Top Things to Do in Winter in Harbin (Tips, Photos & Maps)

Plan your Harbin tour in winter? As the coldest city in the most northern China, Harbin’s coldest months fall on late December through early March. Late November through the whole January is the snowing season and January is the coldest month with the average temperature at -25 ℃.  Harbin’s winter is dry, cold and long coupled with a longer period of snow covering.

Winter is the best season to visit Harbin with the main draws seeing and touching the snow, and January and February are the season for ice and snow festivals in Harbin. 

Winter Major Attraction Map of Harbin (Google Map)

If you are going to visit Harbin in winter, we are going to round up the top things to do in winter for your quick guide.

1. Eat Popsicles on Zhongyang Street 

Zhongyang Street is a unique European-style pedestrian street, 1450m long with lines of edifices, masses of entertainment areas, and colorful cultural life.

All of these buildings are in various styles including renaissance style, baroque style, eclectic style, as well as modern style, the profound history of architecture, a real “Architecture Art Gallery” in China.

Please take it and have a bite!

A leisure stroll along the street is a must on your winter trip to Harbin. One thing you must do on the street is to taste the time-honored Madieer popsicles (马迭尔冰棍), a kind of milk ice pops first made in 1906.

For more information on popsicles,  check out the link: Madieer Popsicles in Harbin  .

Having a bite of Madieer popsicles at the temperature of -25℃ is an interesting experience, wearing down jacket and seeing our own breath, a beautiful “Cold” scene.  You may ask where the Madieer Beverage House is located, no worrying about that since you will easily see people line up and eat popsicles on the street. Check out Zhongyang Street.

2. Winter Swimming on Harbin Songhua River

Songhua River winding through Harbin does bring lots of fun to the city. Local people have a long tradition of cutting and digging a large square hole or pool used as a swimming pool for winter swimming.

For more information on winter swimming, check out the link:  Harbin Winter Swimming.

Jump into the extremely cold water

Visiting a riverside winter swimming pool dug and cut in Songhua River is not missed. You may even join them and take part in the winter swimming.

Winter swimming in Harbin is quite popular, a game for a brave man, even women! Most of the winter swimmers are high ages,in their 50s or even 60s and 70s! They swim, dive, even do boxing on the ice platform.

3. Winter Activities on Songhua River by Stalin Park

Built in 1953,  the Stalin park is located on the southern bank of the Songhua River, extending 1,750 meters from the Songhua River railway bridge to the east and Jiuzhao Park to the west, it is a belt-shaped open park along the bank.

As its name suggests, the park is the evidence of the friendship between Russia and China at that time.

For more information on Songhua River by Stalin Park, check out: Harbin Ice and Snow Happy Valley.

A huge ice and snow playground

Songhua River freezes solid with a depth of about a meter, naturally creating a wonderful winter sports playground.   Playing on the Songhua River running by Stalin Park is one of the best things to do  for kids  in Harbin, slides, tubes, mats, toboggans,  sledge, skating and more.

4.  Underground Shopping Mall

Hongbo Square Commercial centre (红博广场) is only minutes’ walk from the railway station. Around the square are located many high buildings and shopping centers like “Qiulin” corporate – Harbin No.1 shopping center” corporate.

Under the square is the largest underground shopping mall in Harbin. It is a air-shelter turned underground shopping mall.

For more information on Hongbo Square Underground Shopping Mall, check out the link:  Underground Shopping Mall.

Hongbo Square Underground Shopping Mall

The underground Hongbo shopping mall is like a maze! It actually provides everything from bags, shoes, clothes, silk, tea, table cloth, toys, souvenirs, to pears and jewellery as well all kinds of local products in Harbin.  Check out Hongbo Square for more information.

5. Tasting Harbin Food

Harbin is oft-lauded as the Eastern Paris, as it is the communication spot between Russian culture and Chinese culture. Naturally in its dining field, there is the mixture of Russian style and Chinese style. Taking the authentic Russian meal is a must in your Harbin tour.

In Harbin the Zhongyang Street and the Huanghe Road are the two centralized dining places. Taste flying dragon, take smoked salmon, eat catsup bone…Dining has been one part of the ice city tour, and the taste is more delicious in the freezing weather.

