About the Harbin Snow and Ice Festival

Harbin Snow and Ice Festival is an annual event showcasing a large selection of snow and ice sculptures. These sculptures include famous buildings, landmarks and monuments from around the globe.

The ice festival is famed around the world and attracts millions of guests each year. The first festival happened in 1963, however due to the Cultural Revolution (1966 to 1976) the festival didn’t go ahead for many years. Thankfully, Harbin Ice and snow Festival returned on 5th January 1985 and has been running ever since.

When is Harbin the Harbin Snow and Ice Festival?

Harbin Snow and Ice Festival
Harbin Snow and Ice Festival

The snow and ice festival usually opens at the beginning of January and lasts until mid-March. There are many different events at location across the city during this time.

Where is the ice festival located?

  • Sun Island
  • Zhaolin Park
  • Zhonyang Dajie

The main snow and ice sculpture festival is located on Sun Island on the (frozen) Songhua River in Harbin. Harbin is in China’s far north-eastern Heilongjiang Province close to the border with Russia.

There are events across the city including on Zhongyang Dajie (Central Street), the Songhua River and the city’s parks.

How do I get to the Snow and Ice festival?

Harbin Snow and Ice Festival
Harbin Snow and Ice Festival

The easiest way to reach the festival site is to take a taxi. A taxi fare from anywhere downtown should not cost more than ¥50 ($8). Taxi’s will be queuing up outside the exit to ensure a quick and comfortable trip back into the city.

You can also take one of a number of buses that go directly to the sculpture park. Buses 29, 47, 80, 119, 125, 126 and 127.

When is the best time to visit the snow and Ice Fetival?

Obviously, the festival only runs in winter, from late December until early March. The attractions are busier at the start of the festival at the beginning of January and get quieter through February and into March.

The best time of day to visit the ice festival is just before sunset so you can see the sculptures in daylight and then as they light up as the sun sets. The lights are turned on at 16:30 each day.

How Much Are Tickets for the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival?

Adult Ticket: 330 ($51)
Child Ticket: 200 ($31)

What is there to do at the ice and snow festival in Harbin?

Ice Fort
Ice Fort
  • Ice sculptures
  • Sledding/tobogganing
  • Ice skating
  • Snow cycling
  • Frozen Post Office

The main attractions are the huge ice sculptures of different buildings from around the world. These include palaces, churches and many famous landmarks.

What facilities are there at Ice and Snow Festival?

There are restaurants on site, including a KFC and Pizza Hut erected just for the festival. There are of course Chinese restaurants and drinks stands selling hot drinks, hand warmers and the like.

How Long Should I spend at the Harbin Snow and Ice Festival?

Ice Bridge
Ice Bridge

You should allow two to four hours to explore the festival site, however this will depend on your threshold for handling the cold. It’s possible to see everything in around an hour if you rush.

How Should I Dress for the Harbin Ice Festival?

It will come as no surprise that standing in a field surrounded by ice in the coldest part of China, where temperatures can drop below -30c, is a rather cold experience. It is essential that you wrap up warm with a down jacket, good gloves and thick socks. You can buy pocket hand-warmers on site for ¥10 (less than a dollar).

Getting to Harbin?

Flights: Flights from Beijing take 2 hours and cost around ¥500 ($75).

Train: the fast train from Beijing takes around 5 hours. A ssecond class seat cost ¥300 ($46).

Beijing to Harbin Train

Where to stay in Harbin?

What else is there to see in Harbin?

Steve Rohan

About this author: Steve Rohan has lived in China for six years. He has lived in the frozen city of Harbin, ancient capital of Luoyang and tropical paradise that is Sanya.

After teaching English for a number of years, he now blogs full time for this site and adventure travel blog thetripgoeson.com.