Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Ice and snow sculptures
Ice Sculptures

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival Facts

Established in: 1985
Opening Time: early January – March
Venues: Sun Island, Ice and Snow World and Zhaolin Park

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is China's original and greatest ice artwork festival, attracting hundreds of thousands of local people and visitors from all over the world.

The 35th session of the festival was held from December, 2018 to March 2019. The commissioning period is from Dec. 20, 2018 to Jan. 4, 2019. The best collections of ice artworks were mainly exhibited in the following venues:
Sun Island Scenic Area
Ice and Snow World
Zhaolin Park
Ice Lantern Garden Party
Yabuli International Ski Resort 

 Harbin Ice Festival Tour: 4 Days

History of Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

The city's location in northeast China accounts for its arctic climate which provides abundant natural ice and snow. Subsequently, the 'Ice City' of Harbin is recognized as the cradle of ice and snow art in China and is famous for its exquisite and artistic ice and snow sculptures. The fabulous Ice Lantern Festival is the forerunner of the Ice and Snow Festival and is still the best loved part of the overall event in the opinion of all who go to that city each year.

The first Ice lanterns were a winter-time tradition in northeast China. During the Qing Dynasty(1644 - 1911), the local peasants and fishermen often made and used ice lanterns as jack-lights during the winter months. At that time these were made simply by pouring water into a bucket that was then put out in the open to freeze. It was then gently warmed before the water froze completely so that the bucket-shaped ice could be pulled out. A hole was chiseled in the top and the water remaining inside poured out creating a hollow vessel. A candle was then placed inside resulting in a windproof lantern that gained great popularity in the region around the city.

From then on, people made ice lanterns and put them outside their houses or gave them to children to play with during some of the traditional festivals. Thus the ice lantern began its long history of development. With novel changes and immense advancement in techniques, today we can marvel at the various delicate and artistic ice lanterns on display.

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Ice Festival
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Ice and Snow Festival in Zhaolin Park

Today's Ice Lantern

Nowadays, ice lantern in broad sense refers to a series of plastic arts using ice and snow as raw material combining ice artworks with colored lights and splendid music. The specific patterns of ice lantern include sculptures, ice flowers, ice architectures and so on.

Today, the Ice and Snow Festival is not only an exposition of ice and snow art, but also an annual cultural event for international exchange. Every year, there are many ice sculpture experts, artists and fans from America, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Russia, China, etc. gathering in this city to participate ice sculpting competitions and to communicate with each other in the ice and snow world. Also, Harbin ice lanterns have been exhibited in most of China's main cities as well as in many countries in Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and Oceania. For more than 40 years, the city's local natural resource of ice and snow has been fully explored to provide joy and fun for visitors to the city. Now during the festival, many sporting competitions are also popular including ice-skating, sledding and so on. Weddings, parties and other entertainments are now very much a feature of this ice world, adding their own contribution to the celebrations of this great festival of art, culture, sports and tourism.

Three Major Venues

1. Sun Island
It is the site of the Snow Sculpture Exposition displaying a wonderful snow world. It has the world's largest indoor ice and snow art museum and it opens to the public from November every year.

Admission Fee Snow Sculpture Exposition:
CNY 330 for adults
CNY 165 for children between 1.2-1.4m (3.9 and 4.6 feet)
Free for children under 1.2m

Other time: CNY 30 (just admission fee)
Expo Opening Time Dec. 20, 2018 to the end of Feb., 2019
Operating Hours during the Expo  08:00-17:00
Transportation 1. Take bus 29, 47, 80, 119, 125, 126, 127, 211, 212, 213, or 215, and get off at Taiyangdao Daokou (Sun Island Crossing) Station.
Harbin Bus Search
2. Take the cable car over the Songhua River directly to the scenic area.

2. Ice and Snow World
It came into being in 1999 and is one of the world's largest ice architecture parks. The inspiration for the ice and snow sculptures there usually is derived from traditional Chinese fairy tales or world famous architectures such as the Great Wall, the Egyptian Pyramids, etc.

Admission Fee CNY 330 for adults
CNY 200 for children between 1.2-1.4m
Free for children under 1.2m
Opening Time December 23, 2018 to March 2019
Operating Hours 11:00-21:30 (The lights are on from 16:30)
Transportation Take bus 29, 47, 80, 119, 125, 126, or 127 to Bingxue Dashijie (Ice and Snow World) directly.
Harbin Bus Search

3. Zhaolin Park
It is a 'must see' during the Ice and Snow Festival because it has a traditional program that shows the most excellent ice lanterns. With water, lights and the natural ice from the Songhua River running through this city as the material, the ice lanterns are made by freezing water, piling up ice or snow, then carving, enchasing, decorating, etc. The Ice Lantern Garden Party has been held here annually since 1963. There are numerous pieces of ice artworks in the park arranged in groups according to different themes depicting Chinese classic masterworks, European folktales and customs and so on. A great variety of objects such as buildings, gardens, flowers, waterfalls, European-styled churches, lions, tigers, dragons are carved from ice. In the daytime, the ice sculptures are magnificent and verisimilitude. Moreover, with the interspersion of the sparkling colored lights embedded in the sculptures at night, the park becomes a glorious and amazing ice world.