“Shazhucai”, a kind of local flavor, literally meaning “kill a pig cuisine”. It is a stew dish with the ingredients of pork, Chinese vegetable, inners of a pig.

From the funny name “Sha Zhu Cai”, you can understand a bit about the personality of the people in the northeast China. Traditionally local farmers will raise pigs for about 8 months.

When the spring festival is in sight, they will kill the pig to make various kinds of dishes to improve diet and entertain guests. They will make full use of the pig from head to tail, from skin to blood and bone.  Not interested in “Sha Zhu Cai”. Well, have a bite of baked potatoes!   Check out Harbin Eating.

6.  Harbin Polarland 

In Habrin, you are able to experience the real life of the polar region. Harbin Polarland is the first theme park of polar land scenes in China.

Inside the sea-blue elegant building of Pole Aquarium, you will find pure penguin family of South Polar, the most active polar bear brothers in China. 

Fore more information, check out Harbin Polarland. 

Feed the penguins at Polarland

There are also the wild arctic wolves introduced for the first time in Asia and the arctic fox brothers who can run on the running machine. The most thrill is the exciting polar land animal show – the performance presented by sea lions.

In addition, in winter season the polarland will build a “Polar Adventure Island” just outside the main building of Pole Aquarium.  

The Polar Adventure Island is an ice and snow experience project, allowing people to have more interaction with polar animals, getting close to penguins and snow foxes.  

7.  Exploring Siberian Tiger Park

The Siberian Tiger Park is located north of Songhua River, about 37 km from downtown Harbin. There are white tigers, lions,leopards, and black pumas as well as Bengali tigers.

Exploring Siberian Tiger Park

The whole park is divided into ten areas including the domesticating area, mature tiger area, young tiger area,  Africa tiger area, the king tiger area, a walking area and a platform for viewing the tigers.

For more information, check out Siberian Tiger Park .

The park also provides a tour bus  ( a safari-like tour ) to meet the need of tourist pursuing stimulate. The bus is protected by reinforcing steel net.

8. Ice and Snow World (Bingxue Big World)

Situated in the opposite of the Sun Island Landscape, is the largest, the most brilliant and the most complete park, which is also nicknamed “the Ice Disneyland”, or officially known as “冰雪大世界” which is recognized as “Bingxue Big World” by google map.

Blocks of ice are carved into sculptures and buildings and lit from within to provide glittering lights of ice. The structures include tall towers, Buddha Statues and even restaurants made of ice.

For more information,  check out the link:  Ice and Snow World (Bingxue Big World)

Ice Carving at Ice and Snow World

In the Ice and Snow World you will have the unique experiences such as Ice Bar, Ice Hotel, Maze, Climbing Ice Rock, Golf on the ice ground, Football on the ice ground, etc. The ice and Snow World basically starts on Jan 5 and lasts about one month each year.

9. Snow Carving at Sun Island

The Sun Island lies at the north bank of Songhua River, opposite to the Stalin Park. For its attractive landscape all over the year, the Sun Island is a famous scenic spot and a good reputation place in Chinese north regions.

Once a village for Russians, it is now a water-locked sunny natural bathing place with shady trees and belt beaches.  The renowned Snow Carving Festival will be held on Sun Island.

For more information, check out the link:  Snow Carving at Sun Island.

Snow Carving at Sun Island

10.  Skiing at Jinhua Ski Resort

Jinhua Ski Resort  is located  50 km to the southeast of Harbin’s city center, one of China’s top ski resorts. The resort features 15 different ski slopes, which cover a distance of 30 km in total. It  is designed to cater for beginner, medium and advanced-level skiers.

For more information, check out the link:  Jinhua Ski Resort.

Skiing at Jinhua Ski Resort

The resort has a ski school, which provides over 100 professional ski masters. The resort area gets heavy snowfall, with about 150 days of snow every year. It can accommodate 5,000 people at the same time.  All the snow activities and skiing are paid on your own.  After skiing, you will be transferred back to the city of Harbin.

