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China’s northernmost city, Harbin was founded in 1897 as a camp for Russian engineers surveying the Trans-Siberian Railway. This city of ice and snow has capitalized on its infamous winters and is host to the annual Harbin Ice Festivals. Starting out as a nothing more than a camp, the modern and beautiful city of Harbin has grown far beyond its original limits. Harbin Airport serves as the point of entry and is a 45-minute drive from the city.

Though extremely chilly, the snow and ice of the winter months in Harbin set the scene for a number of festivals and attractions. There is no greater one than the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, held between January and February. Ice and Snow World is one of the world’s largest ice architecture parks, and Zhaolin Park is considered a must-see during the Ice Festival thanks to its traditional ice lanterns. Sun Island Park is a major venue for the festivals during the winter months, and in the summer, it is considered to be the best natural summer venue. Siberian Tiger Park is next to Sun Island and is a great venue for the animal lover. Outside the seasonal attractions, Harbin offers some excellent city treats. Russian architecture can be explored in the old quarters with St. Sophia Cathedral – now the Harbin Museum of Architecture – serving as the main attraction. More European architecture as well as opportunities for shopping and dining can be enjoyed along Central Street, one of Asia’s longest pedestrian streets.

Be sure to check out the interactive map of Harbin for information on hotel locations, attractions, and must-see destinations.