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[Offbeat]: Welcome to Ice Town, Shanghai's Harbin

A bunch of cartoon penguins, ducks, and bears that look like WeChat stickers just opened an ice park in Pudong.
By Feb 2, 2015 Activities

Cartoon penguins, ducks and bears have opened a mini Harbin Ice Festival in a warehouse near the Dapu Bridge, opposite the new M21 Art Museum. Much like the real Harbin, this place has illuminated ice monuments, frozen slides, and visitors sporting looks from Russian Border Town Fashion Week, like “Crazy Birds” down jackets and Uggs inscribed with passages from the Necronomicon.

After purchasing a ticket (100rmb/person on weekdays, 130rmb/person on weekends, including one child under 1m tall), expect to queue for an hour or so before getting into the place. There’s not much to do while you wait except box out queue cutters and watch food-coloring-powered silver iodide rocket children obliterate clouds of cotton candy.

After winding your way through the outdoor queue, you offer up your ticket and join the classy indoor queue, for which the Mayor of Ice Town commissioned these paintings of his politburo posing as famous works of art.

Next you’re funneled into a gift shop holding cell where you and your expedition party can buy a memento of the experience you haven’t yet had and rent the jackets of visitors who didn’t make it out of Ice Town alive. Those are 20rmb.

Renting extra clothes when you’re already wearing your mid-winter Shanghai get-up might sound like a scam but Ice Town is seriously fucking cold. They say its seven degrees Celsius below zero, or 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The smell of Freon hits as soon as you walk inside.

First up is a micro ice labyrinth and ice sculptures of a frozen pirate ship, a bull fight, and the Star Spawn of Cthulu. Then it’s back to queueing, this time for one of the obligatory slides, and it’s here, standing still, that you’ll freeze your tits off.

Climbing a short flight of stairs, you’ll summit a mini Mountain of Madness with views over the whole warehouse. Here you have the choice of two slides, one straight and one curved, both of which you ride down Aladdin style, on squares of carpet. Here's the first slide.

Almost everyone goes for the curved slide, which is longer and allows you to pick up a phenomenal amount of speed. It angles up at the end, ostensibly to slow your momentum. If you weigh more than 50kg, however, the incline at the end is really just a launchpad for interplanetary travel, an express flight to see the Elder Things on their home turf. The two employees stationed at the bottom of the slide to help with deceleration didn’t catch me till my feet were above their heads.

At Ice World, there are icy versions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower, and this sculpture of you pissing yourself as you fly off the slide.

There’s also this lady, muse of the immortal Bob Log III and his song lyric “Boob Scotch! / Boob Scotch on the rocks”.

Speaking of Scotch, there’s a bar inside Ice Town. In fact, the whole place is sort of derivative of those ice bars sponsored by vodka-brands that were popular before global warming.

Bumper boats on ice. Never seen these before. It’s 30rmb per boat, with room for two. Pretty fun. bicycles. Same price as the bumper boats.

Head past a few more sculptures, another gift shop, a knock off KFC canteen, and you’re out of there, colder, less optimistic about the future of mankind, but modestly entertained. So long, Ice Town, blasphemous, horror-fostering abyss whence vapors come.


Getting There: Ice Town is just across the river at 2095 Expo Avenue, near Tangzijing Lu. That's a fifteen minute walk from the Line 8 China Art Museum station. They're open daily from 11am-8pm until March 8.

If you can navigate Chinese websites, you can book discounted tickets on Gewara, otherwise you can just show up and buy tickets.



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  • handoogies

    Hahahaha it seems like we are going back in time in terms of entertainment options in Shanghai

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