Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival: Child playing on a slide
(Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

While many people prefer to hunker down during the winter months, you might think differently if you lived in Harbin, China.

Though this city is located in Heilongjiang, the country's northernmost (and coldest!) province, people here have spent decades perfecting strategies for fending off the winter blues and staying active in a subzero climate.

The general attitude in Harbin is that when life gives you icicles, make ice castles! What that means for residents is that, in addition to skiing, snowmobiling and winter swimming, the best way to relish the season is to organize an elaborate two-month-long ice and snow festival.

Known officially as the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, this winter cultural event features larger-than-life snow sculptures, as well as entire buildings, slides and mazes created from ice cut from the nearby Songhua River. When the sun goes down, the frosty mini-city takes on an entirely new character as it's illuminated with a psychedelic rainbow of lights.

For a glimpse of what it's like to experience the festival's vivid winter wonderland, check out the video below:

It's a stunning sight, but if you can't make it there this year, continue below for a frosty taste of what you're missing!

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival: People walking through colorful maze
(Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

Ice slide in Harbin, China
(Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival: Frozen city
(Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

People take a selfie with a selfie stick at the Harbin Ice City.
(Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival: Colorful pillars
(Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival: Igloo
(Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

A pair of bundled up police officers in Harbin, China.
(Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival: People posing with ice sculptures
(Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival: Child sliding belly-down
(Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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