James Madison University Off-Campus Housing Guide When to search

Students at James Madison University don't like to waste any time when it comes to securing a place for the following school year. The number of off-campus housing related searches at JMU begins to rise in mid-September, with most students looking for places and scheduling showings throughout the month of October.

If you're an undergrad looking for a three, four or five plus bedroom house near the James Madison campus, you'll definitely want to get started before Halloween. If you have a car and don't mind a short commute, or if you're sick of roommates eating your leftovers and would prefer a one bedroom (we get it, we've been there), you might be able to get away with waiting until after break to find an apartment in Harrisonburg.

Rent In Harrisonburg, VA

Rent in Harrisonburg seems to be fairly cheap compared to other college towns in Virginia. You wont have to look too hard to find 2+ bedroom places for under $500 per person, and this number could be even lower depending on the number of roommates you're willing to have.

If you're hoping to live on your own, there aren't a ton of studios available for rent near campus. Fortunately, though, one bedrooms aren't too outrageously priced.

Here's a breakdown of average rents per person, per bedroom:

$763.00 $472.00 $398.00 $415.00

Life in Harrisonburg, VA Where to Have Fun

Things to Do

When they're not hitting the books, students at JMU students like to make the most out their campus and the surrounding area. The Quad seems to be a popular meet-up, and there will always be a colony of people throwing around a football, catching some sun, or just enjoying time with friends. Similarly, students often head downtown on the weekends, attend sporting events, and take advantage of the unlimited outdoor potential that Harrisonburg has to offer.

Highlights include:

  • Hang out on the Quad
  • Catch a movie at the Grafton Theater
  • Cheer on the Dukes at a JMU football game
  • Visit the beloved "Puppy Farm" near campus


Citizens of the Shenandoah Valley need look no further than their own backyard for some quality food and drinks. Downtown Harrisonburg is a culinary hotspot for self-proclaimed foodies and is even referred to as "restaurant row" by local residents.

If you don't feel like trekking it all the way downtown, there are a handful of chains and a few locally owned places right off campus, many offering discounts for JMU students. And luckily, many of the most popular places to eat also moonlight as some pretty great nightspots, so you can metaphorically kill two birds with one single, economical stone.

  • Jack Brown's Beer & Burger Joint
  • Clementine Cafe
  • Billy Jack's Wing & Draft Shack
  • Local Chop & Grill House
  • The Artful Dodger


If you're looking to take in some natural beauty, Harrisonburg has you covered. The city and the surrounding Shenandoah Valley are so picturesque that even the highways double as outdoor tourist attractions. The 105-mile Skyline Drive is a popular destination, and you can even stop at Shenandoah National Park for some camping, hiking, and horseback riding along the way.

Similarly, if you want to get involved on campus and would prefer to do it outside, check out the Outdoor Adventure Club, JMU's "hiking, camping, and anything else outdoors club."