Known during French colonial rule as Tourane, Danang succeeded Hoi An as the most important port in central Vietnam during the 19th century, a position it retains to this day.

As American involvement in Vietnam escalated, Danang was where American combat troops first landed in South Vietnam – 3500 marines in March 1965. Memorably, they stormed Nam O Beach in full battle gear, only to be greeted by a bevy of ao dai–wearing Vietnamese girls bearing cheerful flower garlands. A decade later, with the Americans and South Vietnamese in full retreat, the scene was very different as desperate civilians fled the city. On 29 March 1975, two truckloads of Communist guerrillas, more than half of them women, declared Danang liberated without firing a shot.

Today Danang hosts one of Vietnam's most vibrant economies, and is often dubbed 'Silicon City' due to its booming web sector.