Admission Fee During the festival: CNY 150 per adult; free for children under 1.2m
Other time: Free
Ice Lantern Garden Opening Time Dec. 30, 2018 to Feb., 2019
Operating Hours during the Festival 10:00-21:00
Transportation Take bus 8, 23, 29, 52, 53, 83, 114, 132, 136, 201 or 206, and get off at Zhaolin Gongyuan (Zhaolin Park) Station.
Harbin Bus Search

The 35th Ice and Snow Festival Highlights (2019)

It started from January 5 to March 2019, covering three important Chinese festivals – New Year's Day, Chinese New Year and Lantern Festival. A variety of activities about ice and snow, concerning tourism, culture, fashion, the economy and trade and sports, welcomed all tourists. People can enjoy beautiful ice sculptures and snow arts in the Sun Island Scenic Area, Ice and Snow World, Zhaolin Park and Central Street. In addition, St. Sophia Church, Harbin Polarland and Songhua River are also worth a visit during the festival.

☆ 2019 activities schedule for your reference:
Activity Dates Place
The 25th National Snow Sculpture Competition Dec. 19~24, 2018 Sun Island Snow Expo
The 31th International Snow Sculpture Art Expo Dec. 20, 2018~ Feb., 2019  Sun Island
The 6th Heilongjiang College Students Snow Sculpture Competition Dec. 10~13, 2018 Sun Island
The 11th International College Students Snow Sculpture Competition Jan. 4~7, 2019 Harbin Engineering University
The 33rd International Ice Sculpture Competition Jan. 6~8, 2019 Zhaolin Park
The 35th Ice Festival City Circuit Procession Jan. 5, 2019 Harbin Expo Center to Ice and Snow World
The 35th Harbin Ice Festival Opening Jan. 5, 2019 Harbin Expo Center
The 35th Harbin Ice Snow Group Wedding Ceremony Jan. 5, 2019 Sun Island
The 30th Hundred-Flower Dance Contest of senior people Jan. 13, 2019 People's Stadium
2019 New Year Concert Dec. 31, 2018 City Concert Hall
2019 International Children Art Variety Tournament Jan. 5~10, 2019  Harbin Youth Theater
2019 International Winter Swimming Game Jan.1~5, 2019 Harbin Ice Festival Swimming Venue
Songhua River Ice Snow Happy Valley Jan.1~Feb.5, 2019 Songhua River
The 25th International Snow Sculpture Competition Jan. 10~13, 2019 Sun Island
34th Harbin Ice Festival International Trade Fair Jan.5~8, 2019 Harbin Expo Center
8th Central Street Ice Sculpture Art and Culture Festival Dec.25, 2018~Feb., 2019 Central Street
- Last modified on Apr. 10, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Asked by nur from MALAYSIA | May. 08, 2019 17:22Reply
I am planning to visit Harbin in early December 6-9 December 2019
Any suggestion on what activity and what kind of attraction for me to experience there during that time?
Answers (1)
Answered by Marie from FRANCE | May. 09, 2019 02:39

You can skating and skiing. The Snow Town is a good place to experience various snow entertainments.
Asked by thio from INDONESIA | Apr. 03, 2019 03:43Reply
hello, i am thio.. i will visit harbin this may 2019, from 18 may to 22 may..
do you have suggestion for me where should i visit for my holiday..thank you
Answers (1)
Answered by Lily from SINGAPORE | Apr. 10, 2019 19:58

Since there is no snow in May, you can only visit attractions like St. Sophia Cathedral, Zhaolin Temple and Central Street. Maybe you can visit other cities nearby or go to Mohe to experience the snow world.
Asked by Diego from INDONESIA | Jan. 15, 2019 22:43Reply
I'm planning to visit Harbin on February 28 - March 03.
Will the park and ice sculptures still be open then? What attractions (snow and ice) can I visit during that time?
Answers (3)
Answered by Frederica from RUSSIA | Jan. 17, 2019 00:33

Yes, it will still open then. Have a nice trip! The ice sculptures are beautiful!
Answered by Diego from INDONESIA | Jan. 17, 2019 18:13

Thanks. Does this include the outdoor sculptures as well? I'm also planning to go to the snow village. Will there still be enough snow on that time?
Answered by Hendrik from INDONESIA | Feb. 22, 2019 06:26

i went to ice & snow world today and already closed since temperature already warmer, ice already melted and not safe for the ice buildings.

i was told the sun island snow world will be closed on sunday, 26 feb 2019
Asked by Meifang0104 from VIETNNAM | Jan. 15, 2019 04:17Reply
The time of Harbin Ice & Snow Festival close?
I plan to go to Harbin on Feb 26. So the festival is still open or is it closed?
Answers (2)
Answered by Gabrielle from CANADA | Jan. 17, 2019 00:33

Yes, generally speaking, the Ice and Snow Festival will last at that time.
Answered by Hendrik from INDONESIA | Feb. 22, 2019 06:28

i went to ice & snow world today and already closed since temperature already warmer, ice already melted and not safe for the ice buildings.

i was told the sun island snow world will be closed on sunday, 24 feb 2019
Asked by Ric from PHILIPPINES | Jan. 09, 2019 07:00Reply
Is it a good time to go to Harbin on March 7-10, 2019 and what activities to expect?
Answers (1)
Answered by Camila from DENMARK | Jan. 10, 2019 00:56

I am afraid that the Ice and Snow Festival will be ended in March. But you can still visit there. There are several attractions in the city, such as Siberian Tiger Park, St. Sophia Cathedral, Central Street and Jile Temple.
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)