M-LINE TROLLEY FAQ’S
The M-Line Trolley is a series of public trolley cars that take guests from the West Village Shopping Center, through Uptown, around Klyde Warren Park, past the Dallas Museum of Art and back. Riding the trolley is free (what?!), but they ask for donations of a few dollars every time you ride. I usually just stuff whatever spare change or cash I have on hand into the donation jar, whether it’s a measly eight cents or a lofty five dollar bill.
On weekdays the trolley runs from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. It runs until midnight on Fridays, and like the best of us, doesn’t get up and going until 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. You can catch a trolley at any M-line sign (picture below) along the route, and trolleys come around every 20-30 minutes. This link has a very helpful schedule and route map!
Parking — The thing most likely to scare me away from having a big-city adventure. You can drive along the trolley route looking for free street parking, because there is some, but spots are very limited (and I’m willing to bet you, like me, are not a fan of parallel parking). There are also cheap parking meters near the art museum but again, those are picked over, and you may want to save your change for the trolley donation box. I’ll tell you your two best bets for parking! You’re welcome.
- There’s a free parking garage in Uptown (yes, I used the word free again! This time there’s no donation catch). There are over 400 parking spaces here in the West Village (3699 McKinney Avenue). They do fill up, but your chances here are pretty high.
- Imperial Parking underneath Shake Shack on McKinney (300 Crescent Court #G1). This garage is $3 per hour, but nearby restaurants will validate parking if you are parked for less than three hours. Some of the validating restaurants are Sixty Vines, Capital Grille, Moxie’s Grill & Bar, and Shake Shack (although Shake Shack only validates for two hours). I can personally attest that Shake Shake is a great family friendly option. That doesn’t mean the other restaurants don’t have kids menus….I just haven’t taken my family there yet!
FUN STOPS ALONG THE TROLLEY ROUTE
Each operating Trolley Car has a story, and you can read each unique story inside the cars. Some cars are basically ancient and have travelled all over the country before coming back to Dallas! As you may have figured, some of my favorite stops along the trolley route are the West Village Shopping Center and Shake Shack. There are literally dozens (if not 100+) restaurants to choose from along the trolley route, so eat up! You can also take the trolley to the Dallas Museum of Art. It sounds fancy (because it is), but I’m including it here in the “family friendly” post, because the DMA does have a super fun kids room! Looking for more fun stops along the trolley route? Check out this list from the Dallas Observer. Also, if you want to come back and ride the trolley without kiddos, Thrillist has put together a fun Uptown trolley bar map!
If you haven’t eaten before this stop, hit up a food truck! If you have eaten, go get an ice cream sandwich for dessert, then send your kids through the fountains to wash off the stickiness. (Or don’t, and leave me as the only mom who uses splash pads as public showers). Whether you take my “shower your kids in a public fountain” advice or not, I hope you found something useful to you in this guide. I’ll leave a few more tips below!
TIPS FOR YOUR M-LINE TROLLEY RIDE
- BRING THE RIGHT STROLLER — You’ll probably want to bring one so that you can explore and walk along busy streets without fear, but the trolleys are not handicap accessible. Make sure if you do bring a stroller, bring one that can collapse. The trolley staff and operators have always been very helpful and accommodating when I bring my collapsible stroller on the trolley.
- MAKE SURE YOU HAVE TIME — If you want to ride the trolley through the entire loop, you should plan on it taking about 45 minutes. If you want to see where the nearest trolley is located, you can “Track the Trolley” on their website.
- BE PREPARED FOR THE SPLASH PADS — Bring towels, sunscreen, swim diapers and a change of clothes if you plan on hopping off at Klyde Warren Park. If your kids play in the splash pads, you won’t want them riding the trolley sopping wet, leaving a surprise for the next person to sit in your seat!