Harbin Ice and Snow Festival 2020/2021: Dates, Tickets, Tips & Tours
When winter comes, Harbin turns into a kingdom of ice and snow. The most anticipated event in Harbin in winter is the annual Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.
- Expected festival period: December 24, 2020 to late February 2021
- Typical touring time: 1–2 days
- Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival Dates
- Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival Venues
- Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival Ticket Booking
- How to Get to Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival
- Travel Tips
- Interesting Facts about Harbin Ice Festival
- Recommended Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival Tours
- 10 to 20 million visitors annually
- One of the world's top winter celebrations
- World's biggest ice sculpture festival (600,000 square meters)
- One of the world's biggest snow sculpture festivals
Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival Dates
Officially, the opening ceremony of the festival is on January 5 and the festival lasts till late February. However, exhibits often open earlier.
If you are planning a Harbin tour and want to get more accurate information, please contact us. We will update the page when the exact information is announced.
There are three main exhibition areas:
- Ice and Snow World — exhibiting ice sculptures: It is visitable from 15:00 on December 24th, 2020.
- Sun Island — exhibiting snow sculptures: It is visitabe from December 20th, 2020.
- Zhaolin Park — exhibiting ice lanterns: It opened for visiting on January 1st, 2020. In 2021, it is expected to open in early January.
Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival Venues
The Ice and Snow World venue, the Sun Island Snow Sculpture Art Expo, and the Zhaolin Park Ice Lantern Festival venue are the three main venues for Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival.
In general, each of the three venues have different ticket prices and opening hours.
The Ice and Snow World — A Colorful Ice “Disneyland”
- Location: Songhua River north bank, Songbei Avenue, Songbei District
- Expected ticket prices: 280–300 yuan/person (42–45 USD) based on last year's ticket prices
- Open period: December 24th to late February (11am–9:30pm)
- Typical touring time: 3–4 hours
The Ice and Snow World is the most popular place to enjoy the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. It displays ice sculptures of huge proportions, such as palace buildings. Many are ice-work recreations of real buildings or things around the world. You can even walk on them or into them.
It is best visited when the sculptures are colorfully lit at night. The dazzling colors and light effects, along with lots of amusements such as slides and an ice maze, make the festival the most entertaining ice festival in the world.
- Recommended tour: One-Day Ice and Snow Fairyland Tour
Sun Island — See the Art of Snow Sculpting
- Location: 3 Taiyang Avenue, Songbei District
- Expected ticket prices: 280–330 yuan/person (42–49 USD) based on last year's ticket prices
- Open period: December 20th, 2020 to late February (8am–7pm)
- Typical touring time: 2–3 hours
The Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo is another important event of Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival.
Square miles of giant snow sculptures made by artists from all over the world are displayed there. Unlike the better-known ice sculptures, these are not lit up at night and are best seen in sunlight.
- Recommended tour: 4-Day Harbin Ice Wonderland Experience and Short Ski Tour
The Zhaolin Park Ice Lantern Festival
- Location: 74 Youyi Street, Daoli District
- Ticket prices: free
- Expected open time: early January in 2021
- Typical touring time: 2–3 hours
More than 1,000 ice lantern sculptures are displayed such as internally illuminated ice lanterns, magical figures, and animals that are loved by children. It is mostly an ice world focused on kids. There are interesting activities that kids may enjoy such as ice slides.
Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival Ticket Booking
Visitors can queue at the venues to buy tickets or book online.
Our One-Day Ice and Snow Fairyland Tour will manage the ticket booking for you and enable you to explore the main sites of the Ice and Snow Festival in a hassle-free way, including:
- Siberian Tiger Park and Central Street
- Sun Island — birthplace of China's snow sculpture art
- The Ice and Snow World — wander in the colorful ice fairyland in the evening
There will be long queues on weekends, Christmas Eve/Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. If you want to enjoy less waiting time, you can book a private tour with us. Then you can use the travel agency entrance!
How to Get to Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival
There are plentiful flights to Harbin from major cities such as Beijing (2 hours), Shanghai (3 hours), Hangzhou (3 hours), Guangzhou (4 hours), and Shenzhen (5½ hours). From nearby cities, such as Changchun, it takes about 1½ hours by bullet train.
