Skip to main content

Hot in Harbin: World's most spectacular winter festival opens

By Grace Huang, for CNN
updated 1:32 AM EST, Thu January 23, 2014
Cue jaw drops. Amazing ice sculptures and replicas highlight the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in the northern Chinese city of Harbin. Cue jaw drops. Amazing ice sculptures and replicas highlight the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in the northern Chinese city of Harbin.
HIDE CAPTION
Ice fest kicks off January 5, 2014
City of ice. And lights
Ice Iceland
Biggest ice
Replica Colosseum
Pretty, but cold
River resource
Night riders
Winter ball
World travel
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Harbin Ice and Snow Festival kicks off January 5
  • Festival gets more extravagant each year
  • Replica of Iceland's Hallgrimskirkja church made with 12,000 meters of ice
  • Fest attendance 28.5 million visitors over past two years

(CNN) -- Planning on building an igloo or snowman this winter?

Sorry, we're not impressed.

The neighborhood kids might not be, either, after they see what ice sculptors have planned for the 2014 Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.

Kicking off on January 5, this frosty wonderland in northern China features crazy sculptures made from massive ice blocks and illuminated with colorful LED lights.

Sculptors have been carving away with ice picks, chisels and lasers for the last two weeks in preparation.

The result is an exhibition of extravagant castles, a Colosseum and Empire State Building, all made with ice blocks from the frozen Songhua River.

Is anything in China not getting bigger?

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014, the winter festival gets more impressive and more extravagant each year.

The highlight is a towering replica of the Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavik, Iceland. According to organizers, the structure is the tallest ice sculpture in China (46 meters) and was made with 12,000 meters of ice.

The replica features a 240-meter-long slide for visitors.

Apart from replicas, the North Korea Pyongyang National Acrobatic Troupe will perform.

Visitors can skate on ice rinks and snowboard.

As China's most famous and popular winter attraction, the festival has drawn a combined 28.5 million visitors in the past two years.

To combat Harbin's sub-zero temperatures, organizers have set up 13 hot beverage stations around the park and offer complementary ginger tea at its concierge hall.

Depending on weather, the festival is open until March 2014.

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, Songbei, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China; +86 451 8488 4363; RMB 300 ($50) for adult entrance

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 2:26 AM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
the Teufelsberg or
Spooks have left their mark on a once-divided city still thought to be an espionage hotbed.
updated 6:06 PM EDT, Sun August 24, 2014
nanjing, handicrafts
With more than 6,000 years of history, Nanjing is one of the few cities in China still practicing the country's endangered traditional crafts.
updated 12:10 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Rock and weather collide over millennia to create natural bridges. Here are 15 of our favorites from around the world.
updated 1:39 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
A one-nun brewing operation, Sister Doris is putting Germany's women beer makers on the map. Sort of.
updated 2:07 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
From Myanmar to Mickey Mouse, Stefan Zwanzger, aka The Theme Park Guy, gives his rundown of the best.
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Four hundred years after the death of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, her murderous exploits prove a grisly attraction.
updated 8:50 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Formed by volcanoes and steeped in a rich history of Polynesian culture, Hawaii sounds more like a place in a fantasy novel rather than an American travel oasis.
updated 7:56 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Despite Kyoto's allure, until this year there's been a glaring absence from the city's travel scene -- a top tier, super-luxury hotel brand.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Why global adventurer Alastair Humphreys now looks for 'microadventures' close to home.
updated 7:33 AM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
Don't order Corona and don't freak out when you see Jessica Alba without makeup and you might pass for local.
updated 7:01 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
History buff? Hardcore surfer? These South Pacific islands have every traveler covered.
updated 11:14 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Airlines and airports are going high-tech to reduce your time in line.
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
updated 2:32 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Eight of the top 10 scoring cities in the Economic Intelligence Unit's annual Liveability Survey are in Australia and Canada.
updated 6:21 PM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
When a man tells me to "trust him," my typical reaction is to run.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT