Do you love winter? Many people claim it as their favorite season! Snowball fights, ice sculptures, sledding, and building snow castles — there are so many fun things to do when the temperature dips and the ground turns white. From the American Midwest to China and from Scandinavia to Quebec, the world’s best ice and snow festivals will help you to appreciate even the coldest and snowiest weather!
No one can beat the Canadians when it comes to celebrating winter! The largest festival in North America takes place in the Upper Town and Charlesbourg areas of Quebec City. The Montréal Snow Festival, or Fête des Neiges, is another fabulous celebration with ice-sculpting contests, dogsled races, and other performances. In the Canadian capital of Ottawa, the Winterlude — also known as the Bal de Neige — is one of the largest annual events, that attracts over a million people.
Lifelike ice dragons and other fairy-tale creatures can be found at the annual World Ice Art Championships held in Fairbanks, Alaska. Skiing, dog sledding, and other frost-filled activities will let you experience real winter. And don’t forget Winterfest at Denali National Park, one of the most beautiful places in Alaska.
If you can’t get to Alaska, look no further than Minnesota for a true celebration of snow and ice. The Saint Paul Winter Carnival has been a major winter event since 1886 with parades, a beer festival, dogsled races, and much more.
In Finland, winter can easily last five months, so it’s no wonder that Finns get very creative when it comes to ice and snow architecture. In the Laplan region of Levi, The Icium Wonderland of Ice is one of the best spots on the planet to see massive ice sculptures and ice-constructed buildings.
Ice and music go together in the Norse world. The Ice and Music Festival in Norway is literally the coolest music event! It showcases horns, percussions, cellos, harps, and other instruments — all carved from ice blocks. To see ice musicians play these instruments is an amazing experience that takes place in the mountainous village of Geilo.
Another event the combines snow and music is the Snowbombing festival in Austria. Enjoy skiing, snowboarding, stunning views, and great dance music from the best DJs in Mayrhofen. Finally, don’t forget about Zwolle's snow and ice sculpture festival in the Netherlands, the biggest event of this kind in Europe.
Asia is home to some of the greatest ice and snow festivals. In the capital city on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, the annual Sapporo snow festival in Odori Park features dozens of huge, beautiful and colorfully lit snow statues. Visitors can also attend concerts and performances during the festival.
If you want to partake in something really unusual, try barehanded fishing in a pool of freezing water at the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival in South Korea!
Every winter, Beijing offers a Winter Wonderland experience at Bird’s Nest, the site of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Here, the National Stadium hosts a snow park, a ski facility, and a skating area.
The capital of China’s northernmost province of Heilongjiang, Harbin, gets a lot of snow in winter. What to do with all that snow? Harbin hosts the most popular winter festival in China, which features some of the biggest ice sculptures in the world!