Harbin Ice Festival 2022/2023

Written by Ruru Zhou Updated Nov. 13, 2022

Harbin Ice Festival, aka Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival or Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, was officially founded on January 5, 1985. It is an annual winter festival featuring massive-scale of ice sculptures in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China.

>How Long does the Harbin Ice Festival Last?

The Ice Festival kicks off on January 5 every year and lasts 2 months until the end of February. There is no fixed end date, the sculptures melt, and the festival ends. Usually, sculptures start to melt during the middle of February. Actually, you can pay a visit to the Ice and Snow World prior to the official opening date of December 25.

The 2023 Harbin Ice and Snow Festival opening ceremony will take place in Harbin Ice and Snow World starts on January 5, 2023.

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History of Harbin Ice Festival

In January. 5, 1985, the Harbin authority announced that they designated January 5 as the annual Ice and Snow Festival on the basis of the traditional Ice Lantern Festival. The first Ice and Snow Festival has proceeded to set up group weddings, winter swimming competitions, and other fun ice and snow activities.

In 2001, the Ice and Snow Festival was merged with Heilongjiang International Ski Festival and officially renamed "Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival".

The Harbin Ice Festival consider one of the world's four largest ice and snow festivals, along with the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan, the Quebec Winter Carnival in Canada, and the Norwegian Ski Festival.

What does the Harbin Ice Festival Celebrate?

Harbin Ice Festival is a big cultural event in China. It's all about sharing culture, and diversity through ice and snow sculpture exhibitions, ice sports, games, performances, and much more during the festival. Visitors have the opportunity to see fireworks and some performances in the opening ceremony.

The highlights of the festival are to see the massive Ice and Snow World, which can be called Ice and Snow Disney, the large-scale ice sculptures in Zhaolin Park, and the snow sculptures exhibition taking place on Sun Island.

In addition, there are more than 100 activities of the festival consisting of several parts, such as international ice-snow weddings, the international ice-snow film festival, the international winter-swimming invitational tournament, Asian Ice Hockey League ice-snow sports, ice-snow tourism, ice-snow art, and many other exciting activities.

There are many kinds of winter activity competitions, such as Yabuli alpine skiing, winter swimming in the Songhua River, speed skating, a snow pitch football game, and an Ice Sculpture competition.

Where is Harbin Ice Festival Located - Main Exhibition Areas & Venues

The opening ceremony of the Harbin Ice Festival takes place in the Harbin Ice and Snow World. The popular activities of the festival are fascinating the exquisite large ice sculptures and engaging in various ice activities. There are three main venues with different themes.

Harbin Ice and Snow World was constructed on the Songhua River which is the main venue of the festival, the others are the snow sculpture parade on Sun Island, and the grand ice lantern parade in Zhaolin Park, besides, there are many fun activities held in the frozen Songhua Lake.

1. Ice and Snow World - Large-Scale Ice Sculpture Exhibition

The Ice and Snow World is an iconic site in Harbin, boasting beautifully carved ice sculptures displayed on the river, the large sculpture made from bricks cuts from the river ice.

Normally, the Ice and Snow World is open on December 25 and end in mid-February.

Every year the ice world was different for theme creation. The opening time is usually from 11 am to 10 pm, at night, the lights are embedded between the bricks and the park turns into a fairyland. The peak time for a visit is between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m every day, with expected queue-up at the main sites. If you enter the park at 11 a.m, it will be fewer people so you can enjoy the time.

2. Sun Island Snow Fair

Harbin Snow Fair is located in the Sun Island Scenic Area. Unlike the ice sculptures in the Snow World, the Snow Fair mainly showcases snow sculptures and is daytime only (9 am-5 pm). The annual Snow Expo exhibition dates usually lasted two months from January to February, during which you can enjoy a variety of large snow sculptures created by Chinese and foreign artists.

Sun Island Snow Fair display different theme every year, it is also the venue for snow sculpture competitions, and visitors have the opportunity to see the procedures involved in making an ice sculpture if they go to Harbin in December, the works are indeed incredibly creative and innovative.

3. Zhaolin Park Ice Lantern Exhibition

Zhaolin Park hosts an exhibition of small and medium ice sculptures whereas Ice and Snow World is the place of huge sculptures. Visitors will see beautiful & colorful ice sculptures carved in detail and they lit up at night which is so impressive, the exhibition includes attractions like ice slides and mazes for kids.

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Harbin Ice and Snow Festival Celebrations - Dates, Schedule, and Venues

Dates Events Venues
Dec. 7, 2022 Ice Harvest Festival Songhua Lake Harbin Songhua Lake Harbin
Dec. 22, 2022 Harbin Snow Fair
Dec. 22, 2022
Ice and Snow World
Dec. 29, 2022 - Jan 1, 2023 Competition in Ice Carving Ice and Snow World
Jan 2-4, 2023 International Ice Sculpting Competition Ice and Snow World
Jan 5, 2023 Opening Ceremony of Ice and Snow Festival Ice and Snow World
Jan 5, 2023 Harbin Ice Lantern Show Zhaolin Park

How to Plan a Trip to Harbin Ice Festival

1. Book Ice and Snow Festival Ticket in Advance

Most travelers would fly to Harbin and stay 3 to 4 days in and around, here comes the travel suggestions for planning a tour to Harbin Ice Festival.

At present, visitors who plan to travel to the Ice and Snow World and the Snow Expo must make a reservation one day prior to the visit and enter the park on the assigned day which is implemented in both scenic spots.

