13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice

By Leslie Horn on at

Buildings made of ice. We're not talking about that novelty bar you visited on a trip to Vegas. We're talking incredible, impressive, complete structures, built in the grand tradition of Ice Palaces all over the world.

Wrap up. This might get chilly.


The very first ice hotel was erected in 1990 in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. Made out of 10,000 tons of ice "harvested" from the Torne River, Icehotel is rebuilt every year.

13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice


St. Paul started holding its annual Winter Carnival after a snooty New York reporter wrote that Minnesota was "unfit for human habitation" in the winter. Its yearly centrepiece? This impressive ice palace.

13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice

Image credit: St. Paul Almanac


Eagle River, Wisconsin is another small midwestern town that builds an ice palace every year. It started back in the 20s because apparently there wasn't much else to do. Seriously, that's the explanation on the town's website.

13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice

Image credit: EagleRiver.org


Of course we can't talk about ice buildings without going to the Great White North. The ice palace at Quebec's annual winter carnival is so amazing, it almost doesn't even look like it was made out of ice.

13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice

Image credit: Carnaval de Québec


While we're in Québec, we must mention the beautiful Hôtel de Glace, the only ice hotel in North America. Made of 15,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice, it has 36 rooms and hosts around 140,000 visitors every year.

13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice

Image credit: Lori Ziimer/Flickr


It also has a chapel.

13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice

Image credit: Lori Ziimer/Flickr


And a bar.

13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice

Image credit: Lori Ziimer/Flickr


And a freaking slide.

13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice

Image credit: Flickr


Planning a trek to Norway? Drape yourself in animal furs and drink vodka for warmth in the country's northernmost ice hotel, the swank Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel.

13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice

Image credit: Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel


The Lainio Snow Village in Finland opens every year in December and stays open at least through April. It even has an ice disco.

13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice

Image credit: Flickr


The LumiLinna Snowcastle in Finland is so crazy and cartoonish it looks like it was inspired by a fairytale monstrosity.

13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice

Image credit: Snowcastle.net


Harbin, China hosts the International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival every year, where giant icy edificies are illuminated for a beautiful spectacle.

13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice

Image credit: Flickr Blog


Likewise, Yanqing Ice Festival, held every February in Beijing during the Lunar New Year, features towering ice houses.

13 Ridiculously Cool Buildings Made of Ice

Image credit: Edecio Martinez/Getty Images