Student Guide to Downtown

Happy people walking in front of colorful mural downtown

College students are a huge part of the vibrancy and energy of downtown Harrisonburg. We are thrilled for you to join the community — you’ll soon 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.

Weekly Events

DJ and people dancing at party with colorful strobe lights

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.



  • Matchbox Mondays at Urgies Cheesesteaks – anyone who lives at a Matchbox Reality apartment can show their key fob and get10% off their food!
  • Arts & Drafts at Brothers Craft Brewing, 1:00-10:00pm. Bring out your art supplies and make new friends while sipping craft beer. Adult coloring books and supplies are also provided!
  • Bingo is Life the Game Show at Ruby’s Arcade, 7:30-9pm. There are few things as fun and relaxing as settling down to play games with your friends or loved ones over some amazing pizza and brews. On top of this, you could win up to $100!
  • Team Trivia at Clementine Cafe, do you and your friends have what it takes to win? Find out from 8:00-10:00pm at Clementines Cafe! Prizes, glory and bragging rights are at stake!
  • Stop by The Friendly Fermenter at 7pm for FREE Tuesday Trivia! Teams of 2 to 6 may participate, with weekly prizes for the winning team!
  • Stop by Ruby’s Lounge for Hip-Hop Night starting at 10:00pm, 21+ only
  • Enjoy open mic night at Three Notch’d Valley Collab House from 7-9PM! Musicians, poets, comedians; the possibilities are ENDLESS! Performers get $5 pours!


  • Geeks Who Drink Trivia Night at Pale Fire, 8-10pm. What makes a night out to a brewery even better? Trivia! It’s free to play and winners get some great prizes. Whether you’re flying solo or bringing a group, it’s sure make for a fun evening out.
  • It’s game night at Three Notch’d Valley Collab House starting at 6PM! There will be table games, classic board games, & more! $5 pours of a featured draft each week!
  • Open mic at Clementine Cafe, from 7:00pm-10:00pm. Not only is it free, but it’s a blast! Stop by and see what all the hype is about!
  • Do you have the voice of an angel? Don’t worry, Karaoke Night at Clementine Cafe is open to everyone. Sing your heart out from 10:00pm into the late hours of the night! Dying to start at 9pm? Well you’re in luck. For those 21+, stop by Ruby’s Lounge, located right below Clementine Cafe and get your singing on an hour early.


  • Game night at Brothers Craft Brewing, 1-10pm. Go old school with the original Super Mario Brothers, Tech Bowl, and Super Mario Kart or challenge your friends with Wii Sports. The brewery also has Blue Ridge Bucha and nitro coffee on rotating taps.
  • Starting in September, Pale Fire brewing will be introducing, “Singo”Singo is Bingo with a musical spin! Instead of listening for a number, players are listening to song clips of “the good parts” of popular songs. Sing along and match song titles on your Singo card. Follow updates on this event through Pale Fire’s social media!
  • JMU Jazz Night at Clementine Cafe, 7-9pm. There is nothing quite like relaxing to the smooth sounds of jazz music. Luckily for you, Every Thursday the JMU Jazz Studies Program will be hosting a free concert at Clementine Cafe.
  • Trying to party? DJ Barkley starts performing at Clementine Cafe at 10:00pm and plays on until late in the night! Better bring your best dance moves.
  • Sage Bird Ciderworks hosts trivia every Thursday from 8-10pm! It’s free to play and winning teams get cool prizes! Teams can be up to 6 players, so find your crew and get creative with your name.
  • If you’re a first responder or veteran, you can receive 20% off your food at Urgie’s Cheesesteaks


  • 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!
  • Free Friday’s Dance Party at The Golden Pony, 10:30pm-1:30am. If you enjoy dancing, having a great time, and saving money, this event is for you! Bring your friends and dance the night away!
  • Pale Fire has live music on Fridays from 7pm-10pm! The events are usually free so be sure to check it out!
  • It’s board game night at Horizon Gifts! Games start at 5pm and go until 10pm


  • Noches Latinas at The Golden Pony, 9pm. Every Saturday join the Golden Pony for an evening of Latin music, dancing, and a great time. This event is 21+ and tickets are $5.


