At the heart of the Four State Area, this city on the iconic and famous Route 66 offers chic cafés, public art displays and a glimpse of the Ozarks.
Joplin is an energetic city that thrives on the creativeness of its artists, chefs and designers while also paying homage to celebrated residents. Poet Langston Hughes grew up in Joplin, bandits Bonnie and Clyde chose it as a hideout and botanist George Washington Carver was born in the outskirts. Discover influences from the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Downtown Joplin straddling Route 66 is often called the Sunshine Lamp District, after the lamps that 19th-century miners wore on their helmets. Here cafés, galleries and restaurants have set up in revitalized redbrick buildings. Stroll along the wide pavements, shop in eclectic boutiques and satisfy your hunger on fare such as spicy chicken wings and wood-fired pizza.
Visit Joplin City Hall to see Thomas Hart Benton’s mural Joplin at the Turn of the Century. It portrays the various social groups that frequented Main Street in the late 1800s. Check out the Cruisin’ Into Joplin and The American Ribbon tile murals at Route 66 Mural Park. The free First Thursday ArtWalk offers a fascinating insight into these and other murals decorating Downtown Joplin.
West of downtown is Schifferdecker Park, home to the Joplin Museum Complex. The complex’s two museums, the Dorothea B. Hoover Historical Museum and Tri-State Mineral Museum, have exhibits about the city’s mining history. Snap a photo outside the Bonnie and Clyde Garage Hideout, where the outlaws hid in 1933. Admire varied architectural styles in the Murphysburg district.
The city’s surrounding countryside gives a snapshot of the natural treasures of the Ozark region. Swim in waterholes at Grand Falls. Follow interpretive walking trails around Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center. Hike amid a beautiful forest at George Washington Carver National Monument.
Fly to Joplin Regional Airport, located 6 miles (10 kilometers) north of the city center. Rent a car while in Joplin and extend your vacation by traveling farther along Route 66.