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If you’re visiting Jordan, you’ll likely be starting or ending your trip in Amman, the capital city where the international airport is. So you may be wondering if there are fun things to do in Amman and if it’s worth spending any of your time there – and the answer is yes!
While there are many amazing places to visit in Jordan, it’s worth spending at least one day in Amman, and ideally a couple more.
Amman is my favorite big city in the Middle East I’ve been to so far, with many nice neighborhoods to explore, historical sites, delicious restaurants, and fun things to do.
In this Amman travel guide, I’m sharing everything you need to know, including getting there, top things to do in Amman, day trip ideas, the best places to stay, and where to eat to experience Jordan’s fantastic cuisine.
Getting to Amman
If you’re flying into Jordan from an International destination, you’ll be landing at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) in Amman, which is about 40 minutes from downtown Amman.
Ubers/taxis are readily available to take you from the airport to downtown Amman (around 20 JD), or you can pre-arrange a private transfer here. I recommend doing the latter if you’re coming in late or have a long flight – it’s much easier!
There is also the option to get to Jordan from Egypt/Israel via passenger ferry, in which case your starting point will be Aqaba on the Red Sea. Aqaba is a four-hour drive from Amman.
Getting Around Amman
Amman is relatively easy to get around, especially if you are staying in a neighborhood like Jabel Amman, where you easily walk around to restaurants and shops.
If you want to go further, Ubers are the best option as they are convenient and affordable. 10-15 minute Uber rides cost me around 3 JD.
My Experience in Amman Jordan
After spending my last few days in Egypt in Cairo, I wasn’t looking forward to being in another big city in the Middle East based on the assumption it was going to be hectic and dirty and my time would be spent in traffic.
However, driving from the airport to my hotel made it apparent that Amman was not the city I expected it to be. Traffic was minimal, the roads were clean, and it had an overall vibe that immediately resonated with me.
Amman is a city I could see myself living in. The people are kind, it’s got many restaurants and cafes suitable for digital nomads, and even a nightlife scene. It’s one of the most liberal and westernized Arab cities I’ve visited.
Amman is a good starting point for starting your itinerary in Jordan, as it’s centrally located within driving distance to many main attractions.
Even if you were only in Amman, you could see many of Jordan’s highlights as day trips. But, I do recommend traveling around the country.
I returned to Amman after finishing my week trip in Jordan and spent another three days exploring the city, which I’m so grateful for because it made me fall in love with the city.
Where To Stay In Amman
Lo Locanda Boutique Hotel is an excellent option in Jebel Al Weibdeh, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Amman. You’ll be just a short walk away from some of Amman’s top restaurants, including Bei Sitti (see below).
The staff are super friendly here, and there’s an on-site restaurant serving a delicious complimentary breakfast full of local products. Each room is themed after a musician, with modern decor and a very comfy bed. I stayed here for my first night in Jordan with Traverse Journeys and enjoyed it.
When I returned to Amman after finishing my Jordan itinerary, I stayed at the House Boutique Hotel, which would be my top pick for hotels in Amman.
@explorewithlora This is hands down the best upgrade of my life. The house boutique suites in Amman! #ammanjordantiktok🇯🇴 #ammanhotels #hotellife #penthousesuite #visitamman ♬ Forever – Single Version – The Little Dippers
The suites at House Boutique Hotel are fantastic, especially since they were kind enough to upgrade us to the penthouse, which is the coolest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. It has the most amazing rooftop terrace overlooking the city, with beautiful modern decor inside.
There’s also a great breakfast buffet included, an on-site spa, and a bar adjacent. The hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of Rainbow Street.
Top Restaurants In Amman
Beit Sitti is the place to go if you want to immediately feel at home. This locally owned farm-to-table restaurant serves delicious family-style meals in an intimate setting that reminds you of being at Grandma’s house.
This was my first introduction to Jordan’s spectacular regional cuisine, and it set the bar high. They are open for lunch and dinner and also offer cooking classes so you can bring the taste of Jordan home with you!
Dali Space is a fantastic restaurant with local beers, delicious food, and hookah. It’s a great place for coworking during the day with outlets, many tables, and friendly cats and dogs.
In the evening, it starts to become more lively. We spent the whole afternoon into the evening hanging out here and chatting with locals.
Shams El Balad Is Amman’s first farm-to-table, vegetarian-friendly restaurant. It’s a great place to share dishes between a group and pick up local products sourced directly from the community.
For a fancy meal out, head to Jordan River (JR) Wine Experience, where you can enjoy locally-made wines (yes, Jordan is a wine destination). The winery owns the restaurant, and you can sample the various wines they produce here alongside a delicious meal.
If you want something quick, cheap, and delicious, eat from one of the street-style falafel or shwarma stands.
Or, if you’re looking for a delicious coffee, a quick bite, or a place to work, Rumi Cafe is a great spot.
While nightlife is not as prevalent as in Western Culture, there are quite a few places in Jordan to go out drinking. My recommendation would be one of the city’s many rooftop bars along The Boulevard.
Fun Things to do In Amman
Visit The Amman Citadel
The Amman Citadel is an ancient historical site with Roman ruins in the city’s center. It’s part of Decapolis, a group of ten Hellenistic cities on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire.
Today, six are found in Jordan, and the Amman Citadel (formerly Philadelphia) is one of the most accessible, being in the center of Amman.
While Jerash (see day trip ideas below) is the most impressive Roman city in Jordan, the Citadel is still worth visiting – especially if you don’t have the time to go to Jerash.
It’s a great place to learn about the Roman occupation of Amman in 162AD, and there are some great photo ops here.
