Like any city, Joplin’s new and potential residents might come to town with some assumptions about our area. If you’re thinking about choosing Joplin, here are five misconceptions about our town that we’d like to dispel.
Myth: If you’re not from here, you won’t fit in
Don’t tell that to folks who have moved from around the country, and even from around the world, to live here. National and international students from Missouri Southern State University and Kansas City University – Joplin often stay in the area after graduating because they’ve fallen in love with Joplin. Our growing health care and technology industries also recruit employees from every part of the country. And being at the corner of four different states means we have neighbors who come from all over the Midwest. Our different origins and stories have blended to create a shared culture that is uniquely Joplin’s.
Myth: Joplin is a small town
Choosing Joplin means choosing a big town with a hometown feel. Our official U.S. Census count hovers at around 50,000 residents, but during the weekdays, our population swells to 250,000. We’re the fourth largest metro area in Missouri with 400,000 people living within a 40-mile radius of our city. Our growing medical sector, education system, and entrepreneurial ecosystem are all on pace with larger cities. And we’re the smallest community in the nation with both a medical and dental school. Altogether, these accomplishments point to a city and a future that is anything but small.
Myth: We have no bodies of water.
Don’t let our lack of coastlines fool you. Joplin is settled on Shoal Creek, which is popular with waders, anglers, paddleboarders, and kayakers. Shoal Creek features Grand Falls, which is the largest continuously flowing natural waterfall in the state. Surrounded by one of the only natural chert glades in the world, as well as beautiful forestry, Grand Falls is a perfect destination for swimming and photo ops. There are also several major lakes within a short driving distance of Joplin, including Grand Lake, Beaver Lake, and Table Rock Lake.
Myth: Joplin is isolated from other cities
We’re often referred to as “the Crossroads of America.” Joplin is situated right on the borders of Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri, meaning we’re in the perfect position for quick day trips. Cities like Fayetteville and Bentonville, Arkansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Branson, Springfield, and Kansas City, Missouri are all under a two-and-a-half-hour drive Joplin. And if you’re looking to go a longer distance, the Joplin Regional Airport has flights to Chicago and Denver.
Myth: There’s nothing to do in Joplin
Joplin is home to over 50 arts and cultural organizations, ranging from local art galleries and concert houses to the 37,000-square-foot Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex. We also have more than 250 restaurants that serve a variety of cuisines and 21 local parks. And our local businesses offer entertainment and events for all ages. Whether it’s axe-throwing at Main Street Axe, virtual reality gaming at Pennington Station, pub trivia at Chaos Brewing, or hands-on STEAM activities at the Creative Learning Alliance, there’s always something to do in Joplin!