Living in Harrisonburg

We realize where you live while you continue your education is an important factor in your decision as the school itself. Our campus is located in the peaceful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in the United States. Nestled against the Shenandoah National Park resides Harrisonburg, Virginia. Framed by mountain streams, breathtaking vistas, and bountiful farmland, yet only 2.5 hours from Washington DC, Harrisonburg is a hidden gem for nature lovers, food enthusiasts, music seekers, and families alike. Nicknamed "The Friendly City,"  Harrisonburg has the local charm of a small town with the variety of a large city. A bustling downtown features unique restaurants, shops, local artists, live music, and green spaces. As a refugee resettlement area, Harrisonburg is a microcosm of national and world issues. This area is rich with diverse experiences, cultures, and dreams. Come visit and you'll soon call Harrisonburg home.  

Home is where the heart is

While Harrisonburg offers many opportunities for fun and relaxation, we can’t forget the important work you will be doing as you lay the foundation for your career. You will need a place to call home. Affordable housing is available on campus, near EMU, and in the heart of Harrisonburg.

On-Campus Options: 

We are in the process of finalizing graduate housing opportunities for the 2024-2025 school year. As we are working out the details of creating a graduate community, please reach out to your admissions counselor with questions. As soon as we have information, we will update the website.

Off-Campus Options:

Other resources for housing include the EMU eClassifieds and local rental companies.

Shop and Dine

Downtown Harrisonburg is rich with locally owned shops to find those unique and local items.  The farmer’s market is bountiful with locally grown produce. Larger chain stores are also available for commonly needed items. 

For those that have a diverse palette, many options are available for your dining pleasure, including African, Asian, European, South and North American cuisine. Perhaps you enjoy the latest trend in food trucks; they are also offered all around Harrisonburg. Dining with live music is also fun, and over a dozen restaurants offer live performances.

Museums and Culture

An afternoon in a museum is a great way to get to know the area. Take advantage of local museums like the Virginia Quilt Museum, Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center, or the Frontier Culture Museum. Artisan centers are also available for your enjoyment in Harrisonburg and the surrounding communities.

In addition to EMU Theatre productions, there are a variety of venues in the surrounding area for the performing arts for live theater productions, cultural programs, foreign/independent films, live musical performances, and dance.

The Great Outdoors

You will want to get outside to clear and rejuvenate your mind from time to time, and what better place than nearby national parks – George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park! A hike during the beautiful fall foliage season will fill your senses in new and unexpected ways.  

When fall turns to winter, take a short drive and hit the slopes at Massanutten Resort for skiing and snow tubing. If you would rather play in water instead of snow, then take advantage of the water park at Massanutten instead, it is open year round.

Have a more thrill-seeking spirit? Then you may enjoy a river adventure. Excursions of canoeing, tubing, and kayaking are available after a short drive to several launch locations.  

Capital and Coast

EMU is only a two-hour drive from our nation’s capital. A whole other world is available to you that is full of history, museums, and culture. Drive southeast two hours and you will find Virginia’s capital, Richmond. Continue for another two hours, where sand and surf await you at Virginia Beach.

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