Hohhot was founded by Altan Khan around 1580, although some sources state it was founded in 1557. Altan Khan and his successors constructed temples and fortress in 1579, 1602 and 1727. The Tumed Mongols had long been semiagricultural there. Hui merchants gathered north of the gate of the city's fortress, building a mosque in 1693. Their descendants forms the nucleus of the modern Hui people's district.
The Qing Dynasty built a strong garrison town near Hohhot, supervising southwestern Inner Mongolia in 1735-39. In 1913, the government of the new Republic of China united the garrison town and Hohhot as Guisi. With the occupation of the Japanese Empire in 1937, the city was renamed Hohhot. After the World War II, Prince Demchugdongrub's autonomous government in Hohhot surrendered to the Republic of China.
Until 1954, Hohhot was referred to in Chinese as Guisui, which is the abbreviation of the two districts of the city Guihua, arch. Southeastern old section, business district, established by Altan Khan around 1580, and Suiyuan Northeastern "New Town", government district, established in the 17th century by the Manchus. The two sections later became Guihua District of the Qing Empire, renamed to Guisui County in 1913, and upgraded to a city in 1950. It was the capital of the now-defunct Suiyuan Province. In 1952, under Inner Mongolian chairman Ulanhu, the city became the capital of Inner Mongolia. Suiyuan was annexed to the Inner Mongolian autonomous region two years later.
The city has seen significant development since China's reform and opening began. The city's far east side began development around 2000 and is now home to an artificial lake called Ruyi He, a large number of condominiums, the municipal government, and most of the Autonomous Region's government buildings. The Hohhot City Stadium was built on the city's north side