Central Street (中央大街 Zhōngyāngdàjiē) is a pedestrian-only cobblestone street more than a kilometer (about a mile) long lined with stores, restaurants, old architecture dating from the Russian era, and malls. Central Street was part of the original town built by the Russians about 110 years ago. It was first called Chinese Street. You'll find some shops with Russian products, international restaurants, and two megamarkets, Walmart and the French Carrefour, that are located at the end of Central Street. The street is said to be the prettiest street in Harbin, and during the winter you can enjoy a dog sled or a horse sled ride. It is an easy shopping and dining highlight in the area.
Central Street is in the old central district of Harbin. Harbin itself is in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang. The city is in China's northern-most province, and it is north of North Korea. Its international airport is a two hour flight away from Beijing. Travel from the airport to the street by taxi takes about 45 minutes. It is an overnight train ride away from Beijing.
When the town was first built by the Russians to service a railroad route they built around the turn of the 20th century, this was one of the main streets. It was originally called "Chinese Street". The street was a central avenue in a cosmopolitan city with people from thousands of countries. So you'll see a variety of architectural styles on the street and nearby. This was a center for Jews in Asia, and the city was a refuge for Jews, "White" Russians, Mennonites, and people of other groups in Europe and Asia where they could freely practice their religion and build their own businesses and industry. The city had Jewish buildings, many Russian Orthodox churches, and buildings of other religious groups. Many of these buildings can still be seen in the area.
The attractions you can walk to from Central Street include the old buildings in the old district of the city and the Russian-Chinese Market area there, and St. Sophia Cathedral.
During the winter, the ice and snow exhibitions for the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival are within a few kilometers. This is one of the four biggest winter festivals in the world. The Ice Lantern Festival exhibits are within walking distance in Zhaolin Park and Stalin Park on the bank of the Songhua River. The Grand World of Ice and Snow snow sculpture exhibits are on Sun Island Park. Sun Island Park is a large park, resort, and recreation area on an island in the river. The park includes a Siberian Tiger Park. You can also take a three hour train ride to Yabuli Ski Resort that is one of China's best.
The immediate area has other buildings and churches from the era when it was an international city. Most of these buildings are in the "old quarter" of the city, in a wide stretch along the Songhua River and next to Central Street. Most of the interesting buildings were built in the 1920s, and they exhibit various styles of architecture. They were mostly built in Baroque, Byzantine style or "Russian style". The buildings have European features. The streets are not well kept or repaired. While wondering around that area, you may find real Russian or foreign antiques in the shops.