Student Guide to Downtown

College students are a huge part of the vibrancy and energy of our downtown. We are thrilled to have you become a part of our community and we know you will love downtown as much as we do! Here’s a quick guide and a few college survival tips to help you navigate downtown over the next four years. 

Just a short, 1-mile walk from campus, downtown offers lots of great places to hang out, work, study, dine, shop, intern and volunteer. Please get to know community members – you’ll learn about “secret dinners,” house concerts, and other great things happening here!

Need a quick ride back to campus? Check out the Friendly City Pedicab. It’s way more fun than Uber or Lyft.

Weekly Events

If you need a break from studying or are looking for things to do with your friends, browse the downtown events calendar! There’s always something happening downtown.


  • Trivia night at Brothers Craft Brewing, 4-11pm. The brewery also hosts JMU watch parties during the football season. 


  • College night at The Artful Dodger, 8pm 
  • Bingo at Ruby’s Arcade, 7:30pm. It’s free to play for fun prizes like free games, food and drinks. 
  • Student night at The Friendly Fermenter, 5-9pm. Show your ID to receive specials on drinks, apparel, or free chances at door prizes.
  • Drawing and drafts at Brothers Craft Brewing, 4-11pm. Bring out your art supplies. Adult coloring books and supplies are also provided. 



  • College night at The Golden Pony – music and drink specials every Thursday at 8pm. Free admission with student ID.
  • Game night at Brothers Craft Brewing, 4-11pm. Go old school with the original Super Mario Brothers, Tech Bowl, and Super Mario Kart or challenge your friends with Wii Sports. The brewery has Blue Ridge Bucha and nitro coffee on rotating taps. 


  • Every first Friday of each month is downtown’s free arts stroll from 5-8pm. New art is displayed at dozens of businesses downtown. Many locations have free food and drinks too! 

Cheap Eats

We have 35+ restaurants downtown – many have menus that work for a student’s budget, and others that will be great for when your family is visiting!

Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza – $5 happy hour pizza from 3-5:30pm every day

Benny Sorrentino’s – Larger-than-life oversized pizza. Slices start at $4.

Capital Ale House – $3 burger night on Mondays, from 4pm – close

Food.Bar.Food – Try their small plates for $4-$6 (Tues – Sat, 4-6pm)

Jess’ Downtown Restaurant – Your hot dog, fried pickles and chili cheese fries destination. Prices start at $1.95. Monday through Thursday, students can also buy one meal and get a 2nd one of equal or lesser value half price from 2-8pm.

More Student Finds

Bluetique – On Tuesdays, students get 15% off your purchase

Court Square Theater – Catch film festival favorites and art house flicks for $8.50 with your student ID.

Dancing with Karen – Receive $5.00 off a regular lesson

Heartworn Vintage – Show your JAC card to receive 10% off. 

Hot Yoga Harrisonburg – Sign up for an introductory week of unlimited yoga for $15 or an introductory month of unlimited yoga for $70. Drop-in classes are $15 for students.

Hugo Kohl – Show your school spirit! Hugo’s “Madison Collection” includes rings, earrings, pendants an bracelets made of purple and gold gemstones. Stop by and shop in their boutique, customize your own Madison ring or take a private tour with JMU alumni and Master Goldsmith, Hugo Kohl. 

Mossy Creek Fly Fishing – JMU Fishing Club members receive 5% off

Pink Ambition Dance & Fitness – Use code COLLEGE10 for 10% off classes. 

Restorative Massage Therapy – Bring your college ID and get 10% off on all services and products (cannot be used with any other offers).

Rocktown Gift Shoppe – Show student ID to get 10% off merchandise, which includes Virginia and Harrisonburg t-shirts, souvenirs and gifts. 

Rocktown Kitchen – Buy 2 entrees, get one free dessert with your student ID

Shenandoah Yoga – Check out their website for student specials on a drop-in session, class packs, and monthly and semester passes. 

Taj of India – Show your student ID to get 10% off lunch and 15% off dinner. 

Urgie’s Cheesesteaks
– 10% off for Urban Exchange residents every day
– 10% off for all Copper Beach residents Saturday evenings 9pm- close 
– 10% off for any students wearing Philadelphia gear during game days
– 10% off with student I.D. before ALL home games once the the 245    E.Water St location is open up in late October

withSimplicity – This all natural, organic skincare and make-up company offers workshops and parties that are perfect for clubs and sororities. Book a mini spa day or make-your-own lip balm or scrub with all of your friends.

Get Active

Downtown has two great bike shops – Rocktown Bicycles and Shenandoah Bicycle Company – where you can get a new ride or fix an old one. Check their websites for event calendars of free weekly road and mountain bike rides as well as special group rides.

We also have three yoga and pilates studios : Breathe (pilates) & The Center (student price is $12/class and there are weekly $8 community and “happy hour” classes), Shenandoah Yoga (offers discounted class passes and drop in rates for students), and Harrisonburg Hot Yoga (Bikram). Interested in meditation? The Blacks Run Zen Center offers free introductory meditation instruction to students. 

Visit Walkabout Outfitter to learn more about their group hikes on nearby trails as well as where the best hiking spots are around here. Find regional outdoor events on the corkboard in the back.

Volunteering & Internships

There are dozens of nonprofits and businesses in downtown who love working with college students throughout the year. Many have small staffs and can offer you “real work.” HDR has an online sign up form if you’d like to focus your work with downtown redevelopment. Or, check out the United Way’s volunteer portal for opportunities throughout the area. Popular places to volunteer downtown include Cat’s Cradle, which needs all levels of support including cat socialization (aka playing) and Explore More Discovery Museum, which is an interactive children’s museum dedicated to learning through play.