  • Ice and Snow World Tickets: 180 yuan/piece
  • Sun Island Snow Expo Ticket: 160 yuan/piece

Visitors can purchase tickets in the following way:

1. Harbin Ice and Snow World ticket boots
2. WeChat public account of Harbin Ice and Snow World:


  • Follow the WeChat official account of Harbin Ice and Snow World 冰雪大世界
  • Click the "Ticket Channel" button below
  • Click the first WeChat ticket purchase to complete the online ticket purchase payment

China Travel offers an Ice Festival tour package that includes an entrance ticket to the Ice and Snow Festival via transfers & English-speaking guide.

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For epidemic prevention consideration: visitors entering the festival venue should undertake 1) scan the code (health code, travel code), measure the temperature, and wear a mask. A certificate of the nuclear acid test within 48 hours may be required.  

2. Choose a Hotel near the Venues

During the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, the hotels near the venue are hard to book and prices are higher than on an ordinary day. Therefore, making a reservation before the trip is necessary.

The main busy commercial areas of Harbin are concentrated in the Daoli and Nangang districts, where many top-rated hotels in Harbin are situated in those two blocks.

Daoli District is the main street located in the center of downtown, nested in the famous Central Avenue pedestrian street. The pavement way was built by the Russians and it has a history of over 100 years. At the end of Central Avenue is the Ice and Snow World.

3. What to Eat at Harbin Ice Festival - Cheer Up Your Taste Buds

Russian cuisine

Due to the neighboring distance and cultural influence of Russia, Harbin is probably the only city in China where you can get the most authentic Russian food.

Guo Bao Rou (Sweet and Sour Pork)

This is a signature dish in Harbin that you have to try. The thick slices of pork are fried in hot oil and keep crispy, coat each piece with the sweet and sour sauce.

Candied Hawthorn Berries

Candied Hawthorn also called bing tang hu lu, is a skewer of sugar-coated Chinese hawthorn on a bamboo stick. You can easily find it on the central street or in the park.

Mardiel Popsicles

The popsicles are quite cheap at RMB 5 each. It's a great experience to have while strolling around the central street. It is just a treat when it's -30 degrees Celsius outside.

4. What to Pack & Wear

The outdoor temperature during the Ice Festival falls to -30 degrees Celsius, you should wear down jackets or ski clothing, woolen wear, snow boots, hats, gloves, and scarves. should bring a few more batteries for cameras cause it is easily out of power when expose to the freezing temperature.

The festival venues like Ice and Snow World and Sun Island offer cell phone charger rentals for visitors.

Apart from Harbin Ice Festival

Before the opening time, all the attractions listed above are closed to visitors (except Central Street) due to the production of ice and snow sculptures. Visitors are not allowed to see the process of making ice sculptures. You can visit Central Street, Siberian Tiger Park, and the ski resorts such as Yabuli.

Harbin Tour

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How to Get to Harbin Ice Festival

It takes about 3 hours to get to the winter festival venues from Beijing, including the flight to Taiping International Airport (2 hours) and taxi to the venues (1 hour). The airport is about 30 kilometers away from the city. There are buses between the festival venues and the airport.

Train to Harbin: currently has three railway stations in Harbin - Harbin Station, Harbin West Station, and Harbin East Station. There are many cities in China that can be accessed by high-speed trains from Harbin.

The main venue and opening ceremony of the Harbin Ice Festival is the Ice and Snow World, which is located downtown at the end of Central Street.

Getting There:

By Car

  • Harbin Railway Station → Harbin Ice and Snow World, 12 kilometers, 25 minutes by car.
  • Harbin West Railway Station → Harbin Ice and Snow World, 13 kilometers, 30 minutes by car.
  • Harbin Taiping International Airport → Harbin Ice and Snow World, 39 kilometers, 50 minutes by car.

By Subway

Earliest train: 06:00, Latest Train: 21:30 (for reference only)

  • Harbin Ice and Snow World → Daolin District, Central Street, by metro line 2
  • Harbin Ice and Snow World → Harbin North Station, by metro line 2
  • Harbin Ice and Snow World → Jiangbei University City, by metro line 2
  • Harbin Ice and Snow World → Harbin West Train Station, take metro line 3 to Zhujiang Road Station, change to metro line 2 to West Train Station

Harbin Ice Festival Travel Tips

1. Metro line 2 almost covers all the popular scenic spots in Harbin, such as Ice and Snow World, Sun Island Snow Expo Park, Harbin Polar Museum, Central Avenue, and so on, each station has a theme of art that created a sense of the site itself.

2. The mini ice and snow sculptures are mainly displayed in Central Street, Stalin Park (near the Flood Memorial Tower), and Zhaolin Park which are free to visit. The large ice and snow sculpture artworks are displayed in Ice and Snow World and Sun Island Park, which required to buy tickets for entry.

3. There are many ice and snow activities in Ice Carnival that you can engage in, it takes place in the frozen Songhua River nearby the Ice and Snow World.

How to Book a Harbin Ice Festival Tour

As the policies changed frequently over the course of the pandemic, the rules are different from place to place in China to react to the pandemic situation. Plan a tour with a trustworthy local tour provider will ensure you a safe and pleasant tour, and always get up to date on the travel restrictions of the place you travel. 

We can also customize your own trip based on your group size, budget, interests, preferences, and other requirements. Please contact us.

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