Introduction to Harrisonburg, Virginia

The independent city of Harrisonburg is located in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. The city is served by two major highways: U.S. Route 33 and U.S. Route 11, with local access to Interstate 81. Harrisonburg is home to both James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University.

The origins of the city can be traced back to 1779, when local landowner Thomas Harrison deeded two and a half acres of his land to Rockingham County, which then used the property to build the first courthouse on what is still Court Square. The following year an additional 50 acres of Harrison's estate were added and Harrisonburg was recognized as the county seat. The city played an active role in the Civil War, being passed through by both Union and Confederate troops. Although Harrisonburg and Virginia were part of the Confederacy, the city's representatives in Richmond opposed secession. In 1916 Harrisonburg was incorporated as an independent city. Today, the city is a processing center in a dairy, livestock, and poultry area (Rockingham County is known as the poultry capital of the world), whose other industries include computers, clothing, paper and metal products, building materials, and machinery.

Harrisonburg Attractions

Harrisonburg offers attractions and amenities for all members of the family, including museums, caverns, corn mazes, farmer's markets, and historical sites. The Hardesty Higgins House is the historic home of Harrisonburg's first mayor, Isaac Hardesty. Harrisonburg Children’s Museum features a theater, a farmer’s market, a country kitchen, and many workshops for kids. Natural Chimneys offers an array of family activities including camping, biking, and swimming. Augusta County's Grand Caverns has its own unique recreational opportunities with cavern tours, picnicking, and hiking. "Back Home on the Farm" is the name of a 3.5 acre corn maze located less than five minutes from the city. Other local attractions include:

  • Edith J. Carrier Arboretum
  • D. Ralph Hostetter Museum of Natural History
  • Suter Science Center
  • M.T. Brackbill Planetarium
  • Daniel Harrison House
  • Harrisonburg Fire Museum
  • James Madison University Meteorite Collection
  • Menno Simons Historical Library & Archives
  • Miller Kite House
  • Plains District Memorial Museum
  • Port Republic Museum
  • Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center
  • Valley Turnpike Museum
  • The Virginia Quilt Museum
  • Endless Caverns
  • Luray Caverns
  • Shenandoah Caverns

Harrisonburg has no major league professional sports teams (neither does the state of Virginia), but a local baseball staple is the Harrisonburg Turks of the Valley Baseball League. The Valley League is an NCAA sanctioned baseball league in the Shenandoah Valley, many of whose alumni have moved on to play in Major League Baseball. The Turks franchise, whose name is based on Rockingham County's reputation as a poultry center, traces its history to before World War II, when the team was part of the Class C Virginia League. After the war, Harrisonburg entered its team in the Massanutten League before getting into the stronger Valley League in 1950. The team then was semi-professional, but since 1961 the league has been sanctioned by the NCAA and its teams are limited to players with college eligibility. The Valley League teams recruit only the top players, which is why college players from around the country jump at the opportunity to be invited to play on one of the Valley League teams. The Valley Baseball League has been called "Gateway to the Majors" because of the large number of players who have gone on to compete in the majors. Notable Turks alumni include Chicago Cubs outfielder Juan Pierre.


Total Population 51,388
Male Share of the Population 47.6%
Female Share of the Population 52.4%
Senior Citizens 7.8%
Employed Population 16+ 23,159
Age of the Population 24


% of people married 28.7%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 35.8%
Median Earnings25+ $28,741
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $21,316
Median Earnings With High School Degree $23,298


Median Family Income $55,774
% Above Poverty Level 67.5%
% Below Poverty Level 32.5%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 15 minutes
% Working from Home 3.5%
% Walking and Biking to Work 10.2%
% Using Public Transportation 2.9%


People Living Alone 28.6%
Median Gross Rent $837
Median House Value $199,400


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 29.5%
US/American 0%
English 7%
Irish 7.5%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Harrisonburg Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 76 miles N of Lynchburg, Virginia (center to center)
Nearest Large City 105 miles W of Washington, District of Columbia
Standard Zip Codes 22801, 22802, 22803
Company Zip Codes 22807
Phone Area Codes 540
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 38.45
Longitude -78.88

Harrisonburg Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 2.9 miles
Jan Temp 20 to 41 F
Apr Temp 38 to 64 F
Jul Temp 62 to 85 F
Oct Temp 41 to 66 F
Annual Precip 36.1 inches
Distance 16.4 miles
Jan Temp 22 to 43 F
Apr Temp 40 to 67 F
Jul Temp 63 to 87 F
Oct Temp 42 to 69 F
Annual Precip 35.1 inches
Distance 21.5 miles
Jan Temp 21 to 41 F
Apr Temp 38 to 63 F
Jul Temp 61 to 83 F
Oct Temp 39 to 65 F
Annual Precip 38.8 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Bridgewater 5,844 $62,483
Broadway 3,765 $52,566
Dayton 1,654 $53,068
Elkton 2,779 $54,318
Grottoes 2,714 $60,925
Mount Crawford 431 $64,500

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Harrisonburg Public Libraries

Massanutten Regional Library
Harrisonburg, Virginia
(540) 434-4475
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Harrisonburg Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(703) 433-4100
Emergency Service: Yes

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Harrisonburg High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 1,210 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 12.4

A Vocational School

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