Lonely Planet Writer

Where to find ice castles in North America this winter

Winter wonderlands are coming to North America in the next few months, and these icy attractions are certain to boost your Instagram “cool” factor.

Ice castle builder Dan Beck places recently “harvested” icicles onto the ever expanding ice palace at Silverthorne, Colorado in 2011. Photo By Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The structures, built by Utah-based Ice Castles, will be embedded with LED lights that twinkle to music and change colors. The ice castles will be installed in six towns in North America.

The icy attractions can be seen in the following cities:

The ice structures are made up of individual icicles and take a team of 20 to 40 about two months to build. These ‘ice artisans’ harvest around 10,000 icicles, adding them to the ice structure one by one before drenching them with water. Then they’re carved with pickaxes and chainsaws. The process leaves the ice castles looking like natural phenomena, rather than carved, uniform structures. Each castle takes up about an acre of space and weighs around 25 million pounds.

A woman takes photographs inside one of Brent Christensen’s ice castles at Silverthorne, Colorado in 2011. Photo By Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Timing usually depends on Mother Nature, but visitors can expect the ice castles to open around the end of December.

The first ice castle was built in Alpine, Utah, in the front yard of Brent Christensen, who built it for his daughter in 2009. He later co-founded the company Ice Castles.

Tickets start at US$15.95/CA$13.95 for adults. Children under 3 years old get in free.