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Winter Wonderland

January 09, 2017
Longqing Gorge Ice & Snow Festival
Beijing can be beautiful with a dusting of snow, but for an enchanting sense of the season, it’s worth escaping town. Those seeking a winter wonderland have one location in their sights: Longqing Gorge, an 80-kilometre drive north-west of town, and home to the country’s magical Ice & Snow Festival, held each January and February.

The setting, slung between two mountains, creates a spectacular backdrop, but it’s the frozen artworks that will send chills up your spine. Welcoming a new theme every year, this popular event sees expert local and international ice carvers sculpting ice into architectural edifices and startling shapes, with over 400 massive ice sculptures depicting temples, palaces and castles, as well as animals, mythological creatures, natural forms, zodiac signs, lanterns and snowflakes.

Look out for over-the-top centrepiece displays, which have previously featured an ice waterfall and dragon. Regular fixtures include the Peacock Welcoming Spring, Soaring Dragon, Smiling Face and Nature’s Annual Revival. Even lucky celebrities get the frosty treatment.

Like your frozen artworks with mood lighting? These eye-catching creations light up at night, with a vibrant colour palette guaranteed to rock your Insta feed. Folk dancing, fireworks, pageants, and ice sports – from skating to ice fishing – tick that ‘something for everyone’ box, ensuring kids, adults, locals and travellers will all have a smile on their dials. Dress warmly and hit the nearby cafes afterwards for hot tea. Brrrr!

Until 27 Feb, 2017.

Longqing Gorge / North Gucun Village / Jiuxian Town / Yanqing / 9am–10pm daily

Photo © Brian Jeffery Beggerly /