Located in the southwestern corner of Missouri, Joplin is a vibrant city with a rich history and a thriving community. With a population of over 50,000 residents, Joplin offers a vibrant and close-knit community where locals and visitors alike can connect and engage.
Established in 1873, Joplin quickly flourished as a mining town due to its abundant reserves of lead and zinc. The mining industry brought prosperity to the region, attracting settlers and businesses that contributed to the city’s growth.
However, Joplin’s history also carries tales of resilience. In 2011, the city faced a devastating tornado that caused significant damage and loss of life.
Despite the tragedy, Joplin rallied together, rebuilding and revitalizing the community. This spirit of resilience and unity has become an integral part of Joplin’s identity.
With its strong sense of community, historical significance, and dynamic cultural scene, Joplin is a destination that captivates tourists from near and far.
Let’s explore together what to do in Joplin, MO if you have it on your destinations list.
Things to Do in Joplin, MO
1. Visit the Joplin History and Mineral Museum
Step into the Joplin History and Mineral Museum and prepare to embark on a captivating journey through time! This friendly museum is a treasure trove of fascinating artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Joplin’s vibrant past and the remarkable minerals that have shaped the region.
From the moment you enter, you’ll be greeted by friendly staff eager to share their knowledge and passion for the area’s history. Marvel at the beautifully displayed minerals and gemstones that sparkle and shine, offering a glimpse into the geological wonders found in the region.
Explore the exhibits that chronicle the rise of Joplin as a mining town and learn about the intrepid miners who shaped its identity. Immerse yourself in the rich stories of the local community, from its early pioneers to the events that have shaped its growth.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a geology buff, or simply curious about the heritage of Joplin, this museum offers a welcoming and educational experience for all.
2. Take a stroll through the beautiful Cunningham Park
Cunningham Park is also home to various amenities that enhance your experience. The park features well-maintained picnic areas equipped with tables and grills, making it a fantastic spot for hosting gatherings and enjoying outdoor meals.
Children can delight in the playgrounds, while sports enthusiasts can take advantage of the tennis courts and basketball courts.
The highlight of Cunningham Park is its beautiful lake, which serves as a focal point for relaxation and recreation. Enjoy leisurely walks along the lakeside paths, take in the scenic views, or find a cozy spot to have a picnic while admiring the tranquil waters.
3. Explore Schifferdecker Park
Schifferdecker Park, located in Joplin, Missouri, is a vibrant and inviting outdoor destination that offers something for everyone. This beloved park is known for its expansive green spaces, beautiful landscaping, and wide range of amenities, making it a favorite place for tourists.
For those seeking active recreation, Schifferdecker Park offers numerous amenities. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy the park’s tennis courts, basketball courts, and baseball fields, providing opportunities for friendly matches and games. The park also boasts a challenging disc golf course, perfect for those who enjoy this exciting and skillful sport.
Families will appreciate the park’s playgrounds, where children can climb, slide, and swing to their heart’s content. The park also features picnic areas equipped with tables and grills, ideal for enjoying a meal amidst the park’s natural beauty.
4. Go on a bike ride or walk along the Frisco Greenway Trail
Imagine spending a delightful couple of hours outside, immersed in the beauty of nature along the Frisco Greenway Trail. This picturesque trail offers the perfect opportunity for a leisurely bike ride or a relaxing walk, allowing you to reconnect with the great outdoors and enjoy some quality time together.
Whether you choose to pedal along on your bikes or take a leisurely stroll, the trail offers a smooth and well-maintained surface, making it easy to navigate and enjoy at your own pace.
As you make your way, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding natural landscapes, with glimpses of wildlife and the soothing sounds of birdsong accompanying your journey.
5. Attend a concert or event at the historic Spiva Center for the Arts
Established in 1947, the center has a rich history of promoting and supporting the arts in the region. The Spiva Center for the Arts offers a diverse range of artistic experiences and programs.
The gallery spaces within the center feature rotating exhibitions that showcase the work of both local and nationally recognized artists. Guests have the opportunity to explore various art mediums, styles, and themes, allowing for a dynamic and ever-changing artistic experience.
6. Visit the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center for hiking, birdwatching, and nature education
If you’re a nature enthusiast or simply love spending time outdoors, this place is a must-visit. Imagine walking along scenic trails that wind through beautiful woodlands, open prairies, and alongside the picturesque Shoal Creek. It’s a nature lover’s paradise!
