Visiting the ‘Burg soon? Here are the top 11 things to do in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

If you ever find yourself in Virginia and are looking to visit a cute little quaint town, then Harrisonburg is the place to go. Although Harrisonburg is a quiet little farm town, there are so many things to do in Harrisonburg, VA that even locals are pleasantly surprised at the charm this town continues to offer.

This hidden little gem of a town is right on one of the East Coast’s major highway, Interstate 81. When you are driving on the interstate, be sure to slow down. If you drive too fast, you just might miss the friendly city. The next time you are trekking through the East Coast, then pull off at exit 245 and make it a point to stay a while. Here is our list of some of the top things to do in Harrisonburg, VA. From tracking up to mountains to dining in some of the best restaurants that central Virginia has to offer, Harrisonburg has got it all.

1. Get Lost in a Sunflower Field

Sunflower Field

Credit: Nelly Photography

If you are visiting Harrisonburg Virginia, then a must on your list of things to do in Harrisonburg, Va is sunflower field hunting. The city is littered with hidden sunflower fields — if you can find them that is. And when you do, there is nothing more magical than getting lost in one. In order to take advantage of this magical moment, you will need to time your visit just right. If you come anytime during late August and early September, then you are sure to find a sunflower field waiting to be explored. Take your pick of the Hope sunflower field on the edge. If not, then you will want to stroll out of town into  Dayton, Virginia next door. Here, you are sure to find a sunflower field waiting for you. Just keep an eye out for the free picking signs! 

We especially love the Hope sunflower field located right on the edge of town on Route 33. Not only will you get to pick to your heart’s desire, but donations are accepted all season long. Your charitable donation will go to a worthy cause, giving cancer patients hope for a better future. This year, the sunflower field is partnering with the RMH Foundation’s Hope Fund. This fund ensures that cancer patients will get the care they need regardless of financial status. 

We love that the rolling hills of golden flowers not only will make you smile but the community members they help will thank you for your efforts too. If you do stop by to pick a flower or two (or 2 dozen!), don’t forget to bring along your shears and a camera. Pick a couple of sunflowers for your loved ones and be sure to take plenty of photographs too!

2. Get Yourself a Sharp Haircut

things to do in harrisonburg va - Sharp Haircut

Credit: Omar’s Hair Salon and Barbor Shop / Facebook

If you find yourself in this friendly city, then it’s a must that you experience the classiest barber shop this town has to offer. Omar’s Hair Salon and Barber Shop is a one-stop shop if you are looking for a new hairdo. Not only will Omar fade you like the best of them, but you will get an experience you won’t forget. From their classy attire to their classier cuts. You can trust Omar and his crew to have you looking fresh for the rest of your travels in the friendly city. Ladies, there is something here for you too. Pamper yourself with a cut and color and leave his salon with a style that will have you wanting to come back for a repeat session.

As the attire of Omar and his staff suggests, you will get an experience that is indeed like no other. You don’t get a haircut when you come to Omar’s Hair Salon and Barber Shop. You get an experience. Our tip? Make it a point to call ahead to book your appointment. Unsurprisingly, the demand is high at Omar’s, and you’ll want to get your slot in before you lose it.

3. Get a Taste of the Kurdish Flavor at A&A Kabob and Grille

Kurdish Flavor at A&A Kabob and Grille

Credit: A&A Kabob

It is no secret that Harrisonburg, Virginia is only growing. In fact, the friendly city has grown so fast that the second Harrisonburg high school that was built to fight overcrowding is now overcrowded again. (But no worries, the city has plans to build a new one). A growing number of refugees including Kurdish refugees are continuing to call this place home. One such family has gone a step further and set up some of the tastiest roots the city could ask for. And unsurprisingly, the city is grateful for it!

If you are trekking through the friendly city, then a must on your list of things to do in Harrisonburg, Va is to get a taste of the local flavor. While you are here, it is an absolute must that you stop by A & A’s Kabob and Grille to get a taste of some authentic Mediterranean and Kurdish cooking. Chef Canybee takes cooking to a whole new level with his eclectic mix of spices and flavors. 

