China Guide

Harbin Climate A Guide to Harbin’s Seasons Seasonal Attractions

Harbin Climate

As a region of China’s far north east, Harbin experiences a similar climate as Montreal in Canada which shares the same latitude. With this positioning it has a continental climate with four distinct seasons though experiences much cooler climate than most other Chinese cities.

It is not a coincidence that Harbin is fondly known as the ‘Ice City’ as it is one of the best winter destinations in China. Because of its long cold winters it is not only the coldest of China’s cities, it is also one of the most attractive during this time. With the beautiful white scenery and numerous winter activities, it is a place you must visit.

Above all, and if for no other reason but this, visit during January when the city is its coldest and the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival is in full swing. This ice festival is famous world wide for its impeccable ice and snow sculptures created by fantastically talented artists. The exhibition of sculptures is open to the public usually from January 5th onward and usually goes on for about a month.

However to help you choose and prepare for your travel in all the different seasons, here is a guide to Harbin in each season:


Starting in winter which lasts from December to February, Harbin is full with tourists, most of which are here to see the Harbin Ice Festival or take advantage of the beautiful skiing facilities. There are two main ski resorts; Yabuli and Jihua Ski Resorts, which have excellent landscapes and beautiful scenery for families to enjoy. Temperatures in winter drop to an average of 14.2°C so i is important that if you travel in this time you are prepared with warm clothes including snow boots, down jackets, woolly hats and the like otherwise you won’t enjoy your trip too much being cold.


Spring lasts from March into May where the climate remains largely dry and windy. Temperatures in Spring time vary widely however are usually within the range of 2 11°C. Because Harbin stays rather cold during this time it is advisable to bring with you similar clothes as you would in winter with an additional few light jackets in case it warms up in the afternoons.


Summers in Harbin are still quite cool especially in comparison to most Chinese cities. Summer lasts from June to August, July being the hottest month with temperatures climbing up sometimes to a very warm 28°C but not often exceeding it. Average temperatures in summer are around 20°C so even though you will have packed t shirts and shorts it is a good idea to also take with you some warmer clothes especially for the cooler evenings. Note also that Harbin experiences the most rainfall during this season so rain jackets and umbrellas are also a good idea.


September through to November is the autumn season in Harbin where temperatures again vary significantly. Temperatures range from the very cold 11°C to a comfortable 12°C. The first snow appears usually in the middle of October or even early November so prepare for the snow when packing for your trip with your snow clothes and boots as well as some lighter clothes for the warmer days.

All in all Harbin is a very winter orientated city hence the tourist season being in winter. However if the snow isn’t your thing try visiting between July and September for some very pleasurable climate.