Joplin showcases American culture, contributing to the arts, music, film and history of the entire Southwest Missouri “crossroads”. Resting in the shadow of the Ozark Mountains, Joplin also hosts a portion of the renowned Route 66, which runs through the downtown area.
Things to do in Joplin
Downtown Joplin is the heart of the city, with centuries-old buildings repurposed as art galleries, trendy eateries, shops and boutiques in the Sunshine Lamp District. Follow Route 66 through downtown and out to Route 66 Park to find an amphitheatre, watchtower and preserved walking section of the original highway.
Joplin is home to dozens of outdoor murals depicting the city’s history. You can stop by working artist studios on your way to an evening of opera, plays or classical music at Stained Glass Theatre or Joplin Little Theatre. Tour the Joplin Museum Complex to discover mining-based museums and mineral collections.
With 200-plus eateries in Joplin, visitors typically start out sampling Missouri-style barbecue at Big R’s or Billy Sims BBQ. Other local favourites are Festival Mexican restaurant and Crabby’s Seafood. Spend an evening at Tropicana Bar & Grill for live music and a Buddha Gouda Burger or enjoy duelling pianos and comedy improve at JB’s Downtown.
Spend some time in nature at the cascading waterfall of Grand Falls, just off Riverside Drive. You can also go hiking at Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, an unspoiled chert glade ecosystem. Forests and trails beckon at George Washington Carver National Monument, which also houses a namesake museum honouring the former slave, botanist and inventor.
Getting around Joplin
Rental cars are available downtown and at Joplin Regional Airport, about eight kilometres away. Other transportation options include public trolley buses, taxis, shuttle vans and rideshares.