Indulge in his ever-popular chicken kabob that is as hearty as it is colorful. Be sure to sample some of his homemade pita bread too. While you are at it, you must have a taste of Chef Canybee’s classic nok soup (chickpea soup). Pair it with your choice of lamb or ground beef kabob and you are sure to have a tasty meal. Finally, for the drizzle on top, add some of A&A Kabob’s homemade tzatziki sauce for a flavor that is out of this world. Not only that, but Canybee’s side dishes and salads are some of the best that the city has to offer. 

Be sure to come in with an empty stomach to really enjoy the experience. Their hearty food will leave you satisfied and no doubt wanting more. While you are here, be sure to ask for Lana. Her service is unbeatable. Not only that, but she is sure to greet you with a kind smile and hospitality that will only add to this unique Kurdish dining experience.

4. Visit the Beautiful Shenandoah Valley

harrisonburg va - Shenandoah Valley

With Harrisonburg located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, it is a must that you go out and explore the beautiful landscape. It doesn’t take long from Harrisonburg if you are trying to go out and explore the mountains. There are several entrances to the Shenandoah Skyline. One of the closest Entrances to the majestic Shenandoah valley is about forty-five mins outside of town. An added bonus is that the drive will be as majestic and calming as the destination itself. Some of our favorite hikes to explore include Humpback Mountain and Dicky Ridge Loop.

For the more experienced hiker that is looking for an extra dose of thrill, then we recommend trying your hand out at some rock scrambling. Visit Old Rag mountain for a hiking experience like no other. This 9.1-mile loop hike is a difficult yet doable trek. You just have to be sure that you are well stocked with the right hiking gear before you head out. Pack your hiking backpack with plenty of protein bars, water, and trail mix, and you will be good to go. 

While you should not expect to be trekking through any water on this challenging hike, it will still serve you well to wear the proper footwear. Invest in a great pair of hiking boots before you head out. The rigor of this hike will have your feet thanking you for it. After all, you will want to make sure that you have excellent grip when you reach the top of the mountain and begin the fun that is rock scrambling. If you are looking for things to do in Harrisonburg, VA, then going on a hike is a great place to start.

5. Stargaze at Big Meadows

harrisonburg va - Big Meadows

While you are in the Shenandoah Valley, it would be worth your time to stop by Big Meadows. This fast flat plain is the perfect place to indulge in some magical star gazing. Bring along your blanket and lay back and relax to soak in the heavens. If you are from a big city and have never had the chance to see the magical sky, then be prepared to be blown away. 

Millions of little twinkling lights will greet you once the sun goes down. If you stare at the sky long enough, don’t be surprised when a shooting star or two graze your field of vision. And last but not least, stay out a little longer for peak darkness to set in. You will be greeted by our great galaxy, the milky way. Get lost in the billions and billions of stars that just waiting to twinkle down at you

To get the best view of the magical night sky, you will want to visit Big Meadows when there is a new moon. A full moon, or really any moon will cause light pollution in the sky. Even if it is natural light, this extra light will not allow you to see all the starts at their full capacity. For the best experience possible, you will want to go stargazing when there is a new moon. 

If getting out to Big Meadows might be out of your way on your travel itinerary, no worries. You can still experience the pure magic that the night sky has to offer. One of the best things to do in Harrisonburg is to drive to the edge of town once night falls. Get away from the light pollution of the city, and you will still be able to see the billions of little lights that twinkle in the night sky. Stargazing here is certainly one of the things to do in Harrisonburg, VA that you won’t regret.

6. Go on a Bike Ride Through Town

harrisonburg va - Bike Ride

One of the best things about the friendly city is that it is very kind to bikers. While you are here, one of the things to do in Harrisonburg, VA that you must try out is a bike ride through the friendly streets. We love that you can hop on your bike and explore the whole town in just under an hour. If you find yourself in this quaint little town, then one of the best things to do in Harrisonburg, VA is to go on a lovely bike ride. Get your friends together, or strap the whole family in and plan a time in the late afternoon to cycle through the town. 

When classes are over for the day, one of the most relaxing things to do in Harrisonburg is to cycle around The Quad at James Madison University. If you are really feeling adventurous, cycle over to the edge of town where you will be greeted with green corn fields. As the fields sprawl under the blue skies, you just might find yourself thinking you have been dropped in a Microsoft background picture. 

