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Harrisonburg is a city of 52,000 people (2020) in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia,. The city is a major financial and retail center for eight counties in Virginia, and even draws people from parts of neighboring West Virginia. There is a traditionally strong agricultural base, but there has been tremendous growth in retail and industry sectors.

Get in[edit]

The main way into Harrisonburg is via I-81.

Get around[edit]

Map of Harrisonburg

There are buses that run in Harrisonburg, and downtown Harrisonburg is compact and walkable. To explore the city, however, you will likely want to have a car.


  • James Madison University (JMU): The university has a beautiful campus that is worth exploring. The campus is divided into three sections. The old section is off South Main Street and is referred to as the Quad. It is the prettiest part of campus. The middle of campus is less aesthetically appealing, but the new section of campus is much prettier and features nice views of the mountains.


  • Go hiking, Harrisonburg is near the George Washington National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is great hiking in the National Forest. The drive there is also beautiful and passes through Mennonite communities.
  • Hardesty-Higgins House Visitors Center, 212 S. Main St., +1 540-432-8935. A great place to start any visit to Harrisonburg, especially the downtown area. This place functions as an information center for tourists and visitors, and has a very nice gift shop and a museum area. The website is full of information for anyone planning a visit to the area.
  • Explore More Discovery Museum, 30 N. Main St., +1 540-442-8900. Great place to take your kids! Super-fun hands-on exhibits for a variety of ages.
  • James Madison Dukes, +1 540 568-3853 (ticket info; call or text), . James Madison University's sports teams are the city's best-known institutions on the national scene. The Dukes made the jump from the second level of college football, Division I FCS, to FBS in 2022, joining the Sun Belt Conference (SBC). Almost all of the Dukes' venues are on campus, with the most notable being the football team's 1 Bridgeforth Stadium and the basketball teams' home of 2 Atlantic Union Bank Center, which also houses the central ticket office for JMU sports. James Madison Dukes (Q6138758) on Wikidata James Madison Dukes on Wikipedia
  • 3 Virginia Quilt Museum, 301 S. Main St (at the south end of downtown Harrisonburg; there is a small parking lot beside the building that connects to the larger Farmer's Market lot), +1 540-433 3818, . Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM. The Virginia Quilt Museum cultivates and preserves the quilting arts in Virginia as the state's Official Quilt Museum. The museum promotes a unique blend of art and cultural heritage, with three floors of gallery space and exhibitions that change at least three times a year. $8.


The community is a major educational center.

  • James Madison University, [1]. A public university that was found in 1908 and has approximately 20,000 students with a 630-acre campus. Offers undergraduate and graduate level degrees.
  • Eastern Mennonite University, [2]. A Christian liberal arts university that enrolls approximately 920 students. It is also the home of the Eastern Mennonite Seminary.



  • The Little Grill, 621 N. Main St., +1 540-434-3594. A cute, counterculture restaurant in Harrisonburg. Started by JMU students, the restaurant is owned as a collective and serves cheap, unique dishes.
  • Taste of Thai, 917 S. High St., +1 540-801-8878. A surprisingly good Thai restaurant.
  • Mr. J's Bagels. With 3 locations around town, Mr. J's is a local favorite that is often packed on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The bagels are delicious.
  • Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza, 80 W. Water St., +1 540-433-1366. Serving wood-fired pizza, handmade pasta, fresh bread, and delicious desserts, made with locally-sourced ingredients. Great selection of regional beers on tap and a well-chosen wine list.
  • Cuban Burger, 70 W. Water St., +1 540-860-0855. Delicious Cuban food.
  • Magpie Diner & Bakery, 85 W Gay Street, +1 540-383-4813, . Tuesday-Sunday. Breakfast and lunch modern diner and bakery housed in a renovated 1940s tire repair shop. Breakfast served all day and popular weekend brunch.


Harrisonburg is known for its nightlife because of JMU students. In downtown Harrisonburg, there are many fun places to drink and many cheap drink specials.

  • Clementine, 153 S. Main St, +1 540-801-8881. A nice, colorful restaurant and bar that features live music and has a lovely outdoor patio.
  • Jack Brown's Beer & Burger Joint, 80 S. Main St., +1 540-433-5225. Very small, but extremely popular, this place often has a line out the door. Great selection of craft beers, delicious burgers, and don't miss the fried oreo for dessert! They do have outdoor seating nearly year-round.
  • 1 Pale Fire Brewing Company, 217 S Liberty St #105 (in the former Ice House), +1 540-217-5452. Pale Fire is a microbrewery with a popular outdoor patio, where people can order delivery from a variety of local restaurants.
  • 2 Sage Bird Ciderworks, 325 N Liberty St, +1 540 607-8084, . Warm and welcoming cidery in downtown. Great cider, friendly atmosphere. Outskirts Food Truck provides eats. Trivia on Thursdays, Karaoke on Fridays.



Luray, Virginia[edit]

  • Luray Caverns, one of the most detailed, beautiful caverns in the world, about 30 minutes away from Harrisonburg.

Reddish Knob[edit]

A mountain peak on the Virginia-West Virginia border:

  • Reddish Knob,[3] a well known nearby peak that has wonderful views of the Shenandoah Valley. Bill Clinton gave an important speech about the protection of National Forests from the peak of Reddish Knob.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Harrisonburg
HagerstownNew Market  N  S  StauntonRoanoke
WestonFranklin  W  E  → Jct N SRichmondEND

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