Take your time exploring the well-maintained trails, and keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls this area home. From colorful birds to elusive creatures, every step offers a chance to encounter the wonders of nature up close.
Birdwatchers, you’re in for a treat! The Wildcat Glades area is a designated Important Bird Area, making it a prime spot for bird enthusiasts.
Grab your binoculars and head to the bird blinds and observation areas to catch a glimpse of a wide variety of feathered friends. It’s a true birdwatcher’s haven!
7. Enjoy a family-friendly day at the Candy House Gourmet Chocolate Factory
Get ready to indulge your sweet tooth at the Candy House Gourmet Chocolate Factory. The factory has a rich history that adds to its charm. Founded in 1970 by Paul and Carla Scharf, the Candy House started as a small family-owned business with a passion for creating delicious handmade chocolates.
Paul and Carla Scharf dedicated themselves to perfecting their chocolate-making craft, using only the finest ingredients and traditional techniques. Their commitment to quality and attention to detail quickly gained the Candy House a loyal following of chocolate enthusiasts in the Joplin area.
Over the years, the Candy House has remained true to its roots as a family-owned and operated business. Today, the Scharf family continues to oversee the operations, ensuring that the same love and passion for chocolate that began with Paul and Carla is passed down through the generations.
8. Catch a movie at the Regal Northstar Stadium movie theater
Regal Northstar Stadium is a popular movie theater located in Joplin, Missouri, known for providing an enjoyable cinematic experience to moviegoers of all ages. It is a go-to destination seeking the latest blockbuster films, comfortable seating, and a range of amenities.
What sets it apart is its cozy and intimate atmosphere, reminiscent of a small, independent art house theater. The venue itself is charming and inviting, with a warm and welcoming ambiance that creates a delightful setting for enjoying a film.
9. Take a trip to the Sandstone Gardens
Oh, get ready for an unforgettable day trip to Sandstone Gardens! This hidden gem in Joplin, Missouri, offers a delightful escape filled with beauty, inspiration, and a touch of whimsy. You’re in for a treat!
Their showroom is a treasure trove of inspiration, featuring an extensive collection of tastefully curated items. Whether you’re looking to add a touch of elegance to your living space, find a special gift for a loved one, or simply indulge in a little retail therapy, you’ll find it here.
Sandstone Gardens is open from Monday to Saturday, with operating hours from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Additionally, they are open on Sundays from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
10. Go shopping at Northpark Mall
Northpark Mall in Joplin is a fantastic spot for shopping enthusiasts and those looking for a fun retail experience.
When you step inside Northpark Mall, you’ll find yourself in a bustling shopping hub filled with a diverse selection of shops, boutiques, and brand-name stores.
From popular fashion retailers to specialty shops and accessory stores, there’s a wealth of options to explore. Whether you’re searching for the latest fashion trends, unique home decor, or even a special gift, you’re bound to find it here.
11. Visit the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts to see contemporary art exhibitions
Dedicated to promoting the arts and enriching the community through a diverse range of artistic experiences, the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts is a vibrant cultural hub located in Joplin.
The center prides itself on presenting a diverse range of visual arts, including paintings, sculptures, photography, mixed media, and more. The exhibitions rotate regularly, offering visitors a fresh and exciting experience with each visit.
When visiting the center, you may encounter the works of talented artists from various backgrounds, styles, and perspectives. The exhibitions are carefully curated to offer a thought-provoking and visually stimulating experience for art enthusiasts and the general public alike.
12. Attend a sporting event at Missouri Southern State University
The university offers a range of sports programs, including basketball, football, soccer, baseball, softball, track and field, and more. These sports events provide a thrilling atmosphere where you can cheer on the university’s teams and show your support.
The frequency of these sports events varies depending on the sport and the season. For popular sports like basketball and football, you can expect regular home games during the respective seasons. These games often attract a lively crowd, creating a spirited and electric atmosphere.
To stay updated on the schedule of sports events at Missouri Southern State University, you can visit their official athletics website or check the university’s events calendar. These resources will provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information about upcoming games, matches, and tournaments.
13. Have a picnic or go fishing at Mercy Park
Mercy Park offers a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of the outdoors and soak up the serenity that nature provides.
Visiting Mercy Park is not just about enjoying the beauty of nature; it’s also an opportunity to recharge and rejuvenate. The park’s serene ambiance, picturesque trails, and inviting picnic spots create an ideal setting for a memorable and relaxing time in nature.
So, come on over, take a deep breath of fresh air, and let Mercy Park envelop you in its natural charm.
