Mexico City: what to see plus the best bars, restaurants and hotels

The colourful barrios of this teeming, oft-maligned capital are now thriving – with culture, creativity and an exciting, modern food scene

Until half a century ago, Mexico City was known as the Paris of the New World. Ample boulevards were lined with palm trees and French-style mansions. Crisp blue skies provided spectacular views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. The arts flourished. Then the urban decay that would plague many cities around the globe began to take its toll. The second half of the 20th century saw a huge increase in population and the metropolis struggled to cope. In 1985, a devastating earthquake took an enormous toll.

But the tide has turned. A progressive municipal government has made great advances in cleaning up the city. Swaths of the historic centre, once considered unsafe, have been repaved and pedestrianised, and shoppers and evening revellers now abound in the revitalised area.

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