Carlinville, Illinois: The Most Enchanting Winter Town in Southern Illinois

Have you ever dreamed of stepping into a Christmas movie? Wanted to be surrounded by beautiful Christmas lights and winter fun? There just so happens to be the perfect little winter town in Southern Illinois. Carlinville, Illinois is home to holiday shopping, entertainment, and activities. 

There is no better time to experience a winter town in Southern Illinois than during the first weekend of December in Carlinville. Coined “Christmas in Carlinville,” there is truly holiday magic in the air.Walk into a winter wonderland in Carlinville, Illinois.


Historic Downtown Square:

Go back in time at the Historic Downtown Square. Rich with history, this quaint area showcases 19th century architecture and charm. A staple of Carlinville, the Historic Downtown Square hosts the largest amount of activities during this event. Music performed by local musicians and high schools can be heard in this square throughout the entire weekend. The site of nativity displays, fire truck rides, a petting zoo, and so much more, Historic Downtown Square is the heart of this wonderful winter town in Southern Illinois!

Macoupin County Historical Society:

A beautiful homage to Macoupin County, the Macoupin County Historical Society was created by a group of citizens who sought to preserve their area’s history. Now, the society has built and currently maintains a variety of historical buildings as well as a mansion turned museum. Throughout the weekend of  “Christmas in Carlinville,” the society hosts a variety of events pertaining to the preservation of Macoupin County. History buffs will be delighted to visit the Print Shop where an old printing press still works to this day! To view even more vintage memorabilia, stop by Barn 3 which presents agricultural equipment. Looking for a special gift? At the Blacksmith Shop guests have the chance to purchase forged items! What could be more unique?

See the work of a blacksmith at the Macoupin County Historical Society.

Cross Church:

The third and final location to experience Christmas in Carlinville, Cross Church hosts many events throughout the weekend. Highlights include a wine tasting, a performance by a local singing group, and plenty of activities for the kids! 

Macoupin County “Million Dollar Courthouse”:

During the Christmas in Carlinville weekend, visitors of all ages can tour the historic Macoupin County’s “Million Dollar Courthouse.” The beautiful architecture of this building alone gives this attraction its name. Throughout the day, tours are available twice. Be sure to stop by this historical building during your visit!


Red Barn Kitchen:

Created and maintained by the Macoupin County Historical Society, the Red Barn kitchen has been restored and is now a working kitchen! During the multiple festivals in Carlinville, the red barn kitchen serves food for the entire community. You won’t want to miss this adorable barn along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail!


Things to do:

Christmas in Carlinville has a little something for everyone. To get in the Christmas spirit, guests can visit live reindeer and marvel at the incomparable lights that cover the town. Guests can hear a reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” at Cross Church or gaze at a nativity display boasting over 30 separate nativity scenes! The Historic Downtown Square even hosts movies throughout the event! For adults, be sure to stop for a wine tasting as well as enjoy roasted nuts at Cross Church. There truly is something for everyone!

Treat yourself to unique gifts at the Christmas market in Carlinville.


Christmas Market: 

A main attraction of Christmas in Carlinville, over one hundred vendors visit this winter town in Southern Illinois. Guests can purchase unique trinkets and toys for the whole family! Vendors can be found throughout the town, specifically at the Historic Downtown Square and the Macoupin County Historical Society. You won’t want to miss the chance to shop for these one of a kind items!



Carlinville is the epitome of fun for children of all ages. Kids can choose from a variety of unique and exciting activities at this event! Start off the weekend with face painting at Cross Church. Follow this free event with a fun-filled night of interacting with adorable animals at the petting zoo at the Historic Downtown Square or even a fire truck ride for only $1! For the more creative children out there, ornament making or gingerbread decorating is available throughout the event. Kids will be delighted to see their favorite furry friends in the pet parade! Of course the best way to experience a winter town in Southern Illinois is to top off your weekend with a visit with Santa!

There are so many creative activities for children in Carlinville!


Local Carlinville performers:

One of the best parts of Christmas in Carlinville is its live musicians! Throughout the weekend many groups and individuals will be entertaining guests. A great way to bring together the community and visitors alike, live music enhances the magical feeling of this winter town in Southern Illinois!

Enjoy live music throughout the Christmas event.

Auburn High School swing choir and jazz band:

Of the many musicians and artists that perform at Christmas in Carlinville, you won’t want to miss the performance of the Auburn High School swing choir and jazz band on your trip to this wonderful winter town in Southern Illinois! With an impressive resume of performances, this school has proven to present spectacular performances. The school performs only once over the course of the weekend, so be sure to watch them!

Looking for more trip inspiration along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail? Check out our website here! For more places to explore in Southern Illinois, consider Saline County, Il or Chester, Illinois today!