14. Take a guided tour of the historic Bonnie and Clyde’s Joplin Garage Apartment hideout
Embark on a guided tour that will transport you back in time and reveal the fascinating stories behind this notorious duo. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were infamous outlaws during the Great Depression era, known for their daring robberies and notorious crime spree across the United States.
The guided tour of Bonnie and Clyde’s Joplin Garage Apartment hideout offers a unique glimpse into the lives of these legendary outlaws. Led by knowledgeable and passionate guides, you’ll explore the very place where Bonnie and Clyde sought refuge and planned their criminal escapades.
During the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the actual garage apartment where Bonnie and Clyde hid from law enforcement. The tour allows you to step back in time and imagine the tension and excitement that surrounded these infamous criminals.
15. Visit the Harry S. Truman Birthplace State Historic Site in nearby Lamar, MO
The site holds historical significance as it was the place where Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884. It is the birthplace of the 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, and offers a unique opportunity to explore the early life and humble beginnings of this influential leader.
The historic house, meticulously preserved and restored, gives guests a glimpse into the living conditions and lifestyle of the Truman family during that time. The site also features exhibits and displays that highlight Truman’s life and achievements, providing a comprehensive understanding of his legacy.
16. Take a trip to the nearby Grand Falls, a scenic waterfall on Shoal Creek
Grand Falls is often referred to as the largest continuously flowing waterfall in Missouri, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. As you approach Grand Falls, you’ll be greeted by the sound of rushing water and the sight of cascading falls.
The falls stretch across a width of approximately 163 feet (50 meters) and drop about 12 feet (3.7 meters), creating a mesmerizing spectacle. The water flows over a series of rocky ledges, forming a picturesque landscape that is both captivating and serene.
It’s important to note that swimming and climbing on the falls are not allowed due to safety concerns. However, the observation areas and nearby trails offer great vantage points to admire the falls and capture memorable photographs.
17. Visit the famous Route 66 and see some of its iconic landmarks in Joplin
First and foremost, make sure to visit the historic Rainbow Bridge, a true symbol of Route 66. This stunning truss bridge dates back to 1923 and stands as a testament to the road’s golden era. While you can no longer drive across it, you can still take a stroll and admire its vintage charm.
Next, swing by the beautiful 66 Drive-In Theater. This classic outdoor cinema captures the nostalgia of the past, allowing you to experience movies the old-fashioned way. Pack some snacks, grab a spot under the stars, and enjoy a cinematic journey back in time.
If you’re hungry for some delicious grub, head to the iconic White Grill. This beloved diner has been serving hungry travelers since the 1920s and has retained its retro charm. Indulge in their mouthwatering burgers, homemade pies, and friendly atmosphere—an authentic taste of Route 66 dining.
For a dose of history, visit the Joplin Museum Complex. This fascinating museum showcases the city’s connection to Route 66, along with exhibits on mining, local heritage, and more. Dive into the stories and artifacts that bring Joplin’s Route 66 history to life.
Lastly, don’t miss the iconic Route 66 mural located downtown. This vibrant artwork captures the essence of the Mother Road and showcases Joplin’s pride in its connection to this historic highway. It’s a perfect spot for a photo op and to celebrate the spirit of adventure that Route 66 embodies.
18. Attend the annual Joplin Arts Fest
The Joplin Arts Fest is typically held in the late spring or early summer, although exact dates may vary from year to year. The festival was first started in 1973, making it one of the longest-running arts festivals in the region.
The primary motivation behind the inception of the Joplin Arts Fest was to promote and celebrate the arts in the local community. The festival was founded with the belief that art is a vital component of a vibrant and thriving community, and it serves as a platform to showcase the diverse talents of artists in and around Joplin.
The Joplin Arts Fest also plays a role in fostering cultural and economic growth in the region. By attracting artists, performers, and attendees from near and far, it helps to boost tourism, support local businesses, and contribute to the overall vitality of Joplin’s arts and cultural scene.
19. Check out the murals and street art around Joplin
One of the best spots to explore is the Joplin Avenue Murals. Located on the sides of various buildings along Joplin Avenue, these larger-than-life murals beautifully depict Joplin’s history, culture, and vibrant spirit. Each mural tells a unique story, showcasing the incredible talent and artistic vision of local and visiting artists.
For a taste of community spirit, head to the East Town Mural Project. This ongoing initiative brings together local artists, residents, and business owners to transform walls and buildings into stunning works of art.
The murals here reflect the diverse voices and experiences of Joplin’s East Town neighborhood, creating a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere.