Tip:  Hassle-free Northeast China Escorted Tours

Don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route? No worries, We at Tour Beijing have some options for Northeast China guided tours with English-speaking tour guides:

Harbin Tour
Harbin 3 Day Tour Package
Changchun Tour
Shenyang Tour
Dalian Tour
Dandong Tour
North Korea Tour
Northeast China Tour

Further Readings

Top Attractions in Northeast China
Top 10 Attractions in Harbin
Top 6 Things to Do in Heilongjiang
Top 10 Attractions in Shenyang
Top 10 Attractions in Dandong
Top 10 Attractions in Ji’an
Top 10 Attractions in Panjin
Top 10 Attractions in Dalian (Tips, Photos and Maps)

Best Time to Visit Harbin
Where to Stay in Harbin
Harbin West Railway Station
Top Things to Do in Winter in Harbin
Harbin Ice and Snow Happy Valley
Harbin Ice and Snow World
Harbin Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo
Harbin Winter Swimming
Madieer Popsicles in Harbin
Harbin Jihua Ski Resort
Suan Cai Jiaozi – New Year’s Soul in Dongbei
What to see in Harbin, things to do in Harbin

Yabuli Ski Resort

China Snow Town
Scenic Drive from Harbin to China Snow Town

Shuttle Bus from Harbin to China Snow Town
Harbin – Yabuli – China Snow Town Shuttle Bus
Sunrise Glow over China Snow Village
Night View of China Snow Village

Qiqihar Taxi: Qiqihar Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Mudanjiang Taxi: Mudanjiang Taxi Fares, Tips and phones
Harbin Taxi: Harbin Taxi Fares, Tips and Phone
Yanji Taxi: Yanji Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Jilin Taxi: Jilin Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Changchun Taxi: Changchun Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Dandong Taxi: Dandong Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Shenyang Taxi: Shenyang Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones

Any questions, just drop a line.

4 thoughts on “Top Things to Do in Winter in Harbin (Tips, Photos & Maps)

  1. Hi,

    I am travelling to Harbin from 31st Dec 2016 to 4th Jan 2017. There are few questions that I would like to ask:

    1. Any opening hour for the Winter Activities on Songhua River? Are there any activities at night? as our day time is packed with other activities, we can only visit Songhua River at night.

    2. Which part of Songhua River? (sorry, you did state in the content but i am not too sure on the location). Is it closer to the ice and snow world/ Shangri-la or tai yang iceland/ flood monument?

    3. We plan to visit Volga Manor too. Do you know its opening hour?

    Thank you and hope to hear from you soon.

  2. Hi XTing,

    1. When you are talking about the Winter Activities on Songhua River in the evevening, I think you are referring to Harbin Ice and Snow World (哈尔滨冰雪大世界). The venue is located 3.3 km north of Songhuajiang Road Bridge. If you stay at Shangri-la Hotel, you open the window of your river-view hotel room, you can see the huge disneyland-like ice and snow world in the northwest of Songhua River.

    Officially inaugurating on Jan 05 every years since 1999, Harbin Ice and Snow actually starts around Christmas and ends in early March, lasting about 80 days. On Jan 05, the whole city will be officially on holiday to celebrate the important day.

    At night, all the sculptures are lit from within to provide glittering lights of ice. The structures annually change with different themes.

    When night falls, Harbin Ice and Snow World is at its best!

    Visiting Time: 2 – 4 Hour
    Entrance Fee:
    RMB 150 ( daytime: 09:00 – 12:00)
    RMB300 (evening time: 12:00 – 21:00);
    RMB330 ( Holiday evenings )
    Location: An open and spacious area on the west of Sun Island and northern bank of Songhua River.
    Opening Hours: 9:00 – 21:00

    Check out the link for more information:

    2. More activities on Songhua River
    There are more winter daytime activities on Songhua River near the flood monument.

    Check out the following link for more information:

    Harbin Ice and Snow Happy Valley

    3. Volga Manor opening hour


    Have a nice time in Harbin!

    By the way, China Snow Town ( Xuexiang ) is also a nice place to experience the snow season. Check out the link below:

  3. Hi,

    I’m traveling to Harbin on date 24/11 – 29/11/2019. Will the snow/ice sculpture be open during these dates? Any other activities I can do during the end of Nov? As i realize a lot of things only open during mid Dec – Feb instead.

    Hope to have some advice as I’m not sure where else to go other than the few places in this page 🙂

    Thank you and hope to hear from you soon!

  4. Dear Claris,

    Thanks for your inquiry! Yes, it is still too early to see the ice and snow sculpture in Harbin. At this time of the season, you can enjoy the later autumn view of Harbin. Hope you have a good time in Harbin.

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