For a Better Commute. For a Better Manassas.

‘Old Town’ or ‘Historic Downtown’ Manassas?

Why, Potomac Local, why? 

Have you ever been walking, driving, or riding along and asked: “why?”

Why does this road only have two lanes when it could be better with four? Why does this school have so many trailers classrooms while others don’t?

We always like to hear your questions to our local community, and if you send us a question to, we promise to do our best to find an answer.

For years, residents referred to the walkable area of Manassas — with all the little restaurants, mom and pop shops, and the city’s iconic train station, as “Old Town” Manassas. This week, we wanted to know why people are now calling it “Historic Downtown” Manassas.

We asked a representative from the city’s economic development office, and we were told: 

“The City conducted a comprehensive consumer awareness and perception study sampling residents in Prince William and the Washington DC MSA: VA Region.  Consumers were asked “When you hear the phrase “Old Town” what community in the DC area comes to mind?” 82.5% of respondents cited Alexandria, 14.2% cited Manassas and the rest cited Fredericksburg and Warrenton.  To effectively build brand awareness the City of Manassas chose to begin referring to its downtown as

To effectively build brand awareness the City of Manassas chose to begin referring to its downtown as Historic Downtown Manassas.

According to Patrick Small, Director of Economic Development for the City, “many residents continue to refer to the City’s downtown as Old Town, but over time we expect that the new moniker will gain traction.  In conjunction with the City’s overall brand as a community with a “Historic Heart and Modern Beat”, and the City’s resurgence as an authentic Main Street community that people choose to visit for special events, shopping and dining, Manassas has steadily gained market share within the region.”

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  • tbornottb

    I for one am glad they are moving to call it ‘historic downtown’. I was born and raised in Old Town Alexandria and it was the only local city to call the historic area ‘Old Town’ for decades and most people knew what city that referred to. As the years went by so many localities decided they also had an Old Town and you never knew what city they were talking about unless you ask for more info. Bottom line…too many Old town monikers to keep track of.

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