Weather: December is already well into Harbin’s long winter. It is very cold, dry, and clear with about six days of snow. The temperatures stay well below freezing. Average daily high and low temperatures are respectively -9 °C (16 °F) and -20 °C (-4 °F).
There is about 5 mm of total precipitation. Sunshine falls to 5 hours a day due to the northerly latitude.
Clothing: You'll need your best winter clothing. Dress in layers for convenience and comfort to put on and take off as needed. Most buildings in Harbin are heated, but you might still need a coat or sweater indoors. So bring a warm coat, long winter underwear, trousers, a hat, water resistant shoes, and gloves. See the Harbin weather forecast>>
See the Siberian tigers: There is a big cat preserve across the river from Sun Island. It is one of Harbin's favorite attractions any time of the year. The main attractions are the Siberian tigers that live in the 250 acre park, but people also like to see the Bengal tigers, pumas, lions and other big cats. Tourists like to feed the tigers and ride in vans in their field.
The Siberian tiger is the largest species of cat. They might weigh 225 kilograms (500 pounds). China's breeding program has been successful, and this might be a way to preserve the species since they are going extinct in the wild.
Enjoy the Harbin restaurants: On bitterly cold and dark days, you can stay in warm restaurants and eat hot food of a variety of styles. Harbin's cuisine is heavily influenced by Russian and other foreign influences. There is a variety of local regional styles of Chinese food such as Lanzhou or spicy Sichuan style, and you can also choose from Russian, Japanese, and Korean restaurants.
Harbin International Ice and Snow Festivals: The gigantic and brightly colored multistory ice constructions at Sun Island Park and the gigantic snow sculptures the size of football fields at another site nearby don't officially open until early January. However, the sculptors, snow architects and ice artists arrive and start creating their marvels at the end of December. It is hard work demanding the labor of tens of thousands of people.
You can visit and watch while they are building for the competitions and watch locals at winter sports and games at the end of December. You can enjoy various rides, skate, ski and enjoy the local winter activities.
December is a month with little travel and tourism since the freezing weather and lack of holidays keep people inside. Tourism and travel increases at the end of December because of the Christmas holidays and winter breaks outside the country, and groups come in to set up for the winter festivals that begin in early January. There are winter games and sports competitions at the end of December.
So prices are relatively low for tickets and hotel accommodations until the last week of December, and there is less crowding at the attractions.