Chances are you’ve seen an ice sculpture before, whether in a town competition or a museum, but this festival in China is unlike anything you’ve seen before. The Harbin Snow and Ice Festival has been held in Harbin, China, since 1985. The festival went ahead this year as planned — minus the events and performances that would have brought large crowds together in one place.
Each year, workers use blocks of ice from the Songhua River for artists to use as material for their ice sculptures. The result is a massive, sprawling city of life-sized ice sculptures that will truly make your jaw drop. This year’s highlights include a crystal palace, a 220-square-foot ice bar, and a scale model of China’s first aircraft carrier made completely out of snow.
In addition to the sculptures, there are also opportunities to ski, ice skate, play ice soccer, and even ride bicycles.
The festival, which is currently in its 37th year, is part of the government’s initiative to increase winter tourism. This is particularly true as the country gets ready to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Entrance to the festival costs $45, and it runs from January 5 to February 25.