Top Things to Do in Harbin

Being the Ice City of China and a popular winter destination, Harbin is famous for its very cold winters, ice and snow sculptures and exotic architecture. Every year from December to January of the next year is the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, and many parts of the city are turned into a wonderland of snow. China Highlights has listed for you top things to do in Harbin to help you enjoy the most out of your Harbin Tour.

1. Skiing Fun

Skiing at YabuliComing to the ice city without skiing is like going to Beijing without visiting the Great Wall. As a potential candidate for the 2022 Winter Olympic, Harbin has a long snowing period and boasts one of the best and largest ski resorts in China – Yabuli Ski Resort.

2. Enjoy the Wonderland of Ice and Snow

Snow Sculpture at Sun IslandEvery year the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival is officially open on January 5 and lasts for one month. Sun Island Scenic Spot features snow sculptures, while the Grand World of Ice and Snow features ice sculptures. All create a wonderland of ice and snow. At Zhaolin Park, people will be amazed at the ice lanterns of Disney cartoon characters.

3. Watch Winter Swimming

Winter Swimming at Songhua RiverIn winter, the average temperature in Harbin is about -25 ºC (-13 ºF). Many local people gather in the morning at Songhua River for winter swimming. They drill a hole into the icy river and make a simple swimming pool out of it. After warming exercises, the brave swimmers jump or dive into the freezing water. It is very interesting to see swimmers in their bathing suites swimming in the freezing water, while surrounding them are ice and snow, and people wearing very heavy coats.

4. Exotic Architecture and Shopping

Harbin Central Street With a modern history with Russian and European influences, there are many exotic buildings left in Harbin. Many western-style buildings are located along the Central Street, the main shopping street in Harbin. Due to its geographic location, many Russian goods such as Russian dolls, lacquer ware and jewelries can also be found in Harbin, especially at Chinese-Russian Market.

5. Relish in a Local or Western Restaurant

Dumplings Influenced by Russian, Mongolian and of course North China cuisines, Harbin food has distinctive features, and the dishes are usually stewed, fumigated or pickled in sauce. Besides enjoying the nutritious stews at a local restaurant, visitors can also enjoy an authentic western (mainly Russian) dinner at a western restaurant.

- Top - or Harbin Travel Guide

Questions and Answers About Top Things to Do in Harbin

Faith Lee 2013-12-10
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I am planning a trip with my family in mid April 2014. Please advise what should we expect since there will not be any snow then. How is the average temperature like?

Dear Faith,
There is no snow after March. If your tour dates available to change, it is suggested that your family to Harbinin January when the Harbin Ice Snow Festival hold during that time.

Nancy Nancy Deng replied on 2013-12-10
Cindy Thien 2013-01-12
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Any posibility to see the ice and snow festival on 5th March?

Hi Cindy, it depends on the weather condition.  Usually the snow melts in late February. If the cold weather lasts to early March, then it is possible to see the Ice and Snow Festival on 5th March.

Whitney Liao replied on 2013-01-13
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Hi, I'm Candice Song
I updated this article on January 9, 2014
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