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Harrisonburg, VA is home to James Madison University, and is a lively, historic town is rich in culture, arts, and food. (Photo by Jon Styer/Provided by Hotel Madison)

Why Harrisonburg is the PERFECT place for a weekend getaway

Even if you're not a Dukes fan, we can assure you that Harrisonburg, Virginia is a city you have to visit ASAP.

Home to James Madison University, this lively, historic town is rich in culture, arts, and food. As you walk, drive, or bike (National Geographic touted Harrisonburg as one of America's Top 10 Mountain Bike Towns) through the 40-block district, take note of the abundant dining options, flourishing craft beer scene, diverse local businesses, and beautifully restored architecture. There are more than 40 restaurants, five breweries, dozens of entertainment and recreation options, and one incredible hotel that will fill a long weekend away from the hustle of D.C. and NOVA.

Don't believe us? Here are just a few reasons why you should check out "The Friendly City" for yourself!

Insanely good grub. Okay sure, we know just about every town likes to tout how delightful their food is. But Harrisonburg's variety of dining options will satisfy even the pickiest of palates. A few notable mentions:

  • Enjoy a romantic evening with your S.O. at Montpelier Restaurant and Bar, savoring all the signature styles of the South in an elegant atmosphere.
  • Grab a slice of wood-fired pizza or a plate of handmade pasta at Bella Luna, a farm-to-table restaurant located in the historic Livery Building.
  • Treat yo'self to one of Billy Jack's Shack's world-famous mac-n-cheese steaks (sautéed flank steak and onions with house-made mac-n-cheese served on a hoagie roll) and polish it off with a crafty donut.
  • Act like a local by renting a bike from Shenandoah Bicycle Company. After your ride, recharge with an acai bowl at Pulp Cafe (connected to the Bicycle Company).

And there's not enough time to go on and on about the insanely cool craft breweries and scenic wineries. So, we'll just leave those links there for you.

An active person's dream. Calling all weekend warriors! Harrisonburg is the perfect place for all sports enthusiasts, as it's located smack-dab in the epicenter of the Shenandoah Valley's playground of hiking, biking, golfing, and more. Plan your visit during any time of year, because Harrisonburg is a four-season kind of place.

Grab your skis, snowboards, and snow tubes for the winter. Go mountain biking, hiking, swimming, fishing, and kayaking in the warm weather. And don't forget about trail running and sight-seeing in the Shenandoah National Park, which is home to of a section of the Appalachian Trail that can be enjoyed all year long. Check out this list of local vendors to try your hand at a new sport!

A bustling entertainment scene. Trust us when we say you'll never, ever be bored in downtown Harrisonburg. From a long list of annual events to intimate concerts at Clementine Café, trivia nights at Pale Fire Brewing, walking food tours, you're sure to stay busy (and full!). And be on the lookout for two of our favorite events of the year, Hotel Madison's Wellness Weekend and Winter Wine Weekend.

Don't miss out on the chance to shop your heart out, either. Downtown Harrisonburg is home to chic boutiques and vintage shops like The Lady Jane and Water Street Vintage & Bohemian.

The perfect place to relax and recharge. If you want to experience all of downtown Harrisonburg's charm fully, then Hotel Madison is the only place to stay. This extremely elegant, full-service hotel and conference center features comfortable and well-appointed rooms, spacious boardrooms and ballrooms, and the latest in full-service amenities. Oh, and did we mention it's dog-friendly?!

Hotel Madison is the newest and only independent hotel in Harrisonburg, providing an ideal location, easy access to all the shops, restaurants and happenings of downtown Harrisonburg.

Book your stay at Hotel Madison, Harrisonburg's only downtown hotel. Call 540-564-0200 or visit to learn more.