The seat of Florida’s Osceola County, Downtown Kissimmee lies on the northwestern shores of Lake Tohopekaliga, just to the south of Orlando. It boasts a relaxed waterfront setting and historic architecture, all within close proximity to the Walt Disney World Resort complex.
Broadway is the main commercial thoroughfare through Downtown Kissimmee, lined with cafes, restaurants and popular retail stores, and runs parallel to Church Street where many of the city’s religious institutions are found. The Kissimmee Historic District comprises much of the Downtown area and contains 189 historic buildings of note, including Makinson Hardware which was founded in 1884. It now exhibits an impressive mural depicting the history of Kissimmee, while the city’s Old Courthouse dates to 1887. The more modern Osceola County Courthouse is the city’s tallest building, located just to the west of Broadway, while the Kissimmee Civic Center lies on Lakeview Drive which leads to the water’s edge. Along Lake Tohopekaliga lies Kissimmee’s Lakefront Park which was once a major fishing hub and steamboat-building shipyard. Today it hosts events throughout the year, including the weekly Kissimmee Valley Farmers Market, while the lake remains a popular destination for bass fishing. The Monument of States stands proudly within Lakefront Park, with its tower decorated with stones, meteorites and bones from across America, designed to encourage unity following the World War II Pearl Harbour attack.
Downtown Kissimmee is well connected to Orlando by both Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains from its Multi-Modal Transportation Hub between Neptune Road and Monument Street. It’s around 15 minutes’ drive to the Orlando International Airport which lies to the north of the city, while the Downtown area is compact and easily explored on foot.
The city was officially incorporated in 1883 and named for the Kissimmee River which means “long water” in the local Native American language. During its early years, it prospered as a base for the dredging of land in South Florida, an initiative led by wealthy landowner Hamilton Disston.