7. Grab a Bite at the Artful Dodger

harrisonburg va - Artful Dodger

Credit: Eliza Seibert

Just because Harrisonburg is a small little town, does not mean that you will be missing out on big city things. One of the best things to do in Harrisonburg, VA is to pop over to the historic downtown and pay a visit to the Artful Dodger. This colorful restaurant and lounge area has a little bit of everything to suit everyone. For the digital nomad who is looking to get some work done, this is the place for you. Grab a chair on the outside seating arrangement and enjoy views of the court square while you work. Order a refreshing drink and appetizing sandwich to pair with your workflow. 

If you are more of a get-up and move type of traveler, then you will want to visit the Artful Dodger in the evening. On select evenings, notably Thursday nights, you can participate in their ever-popular salsa nights. Salsa the evening away with good food and friends in this eclectic environment. All the vibes of the Artful Dodger are what you would expect out of a funky coffee and sandwich house. Before you head out though, be sure to snap a pic or two of yourself next to the colorful mural on the side of the building. The next time you are here, be sure to add the Artful Dodger to your list of things to do in Harrisonburg, VA.

8. Visit the Historic Downtown Harrisonburg

Historic Downtown Harrisonburg

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

You can not leave the friendly city without making a pit stop in the historic downtown first. From their award-winning restaurants to their charming coffee joint and ice-cream parlors, downtown Harrisonburg has got it all. We love that so many of the things to do in Harrisonburg center around good food, family, and friends. 

If you will be spending time in the friendly city’s beautiful downtown, then you must make it a point to stop by the Discover More Children’s Museum. This museum has everything you can ask for in an afternoon of family fun. Let your little one run free as they learn about what it takes to be a dentist, a television host, and so much more.

9. Visit the Farmers Market

harrisonburg va - Farmers Market

If you ask any of the locals, they will tell you that one of the best things to do in Harrisonburg, VA is visiting the local farmers market. Stop by the heart of downtown to experience the fresh farmers market. But make sure you time your visit just right. The Farmers Market is open every Tuesday and Saturday from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. However, it is best to always check their website before you head out. 

Come out and experience some of the freshest produce the city has to offer. You can find a vast assortment of fresh fruit, veggies, and good eats that are all locally sourced. Be sure to get here early though. When it comes to the farmers market, the early bird really does get the worm!

10. Visit the Mineral Museum 

harrisonburg va - Mineral Museum

James Madison University has been one of the many leading establishments that have contributed to the growth of Harrisonburg. While the rapid growth of James Madison University has been an inconvenience at times, one of the neat things is that the university houses an impressive collection of minerals. This next location is easily one of the best things to do in Harrisonburg, VA. 

The Mineral Museum is housed in the building locally and formally known as Memorial Hall. Fun fact, this building used to be the old high school before it was converted into a building for James Madison students who major in Education. Even more of a fun fact, this building that is home to future educators is ironically misspelled. Regardless, if you find yourself in this building, then you must stop by and visit the Mineral Museum. 

While the museum itself is actually limited to just one room, you can easily spend over an hour combing over each specimen that is neatly displayed. Each mineral is accompanied by a detailed description of where the mineral was mined. You can find an array of minerals from all over the world. Scour through the beautiful rocks and experience the beauty of the earth all in one place. 

11. Tailgate at a JMU Football Game

harrisonburg va - JMU Football Game

You don’t have to have attended James Madison University to take part in the contiguous buzz that the school sets off. If you happen to be here during football season, then it is an absolute must that you take part in a JMU tailgate party. JMU tailgates have all the makings of everything you could want in an evening of fun and food. Before you head out though, make sure to have the right attire first. Head out to any of the retail stores in town, and you are sure to find some purple and gold to rock to your first tailgate. Be sure to add a good old tailgate party to your list of things to do in Harrisonburg, VA.

Final Thoughts

Harrisonburg Virginia is easily one of Virginia’s well-hidden towns. From the quaint little restaurants to the activities that are perfect for any nature loving individual, Harrisonburg is the place to be. Come out and explore the natural landscape that has engulfed this quint little town. With so many things to do in Harrisonburg, VA, you might want to plan out your travels carefully. It does not matter if you stay a weekend or stay for a whole week. What is certain is that the friendly city is sure to welcome you with open arms. 

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