China's most prominent northern city, Harbin is famous for its brutally cold winters, some of which reach -36 degrees Fahrenheit (a chilly -38 degrees Celsius). Located in the northeast, the traditional homeland of the Manchu Qing Dynasty, for centuries Harbin was off-limits to non-Manchu settlers. Following China's opening to the world, however, Harbin became an increasingly cosmopolitan, prosperous city, and soon fell under the influence of Russia. Following the 1917 Soviet Revolution, a mass exodus of White Russians, or supporters of the Czar, fled to Harbin. Today, the Russian influences live on in Harbin's architecture and cuisine, and the city itself is pleasant and comfortable.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

Center Street

Take an early morning stroll down Center Street, the main artery of Harbin’s old city. Enjoy the beautiful early twentieth century Russian architecture, a rare sight in modernizing China.

Harbin International Snow and Ice Festival

If visiting in January or February, visit the Harbin International Snow and Ice Festival, held in various locations around Harbin. Massive structures, including replicas of the Roman Coliseum and the Forbidden City, are finely crafted out of snow and ice, entire blocks of which are cut from the nearby Songhua River, creating a frosty wonderland of epic proportions.

Siberian Tiger Reserve

Drive to the nearby Siberian Tiger Reserve, where you can see hundreds of tigers and witness a feeding.

St. Sophia Cathedral

See the St. Sophia Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox Christian church built in 1923 that houses an architecture museum of the city of Harbin.

Yabuli Ski Resort

Spend the day hitting the slopes at Yabuli Ski Resort, China’s largest ski resort and host of the 1996 Winter Asian Games.

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