Harbin Ice & Snow Festival
Every winter from early December to late February (officially the festival opens 5 January), Harbin dons a fur-lined, technicolour dreamcoat of ice, snow and neon and gets down, Narnia style, no matter that it is mind-numbingly cold and the sun vanishes by mid-afternoon.
The festivities are centred around the spectacular Harbin Ice and Snow World, a theme park built of ice 7.5km outside of town, complete with gargantuan recreations of world monuments and hair-raising ice slides, and the remarkable Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo a few kilometres away on Sun Island Scenic Area.
Lies on the north bank of the Songhua River, the Sun Island Scenic Area is a dainty area surrounded by crystal lake, wooden rockeries, beautiful flowers and exotic buildings. This scenic area can be divided into three parts, including an Animals' world, a garden that featured by flowers, lakes and ice-snow beauty, and the south part with ice and snow series, exotic Russian series, etc.
Inside the park, there are some interesting activities, such as dog sledding, snow tubing, bicycle riding on ice, and a snow motor car ride. Also some little cafes where you can warm up.
Church of St Sophia
The red-brick Russian Orthodox Church of St Sophia, with its distinctive green onion dome and roosting pigeons, is Harbin’s most famous landmark. Built in 1907 and expanded in 1932, it was the largest Orthodox church in the Far East and the centre of spiritual life for 100,000 Russian settlers. After surviving the Cultural Revolution it was used as a warehouse for a department store. Declared a protected landmark in the 1990s, the church was restored and the square cleared.
Zhongyang Pedestrian Street
Zhongyan Pedestrian Street, also called Centre Street, is one of the landmarks in Harbin city, with elegant Russian architecture from a bygone era. It is the place where traditional Eastern culture meets the western culture. You can buy the local and exotic souvenirs, tasting both Chinese and Russian snacks, and appreciating the western styled buildings with there. It is absolutely the best place to shop, eat and photograph in Harbin city.
Harbin New Synagogue
This synagogue was built in 1921 by the city's Jewish community, the vast majority of whom had emigrated from Russia. Beautifully restored and converted into a museum in 2004, the 2nd and 3rd floors present a fascinating exhibition on the history and rich cultural life of Harbin’s Jews.
Siberian Tiger Park
Located on the north bank of Songhua River, the Siberian Tiger Park is the largest natural park for wild Siberian tigers in the world. You can see the Siberian tigers, white tigers, lions, lynx, leopards, as well as Bengali tigers there. Except in the walking area and the platform for viewing the tigers, visitors must take a bus encircled by wire mesh to go through different sections of the park. There is also a lovely gift shop with anything you can think of tigers.