20. Take a pottery class at the Firehouse Pottery & Art Studio
Get ready to unleash your creativity and have a blast at the Firehouse Pottery & Art Studio in Joplin, Missouri. Their pottery classes are a fantastic way to dive into the world of pottery and let your artistic side shine.
The studio provides all the necessary materials and tools, so you can simply bring your enthusiasm and eagerness to create. They have a wide range of glazes and paints available, allowing you to add vibrant colors and personal touches to your masterpiece.
To ensure you have a spot reserved for the class, it’s a good idea to book in advance. You can either give them a friendly call or check out their website to see the available class schedule and book online. This way, you can secure your spot and avoid any last-minute disappointments.
In conclusion, Joplin, Missouri, is a city that leaves a lasting impression on its visitors. From its rich history as a mining town to its remarkable resilience in the face of adversity, Joplin’s story is one of strength and community. The city’s diverse population adds to its vibrant tapestry, fostering a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere that embraces everyone who walks its streets.
Throughout Joplin, you’ll discover a wealth of attractions and experiences. Immerse yourself in the city’s history at its captivating museums, which tell the tales of its mining heritage and the people who shaped its identity. Indulge in the local cuisine, sampling a blend of Midwestern flavors and international delights that will satisfy any palate.
Nature enthusiasts will find solace in Joplin’s beautiful surroundings, with opportunities for outdoor adventures in the stunning Ozark Mountains. From hiking and biking trails to serene lakes and parks, the city offers an escape into nature’s embrace.
But perhaps the most captivating aspect of Joplin is its sense of community. The people of Joplin embody a spirit of resilience, unity, and warmth that is truly inspiring. The city’s recovery from the devastating tornado is a testament to its indomitable.
Best Things to Do in Joplin, MO with Kids
Here are some of the best things to do in Joplin, Missouri, with kids if you are planning a family trip:
- Cunningham Park: This park offers a variety of outdoor activities for families. There are playgrounds, walking trails, picnic areas, and a splash pad for kids to enjoy during the warmer months.
- Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center: This nature center provides educational programs and interactive exhibits that teach kids about local wildlife and conservation. The nearby trails offer opportunities for family-friendly hikes and exploration.
- George A. Spiva Center for the Arts: A visit to this art center can be both educational and fun for kids. It features rotating art exhibitions and often hosts family-friendly events and workshops.
- Grand Falls: Known as the “largest continuously flowing waterfall in Missouri,” Grand Falls is a natural attraction where kids can observe and explore the scenic beauty of the area. It’s a great spot for outdoor photography and picnics.
- Joplin Museum Complex: This complex comprises several museums, including the Everett J. Ritchie Tri-State Mineral Museum and the Dorothea B. Hoover Historical Museum. It’s a chance for kids to learn about the history and geology of the region.
Best Time to Visit Joplin, MO
The best time to visit Joplin, Missouri, depends on your preferences for weather and the types of activities you want to enjoy. Here’s more information about the different seasons:
- Spring (March to May): Spring is generally considered one of the best times to visit Joplin. The temperatures are mild and pleasant, with highs ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit (18-24°C). This season brings blooming flowers and green landscapes, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities, hiking, and exploring local parks.
- Summer (June to August): Summer is warm and sunny in Joplin, with temperatures often reaching the 80s and occasionally climbing into the 90s Fahrenheit (27-37°C). It’s a great time for outdoor adventures, including trips to water parks, enjoying local festivals, and taking advantage of the vibrant atmosphere.
- Fall (September to November): Fall is another pleasant time to visit. The weather starts to cool down, making it comfortable for outdoor exploration and sightseeing. Temperatures range from the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit (18-24°C). Fall foliage can also add a picturesque touch to the city’s scenery.
- Winter (December to February): Winters in Joplin are relatively mild compared to many other parts of the country. Daytime temperatures typically range from the mid-40s to mid-50s Fahrenheit (7-15°C). While there might be occasional colder days, it’s still possible to explore indoor attractions, museums, and local shops.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the top attractions in Joplin?
Joplin’s top attractions include the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, Grand Falls, Cunningham Park, Joplin Museum Complex, and Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center.
Is Joplin safe for tourists?
Joplin is generally safe for tourists. Like any city, it’s wise to be aware of your surroundings and take basic safety precautions.
What are some good outdoor activities in Joplin?
Enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking at Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, exploring Cunningham Park, and visiting Grand Falls, a scenic natural attraction.