Summary: Harrisonburg, Virginia is a charming city that offers plenty of attractions for visitors to enjoy. From outdoor activities to cultural experiences, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city. Here, we will highlight some of the top attractions that you should not miss when traveling to Harrisonburg.
1. Explore the Outdoors
Harrisonburg is surrounded by the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains, making it an excellent destination for nature lovers. The Shenandoah National Park is only a short drive away, offering opportunities for hiking, camping, and breathtaking scenic drives. The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are also nearby, providing miles of trails for hiking and biking, as well as rivers for kayaking and fishing.
If you are looking for a more leisurely outdoor experience, head to Hillandale Park or Purcell Park, both popular spots for picnicking, frisbee golf, and playgrounds for children. The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum is another great place to enjoy nature, with over 125 acres of gardens and woodlands to explore.
No matter what your outdoor interests are, Harrisonburg has options to accommodate all ages and activity levels.
2. Experience Local History and Culture
Harrisonburg has a diverse mix of cultures and histories, showcasing both the city’s agricultural roots and its thriving arts scene. A visit to the Explore More Discovery Museum, located in downtown, is perfect for families with young children who want a hands-on learning experience.
The historic Harrisonburg Farmers Market is also worth a visit. Established in 1750, it remains one of the oldest farmers markets in the United States. You can find fresh produce, pottery, jewelry, and other unique crafts made by local artisans.
Cultural performances are also a highlight in Harrisonburg. The Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at James Madison University hosts a variety of shows, from musicals to ballet performances. In addition, the Court Square Theater in downtown presents independent and classic films.
3. Taste the Local Cuisine
Harrisonburg has a thriving local food scene, showcasing a variety of international flavors as well as classic Southern dishes. The city is known for its farm-to-table restaurants, such as The Local Chop and Grill House, which uses ingredients sourced from local farmers.
If you are looking for a more casual dining experience, check out Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint, a popular spot for craft beer and delicious burgers. For dessert, head to Kline’s Dairy Bar, a Harrisonburg institution that has been serving up homemade ice cream for over 75 years.
If you are interested in trying some local wine or beer, Harrisonburg has several breweries and wineries that offer tastings and tours. Brothers Craft Brewing and Pale Fire Brewing are two local favorites, while Bluestone Vineyard offers scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
4. Shop Local
If you are in the mood for some retail therapy, Harrisonburg has plenty of options for unique shopping experiences. Downtown Harrisonburg is home to several boutique shops and galleries, featuring handmade crafts and locally designed clothing and jewelry.
The Agora Downtown Market is another great place to check out, a European-style market with a variety of food vendors, artisans, and live music. If you are a book lover, stop by the friendly and inviting Black Swan Books and Music for a wide selection of used books and vinyl records.
Whether you are looking for a new piece of artwork for your home or an unusual gift for a loved one, Harrisonburg has something for everyone.
5. Attend Festivals and Events
Harrisonburg hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, highlighting the city’s diverse cultural, musical, and culinary offerings. The Rocktown Beer and Music Festival, held in downtown Harrisonburg every spring, is a popular event that features some of the best craft beers from around the region and live music from local artists.
The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival takes place in nearby Orkney Springs during the summer months, showcasing a variety of musical genres and performers, both local and national.
If you are interested in learning more about the area’s agricultural traditions, the Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale is a must-visit event. Held in October, this festival offers homemade food, quilts, and crafts made by members of the local Mennonite community, with all proceeds going to charity.
With its rich natural beauty, fascinating history and culture, diverse cuisine, shopping options, and numerous festivals and events, it’s easy to see why Harrisonburg, Virginia is a popular destination for travelers of all ages and interests. No matter what you’re into, there is sure to be something that will make your visit to Harrisonburg a memorable one.