Getting to the Ice and Snow World
- From Harbin Taiping Airport: 40 minutes' ride (40 km) or 2 hours by airport shuttle bus line 4
- From Harbin West Railway Station: 20 minutes' drive (12 km); no direct bus
- From Harbin Railway Station: 25 minutes by taxi (10 km) or take bus 43 or 29.
- From Sun Island: 40 minutes by taxi (14 km) or take tourist bus line 3
Getting to Sun Island
- From Harbin Taiping Airport: 40 minutes by taxi (41 km)
- From Harbin West Railway Station: 25 minutes by taxi (13 km)
- From Harbin Railway Station: 25 minutes by taxi (10 km)
- From the Ice and Snow World: 13 minutes by taxi (6 km) or take tourist bus line 3
Getting to Zhaolin Park
- From Harbin Taiping Airport: 50 minutes by taxi (37 km)
- From Harbin West Railway Station: 25 minutes by taxi (10 km)
- From Harbin Railway Station: 10 minutes by taxi (3 km)
- From Sun Island: 50 minutes by taxi (19 km)
- Recommended tour: 6-Day Harbin Ice and Snow Festival Experience and Yabuli Ski Tour
Sub-Zero Clothing: In Harbin in winter, the temperature is from -25°C (-13°F) to -10°C (14°F), and that's without wind chill! Hence thermal underwear, gloves, (scarves, earmuffs), hats, (face masks), and thick arctic clothing and boots are necessary. If you have ski boots, they would be ideal.
Wear sunglasses, or better still snow glasses, to prevent snow blindness.
Drink plenty of fluids: Despite the cold it is very dry in Harbin (average humidity 2%).
Frostbite prevention: If your hands or feet start feeling chilled, do some exercise to warm them up or go indoors. If your hands, feet, ears, nose, or other extremities lose feeling due to the cold, don't toast them or wash them with hot water. Ideally retreat to a warmer indoor environment and rub them vigorously to restore circulation slowly.
Protect your camera batteries and mobile phones: The average January high in Harbin is -13°C (8°F). The cold saps battery life and could make your mobile phone shutdown.
Usually a fully charged camera battery will last for 50 photos (without flash), but in these cold conditions around 25 is good. If you take the battery out and warm it for a while, you may be able to take another ten. You can try repeating this action.
It is also recommended that you keep your camera and mobile phones inside your down jacket when not use it. If you want to take lots of photos prepare more batteries for your camera and keep them warm.
Interesting Facts about Harbin Ice Festival
1. How do artists in Harbin make ice sculptures?
First, workers obtain the materials — ice blocks from Songhua River. Then these ice blocks are transported to the venue. The ice blocks are stuck together to form large shapes of the desired dimensions. Then the artists use tools, such as shovels and saws to cut, polish, and shape the ice sculptures that are finally presented to visitors.
2. Do the ice sculptures ever melt in Harbin?
Winter in Harbin is extremely cold. The temperature stays well below 0°C (32°F) for the three months of the Ice and Snow Festival, so the ice sculptures will not melt until March or April when the weather gradually warms up.
3. What will happen to the ice sculptures after the festival?
For some small ice sculptures, it is safe to let them melt naturally. Some large ice sculptures that are dangerous when collapsing during the melting process are dismantled by construction demolition methods, e.g. implosion blasting or excavator and breaker.
4. Why is Harbin International Ice and Snow festival celebrated?
In the 1980s, ice lanterns in Harbin became famous all over the world, after Harbin's traditional ice lantern show re-continued following the Cultural Revolution.
At that time, when receiving Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan compatriots who came to Harbin to enjoy the ice lanterns, the Propaganda Department of Harbin found that visitors not only loved ice lanterns, but were also are interested in snow.
So, the idea of bringing Harbin's ice and snow to the world and the concept of Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival came about. The first Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival was held in 1985.
Our Best-Selling Harbin Tours
If you are planning a Harbin tour, please see our recommended customizable tour plans below for inspiration:
- 1-Day Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival Tour
- 7-Day Harbin, Yabuli, China Snow Town, and Jilin Tour
- 7-Day Harbin, China Snow Town, and Changbai Mountain Tour
- 5-Day Harbin and China Snow Town Tour
Or contact us if you have any questions or other requirements.