My husband and I take an anniversary trip each year, and this year we headed south to explore Mexico City. We hoped it would hit all our favorite vacation necessities: culture, art, architecture, style, and, of course, food. When friends heard we were going, several asked if it’s safe; I’m happy to report that I felt very safe and at ease the entire time. As with any big city, just use a little common world-traveler sense.

What we found exceeded our expectations. I loved the juxtaposition of traditional and modern found in every aspect of the city – there’s good reason it’s the World Design Capital for 2018. Here are five of my favorite discoveries.

1. Tacos. Food. More Tacos.

I can safely say Mexico City’s tacos are life-changing. From green-chorizo tacos to tacos al pastor served on the street, each bite left me wanting … another taco! Tip: Tacos are almost always served with red and green sauce. I quickly learned that spicy here is next level spicy, with habanero peppers often used as a base heat.

Tacos aside, Mexico City has world-class cuisine. We had the most unforgettable lunch at Pujol. While chef Enrique Olvera’s food, its presentation, and the physical design of his new space is exquisite, the staff is what made our experience extra special. When I got back home, I watched Olvera’s episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix to relive it.

Green-chorizo tacos and (right) the makings of tacos al pastor.

2. Mercado Jamaica

This traditional public market sells produce (I learned about the many varieties of corn found in Mexico) and meat, but it’s also an enormous flower market that distributes thousands of beautiful flowers and plants. Spend a morning exploring it for a fascinating glimpse of local culture.

A truck loaded with roses leaving the market and (right) spicy corn, ready to eat.

3. Art + Museums

Museo Soumaya, Museo Nacional de Antropología, and Casa Luis Barragán were highlights of our trip. From the buildings’ architecture to the collections and history housed inside, all were outstanding. We have already vowed to return just for the museums we missed on this trip. Tip: Mexico City traffic is no joke, always allow more time than you think you’ll need between destinations. Sometimes walking is faster than taking a taxi or an Uber.

Casa Luis Barragán and (right) Museo Nacional de Antropología’s Umbrella Fountain.

4. The St. Regis Mexico City

Overlooking the Huntress Diana Fountain on Paseo Reforma, The St. Regis Mexico City serves as a perfect home base in the city. Impeccable service, stunning views, a fresh quesadilla bar at breakfast each day (don’t miss the homemade blue tortillas!), a newly revamped menu at the hotel’s Diana Restaurant, and lively bars made for a memorable stay. I also loved receiving the signature St. Regis Bloody Mary as a welcome amenity.

Mezcal and pureed pasilla chilies spice up the hotel’s twist on a Bloody Mary. Right: Vibrant Diana Restaurant.

5. Architecture

There’s a mix of traditional and modern architecture at every turn: Colorful old stucco buildings sit blocks away from designs that leave you speechless (such as the Biblioteca Vasconcelos). Both make for very Instagrammable moments.

Traditional style and (right) the eye-popping Biblioteca Vasconcelos.

All photos by Korena Bolding Sinnett.

Editor’s Note: Sinnett’s photo from Mexico City made the January cover of Virtuoso Life magazine.