The area of Mueang Chiang Mai district was the central part of the Lanna Kingdom, named Nopphaburi Si Nakhon Phing Chiang Mai. King Mengrai the Great was the first king of the Mengrai dynasty, who established the city.
The government created Mueang Chiang Mai district in 1899. The first district office was opened in 1929, on the west side of the old city hall of Chiang Mai. A new district office was opened in August 1989.
The district Mueang Chiang Mai is subdivided into 16 subdistricts (Tambon).
Neighboring districts are (from the north clockwise) Mae Rim, San Sai, San Kamphaeng, Saraphi and Hang Dong.