Soho stands for South of Houston, and is the area to west of Little Italy and China town. It has a few defining aesthetic characteristics, such as cast- iron fronted buildings, a fad in architecture that was popular in the 1800's. In addition, many streets still have exposed cobble stones and many buildings have visible fire escapes. The area was once called Hell's Hundred Acres because there many untended warehouses that were filled with flammables and the large parts of the neighborhood would occasionally go up in flames. In the mid 20th century, the area became home to artists, because the warehouse- turned apartments offered high ceilings and large loft spaces that made nice studios. Today, this area is incredibly high priced and most store fronts belong to large chain stores.

Some example of cast- iron buildings:

113 and 115 Spring Street
Strapwork fire escapes provide the image of a woven basket. 

Donald Judd House
This house is what used to be the artist Donald Judd's home and studio. Currently there is a project to restore the front of the building with true cast iron, not synthetics, and Judd's home and studio is being carefully preserved until the whole building can be open to the public. 

Hotel Mercer
This hotel was once the warehouse for John Jacob Astor's fur coat fabrications. 

St. Nicholas Hotel
This 1000 bed hotel used to be one of the most prominent in the city, until the Civil War, when the hotel became the headquarters of the War Department. In 1867, Mark Twain met his soon to be wife, Olivia Langdon, in the dining room of the hotel.