How to Spend 2 Days in Harbin
Two days in Harbin allows you time for more than just the vast ice sculptures and intricate snow carvings at the city’s celebrated Ice and Snow Festival. You can discover the city’s multicultural history, enjoy some signature wildlife experiences, and savor delicious cuisine. Here’s how to make the most of 48 hours in Harbin.
Day 1: Winter Wonderland
**Morning:**Start the day with a Harbin highlights reel. Ride the cableway over the Songhua River, and, in winter, enjoy slides, rides, and local games on its frozen surface. Then discover the city’s Russian heritage with a stroll down historic Zhongyang Street and a visit to the Byzantine-style St. Sophia Cathedral.
**Afternoon:**In winter, spend the afternoon and early evening exploring the Ice and Snow Festival. See the snow sculptures on Sun Island before the light fades, then head to the vast Ice and Snow World theme park to capture the ice sculptures at twilight. In summer, visit the indoor ice-sculpture gallery on Sun Island.
**Night:**Delve deeper into Harbin’s Russian history with vodka and Russian food at a restaurant such as Russia Coffee and Food, with its antiques and historic photos. Cap off the evening with a stroll along the Songhua River; in winter, don’t miss the illuminated ice lanterns in Zhaolin Park.
Day 2: Animal Magic
**Morning:**Particularly if you’re traveling with kids, spend the morning taking in one of the city’s two star animal attractions. See tigers, plus a wealth of other big cats, at the Siberia Tiger Park. Or admire cold-climate animals, including Arctic foxes, penguins, polar bears, and beluga whales, at Harbin Polarland.
**Afternoon:**Delve deeper into Harbin’s rich history. Choose to explore the city’s Jewish heritage, from synagogues to cemeteries, on a cultural tour. Alternatively, discover the cruel world of Japanese medical experiments during World War II with a visit to the heart-rending Unit 731 Museum.
**Evening:**There’s hot competition for the title of China’s best dumplings, but Harbin is definitely a candidate, with robust northern Chinese fare that’s very different from southern dim sum. Discover them at a dedicated dumpling eatery such as Orient King of Dumplings and wash them down with black tea or Harbin Beer.