Harbin Ice Festival

Harbin Ice Festival Facts

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

Harbin Ice Festival, also known as 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 40th session of the festival will be held from January 5 to March, 2024. The best collections of ice artworks will be 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 and Snow Festival Tour: 4 Days Package, 2 Days Package

Ice and Snow World Sculpture

History of Harbin Ice 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 Harbin Ice 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
Harbin Ice Festival
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Ice Sculptures

Today's Ice Lantern

Nowadays, ice lanterns 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 lanterns include sculptures, ice flowers, ice architecture and so on.

Today, Harbin 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 Art 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 of the International Snow Sculpture Art Exposition CNY 198 
Free for children under 1.2m (3.9 feet)
Transportation 1. Take metro line 2, get off at Sun Island and take Exit 2 or 3.
2. Take bus no. 29, 42, 43, 47, 80, 119, 125, 126, 127, 211, 212, 213, 215, 216, 219, 223, 225 and get off at Sun Island Crossing.
Harbin Bus Search
3. 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 328
CNY240 for minors
Free for children under 1.2m (3.9 feet)
Opening Time Dec. 18, 2024 (usually extend to next March)
Operating Hours 11:00-21:00
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 Harbin Ice 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 Free
Ice Lantern Garden Opening Time Dec. 2023 - Jan. 2024
Operating Hours during the Festival 10:30-21:00
Transportation Take bus no. 26, 29, 52, 56, 64, 65, 79, 94, 102 or 201 and get off at Children's Hospital stop.
Harbin Bus Search
The ticket and time is based on the previous year. We'll update the information as soon as the official announcement is out.

The 40th Harbin Ice Festival Highlights (2024)

It is expected to last from January 5 to March of 2024, 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, will welcom 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.

☆ 2024 activities schedule for your reference:
Activity Dates Place
The 9th National College Students Snow Carving Competition  Dec. 16-19, 2023 Sun Island
The Opening of Ice and Snow World Dec. 18, 2023 Ice and Snow World
The 36th Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Exposition December, 2023 Sun Island
The 7th International College Students Ice Sculpture Competition Dec. 23 - 25, 2023 Harbin Linda World Carnival
The 24th Heilongjiang Snow Sculpture Competition Dec. 21 - 24, 2023 Sun Island
The 30th National Snow Sculpture Competition Dec. 26 - 29, 2023 Sun Island
Ice Lantern Garden Party Dec. 2023 - Jan. 2024 Zhaolin Park
The 16th International College Students Snow Sculpture Competition Jan. 4~7, 2024 Harbin Engineering University
The Opening Ceremony of Harbin Ice Festival Jan. 5~6, 2024 Ice and Snow World

Further Reading: Top 10 Things to Do in Harbin
- Last updated on Dec. 25, 2023 by Gabby Li -
Questions & Answers on Harbin Ice Festival
Asked by Katja from ITALY | Dec. 09, 2020 16:17Reply
Ice sculpture show December 2020
If we plan to travel to Harbin December 20th to December 22nd, the ice show is already in place?
Answers (1)
Answered by Addison | Dec. 10, 2020 19:59

Oh, there is no official information about the ice snow festival. Generally speaking, you can see the ice sculptures from early Jan. to late Feb. In order to be sure, you are suggested pay attention to the updated information.
Asked by Hayal from TÜRKEY | Nov. 04, 2020 12:03Reply
Will the Harbin Ice Festival come true this year in 2021 because of the Pandemi or not?
Answers (1)
Answered by Amelia | Nov. 05, 2020 19:55

Well, I didn't find the latest information. You are suggested to pay attention to the news or updated information.
Asked by Jess from USA | Jan. 17, 2020 23:11Reply
How to get there from Beijing to Harbin Ice and Snow World?
Thank you
Answers (1)
Answered by Sara from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 18, 2020 19:58

Take train or airplane to Harbin first. If you fly to there, then you can take shuttle bus line 4 to Ice & Snow world.
Asked by Silvia Mocek from GERMANY | Jan. 14, 2020 10:13Reply
I will be in Shenyng from 25-28 of Jan. I want to go by train to Harbin to the Festival.
Will it be more difficult to get tickets for the Ice Festival or the Train? Because it is Chinese New Year?
Answers (1)
Answered by Theo from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 15, 2020 19:46

There are some bullet train tickets left from Shenyang to Harbin. It is not difficult to buy the ticket fot Ice&Snow World. Or you can ask help for TravelChinaGuide.com. They provide online ticket booking service. If interested, their contact information is bookingtravelchinaguide.com.
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