Harrisonburg ranked among the 10 Most Livable College Towns


Harrisonburg’s outdoor attractions, culture and diversity make it one of the Most Livable College Towns in America.”

Harrisonburg was selected among the 10 Most Livable College Towns in America in 2022. The list was compiled by Strategistico, an independent online research organization that provides data-driven insights about living in the US.

Harrisonburg is home to Eastern Mennonite University and James Madison University.

“This result doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Luke Litwiller, director of undergraduate admissions and recruitment. “Our students love Harrisonburg’s wide array of food options representing many cultures, regular celebratory traditions from Shenandoah Valley Pride to the Harrisonburg International Festival, and its active art and music scene.”

Students enjoy the rural Valley scenery and Shenandoah National Park as well. “EMU students get the best of both worlds because they are immersed in a relational and hands-on style of education in a welcoming community while also enjoying the vibrancy of Harrisonburg and the surrounding area,” Litwiller said.

EMU graduates show their love for Harrisonburg by often choosing to make the Valley their home. Graduates have made a significant impact on the community, contributing to the local economy by opening businesses and volunteering in public service. Area school systems and hospitals also employ EMU graduates in high numbers. 

Strategistico researched 815 college towns across the US, using data such as cost of living, concentration of cultural and entertainment amenities, outdoor amenities and attractions, walkability, unemployment rate, and safety.

Sources include the US Census Bureau, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the FBI.

College towns are often “well-rounded communities that blend energetic students with full-time residents,” offering downtown amenities and numerous cultural attractions, according to the release.

Among Harrisonburg’s selling points: “It has emerged as one of the most diverse and welcoming communities in America and lives up to its nickname as ‘The Friendly City.'”

The list also cites the revitalized downtown district and the proximity of the George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park.