If you live in Harrisonburg, you already know it’s a great town, but how much do you really know about the city? Harrisonburg offers so much to enjoy that it’s worth getting to know the city a little better in order to fully appreciate everything that’s right outside your apartment door!
Harrisonburg is famous in a variety of ways: the city is the seat of Rockingham County, and the first city in Virginia to harbor a culinary district. Many people refer to Harrisonburg as “The Friendly City”, a nickname that originates from the warmth of its diverse residents and its small-town charm. Urban amenities round out the mix to create a city that is unique and easy to call home.
Harrisonburg was founded by Thomas Harrison, who gave 2.5 acres of land to Rockingham County in 1779, land that eventually became the home to the first courthouse in the county. That parcel of land is still known today as Court Square. One year after his initial gift, Harrison donated an additional 50 acres to the county. This land became the city of Harrisonburg, named for its benefactor, which has blossomed into the vibrant city of today.
Since then, the city has grown and evolved into a thriving community including a downtown area that exhibits its own distinct flavor. Many of the historic businesses that helped create the Harrisonburg of today sit side by side with new businesses that developed during Harrisonburg’s “Downtown Renaissance”. The result is a diverse collection of places for residents to find food, fun, shopping, and relaxation.
Visitors to Harrisonburg may be surprised that what seems like a sleepy small town is a haven for food lovers and gourmets from all over the world. Harrisonburg boasts its very own Culinary District, the first of its kind in the state. Excellent food with stunning Shenandoah Valley views to enjoy it by, great wine and beer, fresh local ingredients, creative, innovative chefs, and a casual, family-friendly atmosphere make Harrisonburg’s culinary offerings not just excellent but renowned.
Harrisonburg is also home to two world-class universities, James Madison University and the Eastern Mennonite University. Both institutions add energy and life to the town, and a surprising number of students choose to stay and become residents of the town after graduation. Residents benefit from educational opportunities and sporting events that include championships in basketball, lacrosse, field hockey, and football.
It’s no surprise that Harrisonburg’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley setting focuses on outdoor fun! Harrisonburg is home to several beautiful city parks that offer a wide variety of outdoor activities. Outdoor concerts, running and biking events, city festivals, and fun camps for kids make it easy to enjoy the beauty of Harrisonburg. Outdoor dining is also common, and delicious food trucks throughout the city make it easy to grab lunch on your way to an afternoon in the park.