From family fun and farmers markets to pub crawling and park activities, there are any number of things to do in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Whether you’re considering a permanent move, or just looking for someplace more sedate for your next family vacation, this picturesque little town in the Shenandoah Valley has much to offer when it comes to activities and entertainment. Here are several suggestions for your consideration.
Historical Walking Tour
Downtown Harrisonburg is full of historical charm. A large part of that charm comes from the city’s treasure trove of antique buildings. If strolling the streets for picture ops is your preferred method of exploration, then you’ll want to pick up the walking tour booklet available from Harrisonburg Tourism and Visitor Services. It features 20 different buildings of note from Harrisonburg’s past, along with informational passages and images of each. This booklet and a camera are all you’ll need for a self-guided exploration of the downtown area.
The Quilt Museum
Bringing Virginia’s past together with its present through the art of quilting is the mission of the Virginia Quilt Museum. With quilts from the Civil War through today being exhibited, along with antique sewing machines and a variety of activities such as workshops and fundraising teas, this venue is a unique way to celebrate history while visiting Harrisonburg.
Rooftop Restaurant Hopping
A variety of al fresco dining options exist in Harrisonburg, Virginia, including several rooftop dining experiences. For fun food and drinks with a view, check out Dave’s Downtown Taverna, Cally’s Restaurant and Brewing Company or Pennybackers Restaurant.
Surrounded by the fertile farmlands of the Shenandoah Valley, the city of Harrisonburg provides a great jumping-off point for those wishing to explore the area’s farming culture. One local place that provides a particularly superior experience is the White Oak Lavender Farm. As Harrisonburg, Va agritourism goes, these folks have certainly taken it to the next level. With reflecting spaces, workshops and ample opportunities for animal cuddling, it’s definitely a day trip for the entire family to enjoy.
Celebrate Civil War History
With over 30 Civil War sites in the area, Harrisonburg has much to offer history buffs. The Civil War Orientation Center is located in the Hardesty-Higgins House along with the visitor’s center. Here you will find information on the nearby Civil War trail(s) which will enable you to visit the various sites in the area, along with the Cross Keys and Port Republic Battlefields.
Visit a Vineyard
While there are certainly a large number of wineries throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, the CrossKeys Vineyards offer virtual back-yard winery access to the residents of Harrisonburg. With educational lectures, tastings, weddings and other events, this vineyard is an absolute jewel for the locals. Tourists can enjoy the venue as well, as it offers fantastic 360-degree views of the surrounding area.
Find Some Great Food
A surprising fact I learned when visiting Harrisonburg was just how international the population is. With a conservative 50 different languages being spoken within the city limits, the ethnic food scene does not disappoint. Ethiopian, Thai, Peruvian and Korean are just some of the cuisines you’ll be able to enjoy here. Of course, if standard Southern fare is what you’re seeking, then be sure to hit Union Station for historical charm and a slammin’ shrimp and oyster po’ boy.
With nearby Shenandoah National Park, a local arboretum and loads of biking trails, there’s lots to love in the greater Harrisonburg area. Also of note are nearby caves and caverns, as well as the George Washington National Forest.
In addition to all of the outdoor nature activities, Harrisonburg has more traditional forms of family fun as well. Two venues of note are the Harrisonburg Children’s Museum and the Massanutten Water Park. So whether your little boo leans towards science experiments or the splash zone, there’ll be something to catch her interest.
Obviously, there’s no shortage of things to do in Harrisonburg, which is one of numerous getaways for girlfriends in northern Virginia. Have you had a chance to check out the city and all it has to offer? Comments and links to your online articles are more than welcome below.
Photo Credits: Trek Hound – Additional images from White Oak Lavender Farm, pictures of the Virginia Quilt Museum, photos of Union Station Restaurant and Bar and an image gallery of CrossKeys Vineyards are available on our sister creative commons site, Pictures of Travel Places.