Where to Go in Harrisonburg? Bursting the JMU Bubble

Earlier this semester, one of my favorite professors was talking to my class (all freshmen or transfer students) about the “JMU Bubble”. At first puzzled, I focused on her tangent about freshmen students often times not knowing what happens outside of JMU. Most of us being campus bound, without a car or a great knowledge of the bus routes, we get absorbed in campus life.

Having a couple of relatives in Harrisonburg who had shown me around the town earlier in the spring, and also our activities downtown during FROG week, I had a basic understanding of the town, so I felt as if I was “well cultured” so to speak when it came to my new home. Then fall rolled around. During the week of midterms I was walking around campus and had an epiphany: I had only left campus a few times since starting in August.

Since this mid-semester epiphany, I’ve tried to wander off campus as much as possible. There is life, eccentric, artistic, amazing life outside of this already amazing campus. And believe it or not, the food in downtown Harrisonburg is equally as delicious and wonderful as JMU food.

Clementine- This artistic eatery is located in downtown Harrisonburg. With live bands featured weekly, it’s a great spot to grab a delicious bite to eat. The menu features classics like burgers, salads, and entrees, but many have a twist to them. The eatery itself has a very artistic atmosphere. It’s very warm, inviting, and fun!

The Artful Dodger- This is a colorful, hard to miss coffee shop downtown. You know that colorful building near Larkin Arts? Trust me, if you haven’t already gone you need to go right now. Featuring a variety of coffees, teas, and foods, the Artful Dodger has a very unique and very inviting atmosphere. This downtown Harrisonburg favorite is another live music hot spot.  

Jack Brown’s- Located near Billy Jack’s, the bar/burger joint is a Harrisonburg staple. Serving delicious burgers and their famous deep-fried Oreos, it’s a must go! Seating is limited inside, however the establishment features roof top seating and some outdoor seating. Definitely plan to go before or after major meal rush hours.

Capital Ale- Known for its brewery, Capital Ale is also known for its delicious food. Featuring burgers, entrees such as steak/seafood, and salads, everyone can find something to eat. If you’re in the mood for a nice meal, or delicious sweet potato fries, Capital Ale is your place.

Court Square Theatre- Located in the same building as Capital Ale House, there is always something happening at Court Square Theatre. From the Latino Movie Festival in the fall, or the numerous plays and other productions featured throughout the year, it’s a great alternative to Grafton or the Regal Cinema. Their website http://www.valleyarts.org/court-square-theater/ features their upcoming shows.