There are still some impressive Roman columns standing and the gigantic hand of Hercules. From the size of the hand, it is speculated that the statue was once 13m, which would make it one of the largest marble statues known to man.
There’s also an impressive Roman Theatre that seats about 6,000 people, still used for concerts today.
I’d recommend at least an hour and a half to walk around the Citadel. There’s also the small Jordan Archaeological Museum here, included with your Citadel entrance fee.
The Citadel is a great place to start your itinerary in Amman because it’s got amazing views overlooking the city, as it was built on the top of one of the highest hills. Plus, it’s just a short walking distance from Downtown Amman.
Downtown Amman (Al Balad)
From the Citadel, you can walk to downtown Amman, the traditional market area. There, you can find just about anything you want! My recommendation would be to taste your way through the various food stalls.
Walking through local markets is one of my favorite things to do while exploring a new country; it gives you a great insight into the day-to-day life of the locals.
While markets can be hectic and sometimes overwhelming, I found the people here were very friendly and welcoming, just like in the rest of the country.
Walk over to any stand, and you’ll likely be given something free to eat. It’s a great place to stock up on snacks for your trip, especially the dried dates.
In fact, as we were walking out of the market, a local started handing us bowls of hot soup they were serving for free on the street. My tour guide told me that this is something they do every day, which just goes to show the kindness in this country.
Visit Wild Jordan
If you’re looking to pick up locally made products or souvenirs to take home, Wild Jordan is one of the best places to do so. This cultural center sources artisan crafts from around the country that support women.
It’s just a short walk away from Rainbow Street and doubles as a restaurant. From the roof, you get a gorgeous view of the Amman Citadel.
King Abdullah I Mosque
King Abdullah I Mosque is one of the most impressive mosques in the city. Unfortunately, we only had time to admire it from the outside, but you can go inside during opening hours as long as you have appropriate clothing.
Visit the Pigeon Market
One of the things I was surprised to learn about in Jordan is that pigeons are highly sought after.
Pigeons are trained to fly from one place to another, and are considered to be beautiful. As a result, there is a pigeon market for trading.
Walk Around Jabal Amman and Rainbow Street
Jabal Amman is a heritage district in Amman. It’s located on top of a hill and can easily be explored on foot. Just be warned, there are many stairs to climb.
One of the most Instagrammable places in this area of Amman is Rainbow Street. True to its name: it’s a colorful street full of shops and restaurants to explore.
If you’re there on a Friday, you can also visit Souk Jara, an open-air flea market where you can find locally-made products.
Amman also has quite a bit of impressive street art. My guide told me that the government has been commissioning artists to create local pieces, which is great.
Day Trips From Amman
There are many options for day tours from Amman if you have some extra time.
Jerash, another of the ten cities of Decapolis, is one of the most well-preserved Roman cities you’ll see outside Italy.
Spend at least a half-day exploring the massive complex. There’s a spectacular Forum, the Nymphaeum, and the Artemis Temple.
@explorewithlora Loved spending the morning here! #jerashjordan #visitjordan #visitjordan🇯🇴 #romanruins #romanarchaeology ♬ Glisten by the Wind – nick leng
Jerash is also set on a beautiful pasture where locals bring their goats to graze. We visited during the spring flower bloom, which made a gorgeous backdrop to the ruins. Less than an hour away from Amman, Jerash is one of the best day trips from Amman.
Al-salt used to be the regional capital when the Ottoman Empire reigned; it was the central trading hub. Today, you can visit there and explore the traditional souks (markets) for food and shopping.
Petra tours from Amman
While I definitely recommend spending more than a half-day in Petra, if you’re short time it is possible to visit as a day trip from Amman.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the world’s seven wonders and the highlight of most travelers’ time in Jordan.
On this full-day private tour to Petra, you’ll get picked up from your accommodation and have six hours to explore Petra, including the treasury, the theater, and the monastery – three of the most impressive landmarks in the complex.
The Dead Sea From Amman
Just an hour’s drive from the city, the Dead Sea is one of the best Amman day trips.
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and has the highest salt concentration of any body of water. Due to the high salt concentration, when you go into the water, it’s impossible not to float. Such a crazy sensation!
While there are resorts and hotels around the area, I don’t think it’s necessary to spend the night by the Dead Sea as it only takes a couple of hours to experience. Trust me; the water is so salty, you won’t want to be in there for long.
The easiest way to get from Amman to the Dead Sea is on a private tour. It includes pick-up from your hotel and ample free time to ‘swim’ in the water. There’s also the option to upgrade to a hotel so that you can enjoy their facilities, including outdoor swimming pools, showers, and a spa offering Dead Sea mud treatments. Highly recommend!
Aljoun Forest Reserve
The Aljoun Forest Reserve is an entirely different landscape than anywhere else in the country. It’s a green forest and is a vitally important habitat for the Roe Deer and various bird species. There’s also a castle there you can visit.
While I think the best way to experience it is by staying at the eco-lodge on-premise, you can also visit on a day trip.
One day In Amman
With just one day in Amman, I’d recommend staying at one of the above accommodation recommendations, as this will make it easy to walk to shops and restaurants without traveling too far.
Start your day at the Citadel, then walk to downtown Amman and wander your way through the markets where you can grab a quick bite to eat. In the afternoon, head over to Jabal Amman and Rainbow Street and stop in Wild Jordan to pick up souvenirs.
If you have the energy, head out in the evening to the Boulevard for a few drinks in one of the city’s rooftop bars or simply relax in a hookah lounge.
I hope this guide can help you plan your Amman itinerary! It’s a fantastic city with so much to offer, so definitely incorporate a day or three into your Jordan itinerary to give it the time it deserves.
Have you been to Amman? Let me know what you think of it in the comments!