A Rich History

Shortly after Texas won its independence at the Battle of San Jacinto, the City of Houston was founded. On August 26, 1836 Augustus C. and John K. Allen purchased 6,642 acres of land along Buffalo Bayou for $5,000. They named their new town Houston, in honor of the recent war hero Sam Houston. On August 30 the Allen Brothers officially opened their town and sold land to the public for $1.00 per acre. They advertised throughout the Union and people began to pour in. A year later, with 1,200 residents, the city of Houston was incorporated and has not stopped growing since. 

As the nation's fourth-largest city, Houston is a melting pot of peoples and cultures, a dynamic community of world-class art, entertainment, food and attractions. The city's geographic location on the Gulf Coast and superb airport system make it a gateway to Latin America and the world beyond. A diverse economy, coupled with a "can do" attitude has made Houston a prime destination for entrepreneurs and those looking for new opportunities.

Did you know?



  • At 655 square miles, the City of Houston could contain the cities of New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Miami.
  • With 2.2 million residents, Houston is the fourth most populous city in the United States, trailing only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The city is the largest in the South and the Southwest.
  • Houston is the nation’s demographic future; in racial and ethnic composition, the Houston of today very much resembles the U.S. 40 years hence. 



Downtown Fast Facts
51 Million

An eclectic mix of historic and contemporary infrastructure, convenient transit options, convention and sports venues, an active cultural and arts scene, fine dining and shopping, a robust office workplace and a growing residential population, Downtown Houston is one of the region’s most dynamic and vibrant mixed-use urban centers. The Downtown Core measures 1.84 square miles and is bounded by Interstate I-10 on the north, I-69 on the east and I-45 on the south and west.

Over the past two decades, more than $9 billion in public and private investments have been made towards achieving Downtown’s vision of a dynamic and vibrant place to live, work and play.


The Downtown District has been a major player in most of the public/private projects that have transformed downtown over the last decade.

When the Houston Downtown Management District (Downtown District) was formed by the Texas Legislature in 1995, with the leadership of Senator Rodney Ellis and Representative Garnet Coleman, downtown was on the cusp of a rebirth. Governmental leaders had realized the value of a vibrant city center, and the Downtown District’s mandate was to facilitate the transformation into a vital core for living, working and leisure.

The Downtown District operates under the direction of a 30-member board of directors whose primary focus is to leverage public funds with assessments to improve facilities and services, as well as accelerate area improvements with widespread benefit above and beyond the level presently provided by local government or voluntary effort. The Downtown District’s services and capital improvements are financed through an assessment based on the certified tax rolls of the Harris County Appraisal District and a rate determined annually by the Board of Directors. The current 5-year Service & Improvements and Assessment Plan is for tax years 2016-2020.

The Districts role has evolved over the past 20 years. Much more than just street keepers, they advocate for Downtown in every way. Whether it’s leveraging monies, recruiting investors, retailers and tenants, or creating an easy-to-use webportal, the Downtown District is involved.

As Downtown evolves and moves forward, there is much more to do for Houston to truly take its place among the world’s great cities. The Downtown District is proud, as always, to help lead the way. 

For more information, visit downtowndistrict.org





One of the great things about Downtown is its location!  We're in close proximity to some wonderful and diverse neighborhoods that offer a variety of unique experiences, from restaurants and shopping to culture and entertainment. 


The Downtown District Safe & Clean Program strives to make downtown Houston an attractive place to live, work and visit. These highly visible teams of safety guides and maintenance and cleaning teams provide daily services to maintain safety and cleanliness within the district. In addition, the District works very closely with the Mayor's office and the Houston Police Department on initiatives focused on civility, health and safety.  

In May 2017, Mayor Sylvester Turner met with over 70 faith leaders representing diverse congregations from across Houston to launch the Meaningful Change- Not Spare Change campaign to address panhandling. The Meaningful Change campaign asks Houstonians to resist the urge to give to panhandlers, and instead invest in The Way Home. Houstonians can donate to the Meaningful Change campaign online at www.meaningfulchange.org. One-hundred percent of all donations will go directly to The Way Home's Welcoming Home Fund to help homeless individuals move off the streets into permanent housing by providing furniture, household basics, and housing deposits.

The Meaningful Change campaign is just one part of the City's holistic approach to addressing homelessness. The Way Home, a collaborative of more than 100 partners- including the City of Houston - are working together to solve homelessness by getting homeless individuals into permanent housing as quickly as possible, and then providing them with voluntary supportive services to help them remain in housing. The Way Home is leading the nation in solving homelessness; since the collaborative began, more than 8,000 homeless individuals have been placed into permanent housing, and overall homelessness has decreased by more than 57% in Greater Houston.


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