Harrisonburg, VA
Tuition (in-state)
$17,932 ($4,642)
Admission Difficulty
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4 College Freshman

Nightlife: On most weekends, there are parties to go to. It generally is not very hard to find a party to spend time at, whether it is at a fraternity or a house party in somebody's off campus residence. There isn't much of a bar scene to speak of. Transportation is not an issue either. There are buses that run from campus and to and from most of the off campus student housing complexes. There are also multiple taxi services that always serve as a viable substitute for a bus ride if transportation is necessary.

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: You can always find a place to go on the weekend, whether its a frat or an apartment complex. There are also a number of smaller parties, can easily join a organization or a club that has its own social aspects

4 College Junior

Nightlife: There is always something to do at night... Anywhere you go something is happening

5 College Freshman

Nightlife: There's always a party going on and girls can always get in. Guys can get into house parties but frats, not so easily.

3 College Junior

Nightlife: not that much to do unless youre drinking


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 13th
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 468th
    Best Drink Prices
  • 1360th
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Sandra Jolles
Great Falls Virginia
Media Arts and Design
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

There's no denying that JMU kids like to party. In fact, a common mantra that floats through the campus is "study hard, play hard." It's no secret that the recipe for success seems to include a healthy dose of partying, according to many JMU kids. Because of the friendly atmosphere and the overall inclusivity, it's a breeze finding a party among the different apartment complexes. If you're a girl traveling in swarms, the door practically flies open for each party. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for a group of "bros." Including a higher ratio of girls to boys seems to be the ticket for access to the typical JMU party. Walking inside each party, you’ll find two scenarios. One is a social party buzzing with happy and friendly talk. The other is a more crowded dance party of sorts. Conversation rarely occurs, and though people may be dressed up in tight clothes, some people are rarely taking notice through their drunk haze. Students line the walls grinding or talking intimately, and there’s a heavier sense of hardcore drinking. At these parties, things may grow out of hand more quickly.

University Program Board is the savior for those interested in alternative weekend activities. With comedians, singers, bands, and movie nights at the Grafton Stovall, it;s simple to enjoy a Friday night absent of alcohol and drugs.  For those over 21, there are bars in Harrisonburg that are not close to campus. It's nearly impossible for freshmen to frequent bars when they are without of a set of wheels and a valid ID. The sparse bars that are sprinkled around Harrisonburg might be the only upperclassmen activity, especially since the nightclub scene is rather abysmal.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Apartment complexes
  • Downtown Harrisonburg
  • House parties
Student Favorites
  • Buffalo Wild Wings (BW3's)
  • Calhoun's Restaurant and Brewing
  • Main Street Bar & Grill
Other Places to Check Out
  • AJ Gators Sports Bar & Grill
  • Blue Nile Ethiopian Cuisine
  • Bongo Restaurant & Lounge
  • Bourbon Street
  • Chubby's Sports Bar
  • Dave's Downtown Taverna
  • Dona Rosa Restaurant
  • Dulaney's Lounge
  • Jack Brown's Beer & Burger Joint
  • L'Italia
  • Luigi's
  • McCormick's Pub and Restaurant
  • Mill Street Grill
  • Mulligan's Pub and Eatery
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer pong/Beirut
  • Card games (A$$hole)
  • Century Club
  • Flip cup
  • Kings
  • Never Have I Ever
  • Power Hour
  • Quarters
  • Screw the Dealer
Useful Resources for Nightlife
  • The Breeze
  • Daily News-Record
  • University Program Board
Closing Time
1 a.m.–2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
The Little Grill on Jamaican theme night
Organization Parties
Occasionally, you might get tired of the frat/house party scene and feel like traversing another route for your weekend entertainment. Check out the JMU Web site ( and click on one of the calendars to see what's up and coming. Clubs and organizations on campus sometimes put together a dance party or dance lesson instead of recruiting a guest speaker or setting up an informative booth. Some examples of alternative fun are when organizations like the Latino Student Alliance and the JMU Swing Dance Club arrange dances and lessons on weekends. With your JAC card and a few dollars, you can settle down for an evening of contemporary or modern dance when the theater and dance department puts on concerts. You and your friends can also play pool for free almost every weekend late at night at Corner Pocket.

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

Highlawn Pavilion

Highlawn is another frequently visited spot in the 'Burg' where the 21-and-over crowd can get their groove on. Open from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Highlawn features a full-service bar, American food, a dance floor, and live entertainment every Friday by local artists.

2601 Evelyn Byrd Ave.


(540) 434-7282

Encounters Lounge

Encounters Lounge at Massanutten Resort serves light meals and, during ski season, cocktails. On Friday and Saturday nights, you can listen to live regional bands, or cut a rug on the dance floor. Just be prepared to fork out a little dough initially, as there is a cover charge.

1822 Resort Drive


(540) 289-9441

The Pub

Every week, the Pub hosts live shows and serves American food and brew continuously.

1950 Deyerle Ave.


(540) 432-0610

The Little Grill Collective

Expect cheap drinks and tacky trinkets from other generations, including an old bicycle, a single crutch, and a rusted Muppet Show lunch box. And the food's not bad either!

621 N. Main St.


(540) 434-3594

Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar

If you love sports, beer, and wings, chances are you'll be a regular at BW3's. The place is dark and smoky, but hey, it is a bar. And you can't beat sports, the tube, and 39-cent wing night every Tuesday.

1007 S. Main St.


(540) 438-9790

The Artful Dodger

With numerous events hosted throughout the year, the Dodger is a hot spot for students looking for more to do than just drink. Thursday Salsa Nights have been a huge hit, as well as the live bands that play while people relax, eat, and drink.

47 Court Square


(540) 432-1179

Clementine Café

153 S. Main St.


(540) 801-8881

Casey's Lounge

Casey's, located in the Holiday Inn, is the place to be throughout the week. The fun is in the lounge offering DJs, live bands on weekends and Thursdays, and a game night.

1400 E. Market St.


(540) 433-2521

What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?

House Parties

Apartment and house parties are the in-thing at JMU, and not only for the age-challenged. Foxhills' renowned block parties and Ashby's perpetual weekend soirees are a constant source of entertainment for upperclassmen and underclassmen alike. Since Harrisonburg is no huge city with a raging nightlife, houses and apartments are your best bet for an eventful Friday and Saturday night. In all actuality, the parties are so numerous, that they're really all you'll need. Frats are also an option, although they're usually significantly more packed and dirtier than shindigs at non-Greek pads.

On campus

Student Polls

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 91 responses

  • 1% There are no good options.
  • 5% Use a designated driver.
  • 51% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 20% Public transportation.
  • 12% Taxis.
  • 11% Walk.

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 80 responses

Very poor
  • Convenience to get to
  • Cover charges
  • Distance from campus
  • Drink prices
  • Fun
  • Variety/number of options

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 92 responses

  • 1% Parties? What parties?
  • 2% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 12% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 59% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 26% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 6 responses

  • 50% Halloweekend!
  • 33% Aspen Heights Riot
  • 17% Spring thing

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 6 responses

  • 56% Student apartment complexes off campus
  • 44% Fraternity Houses


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