“There is so much to Love in Harrisonburg!” said Jessica Williams, the city’s Tourism and Marketing Specialist, “from cycling, hiking and outdoor scavenger hunts to great food, local craft beer and wine in a friendly scenic atmosphere.”
Some attractions have been long-established. The city’s Art District turns 20 at the end of this year. The Farmers Market at Turner Pavilion got started in 1979, and is open all year (Tuesdays and Saturday, 8:00 to 1:00 through November; Saturday-only Winter Hours begin in December). And Harrisonburg’s reputation for exciting dining helped it become Virginia’s first Culinary District in 2014.
But there is a lot going on more recently, too.
Williams told us, “Harrisonburg’s Northern neighborhood is blossoming with new and expanding businesses. The area is host to Sage Bird Ciderworks, Magpie Diner, Chestnut Ridge Coffee Roasters, and more. Be sure to shop local this season in our local boutiques and artisan stores including Agora Market, which houses numerous shops like Lineage, a local producer of hand-crafted canvas bags and scented candles. Snow & Ice Christmas and Gift Store is another favorite. Named one of the top year-round Christmas Stores in the U.S., they have a grand selection of gifts and décor for all seasons!”
Like many cities, Harrisonburg is also taking advantage of technology to help visitors navigate their trips. Williams said, “With Harrisonburg’s new trip planner, you can customize your own itinerary in minutes, print it out or share it with a friend.”
Here’s how it works: Download the app. See a concert you don’t want to miss? Click “Join” and the event will be added to your plan. Looking for that restaurant everyone keeps telling you about? Click “Add to Plan” and you won’t forget to try it. Plans can be as short or long as the user chooses.
In the past, visitors’ only option was to contact the Visitor Center to request a personal itinerary or ask for help finding sites on physical map. The Visit Harrisonburg Trip Planner lets people plan their trips virtually using their computer, phone or tablet. With recent concerns over social distancing, this allows visitors to get what they need without person-to-person contact.
Williams also told us about Traipse Scavenger Hunts. “Traipse offers free outdoor challenges from family fun to a pub crawl. Challenge yourself to explore Downtown Harrisonburg with this user-friendly app (left) and try to answer all the puzzles without using the optional hints. All puzzles are outdoors. Download the free app and learn more about Traipse to start your adventure.”
November and December can be a very picturesque time to visit Harrisonburg. With the Downtown lampposts lit by snowflakes and the storefronts decorated for the holidays, it’s very much a place to wander, and to love.
Where to Stay
Choose from major conference centers with every amenity like Hotel Madison for a romantic option like By the Side of the Road Getaway Lodging. Here you will find five intimate cottages for couples, one cozy apartment, and a five-bedroom, five-bathroom circa 1789 Manor House located on nine spacious acres. Many more options, ranging from cabins, resorts, inns, chain hotels and more, may be found here.