Old Capitol Holiday Walks | Springfield, Illinois | Visit Springfield
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It's time!! Time for what you ask...time to start making your holiday plans to visit Springfield, of course!!

If you’re not ready to think about the holidays yet…let me tell you, you will be as soon as you read this one!


The Old Capitol Holiday Walks are November 30 - December 21 on Wednesdays & Saturdays

Enjoy plenty of shopping, dining and tons of holiday cheer to go around!

Walk around the downtown area, visit the historical sites by candlelight, listen to carolers sing a traditional holiday song and catch one of the many performances at the Old State Capitol.

You will have the chance to take a free, 10 minute Horse Carriage ride and even meet Springfield’s very own, Abraham and Mary Lincoln at various locations, included the Springfield Visitors Center!

And what would the Holidays be without the one and only Santa!? Yes, your kiddos will have a chance to tell him whats on their long Christmas list, have their picture taken and create a fun holiday craft.


See the Schedule of Events below:


DSI Tree Lighting on the Plaza: November 30 at 5:30 pm

Watch the magic come alive as the Holiday season kicks off with the lighting of our neighborhood tree! Located on Old State Capitol Plaza

Carriage Rides with Red Gate Farms: November 30 – December 21

Saturdays: 1 pm – 4 pm; Wednesdays: 5 pm – 8 pm (December 7: Noon – 3 pm)

Enjoy a free, 10 minute ride around the Old State Capitol. 

Abe & Mary Saturdays: November 30 – December 14 from 11 am – 5 pm.

Located at various shops throughout downtown including the Springfield Visitors Center.

Springfield Jaycees Holiday Lights Parade: December 7 at 5:30 pm

A tradition going back 47 years. Watch this lighted Christmas Parade wind around the heart of downtown. Located Downtown Springfield

Old State Capitol

Santa Claus: November 30 - December 21: Wednesdays: 5 pm - 8 pm & Saturdays: 1 pm - 5 pm

Musical Performances: Times and Locations TBD

Dana-Thomas House – A Frank Lloyd Wright Design

Luminaria Sunday: December 15 from 5 pm – 8 pm

Visit the Dana-Thomas House as the exterior of the home will be lined with 1,000 candles and guests can take a silent tour of the beautiful interior accompanied by holiday music. No reservations required

Holiday Walk Evening Tours: November 30 & December 4, 11 & 18 at 5:15 pm, 6:30 pm & 7 pm

Design Concept Tour with Larry Betz: November 29 & December 20 at 5:15 pm & 6:30 pm**

Architectural Tours with Anthony Rubano: December 4 & 7 at 5 pm & 6:30 pm**

Holiday Design Tours with the Springfield Civic Garden Club: December 12 - 14 at 5:15 pm & 6:30 pm**

Art Glass Tour with Frank Marchant: December 19 at 5:15 pm & 6:30 pm**

**Reservations for all special tours are required and can be made by calling 217-782-6776

Lincoln Home

Candlelight Tour: December 11 & 13 at 5 pm

Experience a unique after hour’s tour through the home with faux candlelight this holiday season.

A Message at Midnight: December 20 - 21 at 7 pm

It’s Christmas Eve of 1864. General Grant is late arriving at the White House. Celebration is far away from the minds of Grant and President Lincoln as they eagerly await the news from General Sherman as he marches towards Savannah. A victory will help assure the passage of the 13th amendment and provide a life-saving boost to the morale of the North. A defeat may be the final blow to hopes of reunion and freedom for the slaves. The clock ticks… midnight approaches as Grant arrives to meet with the President.

1st Presbyterian Church – Lincoln Family Pew

Sanctuary Tours: December 7 & 14 from 10 am – 3 pm

Docent led tour.

1850s Carol Sing: December 14 at 6 pm

Travel back in time to the 1850s this Christmas season. Join Abraham and Mary Lincoln for special music, worship and a carol sing.

Edwards Place & Springfield Art Association

Holiday Walk: December 7 from 1 pm – 4 pm

This year you can see the holiday decorations in the house while listening to Christmas Carols on a piano often heard by Abraham Lincoln himself. Enjoy free self-guided tours and take some time to see Civil War Santa Claus and tell him what you want for Christmas!

Gingerbread Houses: December 7 from 1 pm – 4 pm

Christmas Time Tea: December 14 at 11 am & 3 pm

Travel through the ages, while enjoying a cup of tea and tea treats. Entertainment will include Christmas Carols and a tableau vivant. Wear clothing from any period if you wish! Christmas traditions from the beginning to today will be discussed. A great event for families.

African American History Museum

Holiday Walk Activities: December 7 from 1 pm – 4 pm

Elijah Iles House

Christmas Candlelight Tours: December 7 & 14 from 6 pm – 8pm

Beautifully decorated to set the holiday mood! You will also take a docent lead tour by candlelight. Saturday enjoy an open house with kids’ crafts from 1 pm – 4 pm

Lincoln Public Library

Holiday Tea: November 30 from 2 pm – 4 pm

Holiday Tree Story Time: December 4 at TBD

Holiday Cartoons: December 14 at 10:30 am

Interactive “Home Alone” Showing: December 14 at 2 pm

Illinois State Museum

Winter Wonderland Super Saturday: December 7 from 11 am – 3 pm

Winter is coming! Are you ready for snowmen, warm scarves and mittens, and hot chocolate? Discover how animals adapt to the change in the seasons through a museum search, build your own snowman, get creative with wintery art, and more.

Animals in the Snow Story Time: December 10 at 10 am

Some animals migrate in the winter, others hibernate, and some just like to play in the snow. Learn more about animals in the winter with stories, a craft, and animals from our collection.


Special Holiday Events not associated with the Holiday Walks but are a perfect addition to your Springfield visit!!

Memorial Festival of Trees: November 22 – December 1

The nine-day event is a holiday tradition and features more than 300 designed items; a centerpiece and gingerbread structure silent auction; an elaborate hand-crafted Gingerbread Village; the Candy Cane Express Train; the Little Elves’ Workshop craft area; Snapshots with Santa; a boutique full of unique gift items; hand-decorated gingerbread cookies; and entertainment featuring dozens of musical performances. Located in the Orr Building on the IL State Fairgrounds

Fun Frosty Friday: November 29

Jumpstart your holiday season at the Annual Fun Frosty Friday! This FREE event on the day after Thanksgiving features fun for the entire family and includes planes, trains, automobiles, face painting, balloon art and our signature Life-Sized Candyland Adventure! Located at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

Polar Express Pajama Party: November 29 – December 1

Everybody in their jammies (you too, grownups!) as The Polar Express steams off on a journey to the North Pole.  
Entering the theatre, you'll be greeted by our train conductors, and receive your special train ticket. Our dining car servers will welcome you to the preshow cocoa party, where our young travelers will enjoy some crafting and cocoa before embarking on their journey, a special screening of the film "The Polar Express." Located at the Legacy Theatre

The Nutcracker – A Great Holiday Tradition: December 14

A timeless holiday classic that follows Clara and her Nutcracker from a lavish Christmas party to a fierce battle with the evil Mouse King, then to a magical journey through the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Located at UIS PAC Center


Be sure and check out our event calendar for a full listing of Holiday Events.

Looking for a place to stay during the holidays?? Check out one of our amazing Hotels.

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