great photo ops!