  • What’s more relaxing on a Sunday morning than yoga? Head to Sage Bird Ciderworks at 10am for yoga with The Center Yoga– after the class, treat yourself to a complimentary glass of cider-cidermosa! Sign up here. 

Cheap Eats

People eating at a bar downtown

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!

The Golden Pony – Offering not one, but two different happy hours, the Golden Pony knows the way to our hearts. Their upstairs dining location hosts happy hour from 4 – 6 p.m. featuring drink specials and 1/2 price apps. Their downstairs location offers happy four from 7 – 9 p.m. serving up drink specials and 1/2 price personal pizzas.

Benny Sorrentino’s – Larger-than-life oversized pizza. Slices start at $4 and you definitely get your money’s worth.

Capital Ale House – Half off appetizers, Sunday- Thursday from 9:00pm – close.

After 9pm: Sundays $5 off Flatbread Pizzas | Mondays $5 off Tacos | Tuesdays $5 off Burgers | Wednesday $5 off Wings


Latin’s Flavor – Offers everyday, low-priced specials for JMU students!

More Student Finds


Tiller Strings Violin Shop  –  Offers a 10% discount to music majors and minors! 


Charlee Rose Boutique – Get 10% off your purchase on Wednesdays upon presenting your student ID. Plus this super-trendy boutique is looking for two student ambassadors! Do you love fashion and social media- this might just be the opportunity for you! Click this link to apply.


Court Square Theater – Catch film festival favorites and art house flicks for $10.50 with your student ID.

Dancing with Karen – Receive $6.00 off a regular lesson

Heartworn Vintage – Show your JAC card to receive 15% off.


Virginia Quilt Museum – Students of all ages can visit the VQM for only $3.00 unless it’s the first Friday of the month in which case admission is free.

Hugo Kohl – Show your school spirit! Hugo’s “Madison Collection” includes rings, earrings, pendants and 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


Sole Focus Running– 15% All in store items for all students (Including all forms of higher and lower education).

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

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

Taj of India – Show your student ID to get 10% off.


Rocktown Yarn – Show your student ID to get 10% off in store purchases! Additionally, Rocktown Yarn offers FREE intro to crochet and intro to knitting classes each month–so
if you’re looking to pick up a hobby that is proven to help reduce stress, join them at 11:00 am on the first Saturday for crochet and the third Saturday for knitting–learn
more here!

Urgie’s Cheesesteaks

– 10% off for Urban Exchange residents every day, all day

– 10% off for any students wearing Philadelphia gear during game days


 Shirley’s Gourmet Popcorn Company – If you’re looking for a great gift for the Dukes in your life head to Shirley’s popcorn for the, “Duke Dog Crunch”. The Duke Dog combines Shirley’s popular vanilla popcorn coated & colored in JMU’s purple and yellow school colors, then drizzled with white chocolate and English Toffee.

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.


Friendly City Safe Space – FCSS aims to make downtown a destination where all LGBTQ+ people thrive through inclusivity, programming, and a unique space that celebrates community.  The FCSS hosts weekly events for LGBTQ+ people and aspiring allies of all ages, racial and ethnic identities. Whether it be board game night, queer theory book club, or live music, the FCSS has something for everyone.  Check up on their social media to get the latest scoop on the cool events they have planned for that week. Read more about the founder of the FCSS and how the organization came into fruition in our blog post here.


Get Active

People chatting outside downtown Harrisonburg

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 : The Grace (barre and pilates) & The Center (student price is $13/class and there are weekly $10 community and “happy hour” classes). 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. Additionally, OASIS Fine Art and Craft has a multitude of volunteer opportunities ranging from: helping in store, helping with community events, and helping out at their Second Home where you can assist kids with crafts! If volunteering at OASIS is something you’re interested in, contact Barbara Camph at Lastly, the Virginia Quilt Museum is searching for volunteers in the museum shop, to help with install and deinstallation of exhibits, to help with events and programs and to docent!