Planning a trip to Jordan and wondering what to do in Amman? This is the most complete Amman travel guide with the best things to do and places to visit in the capital of Jordan. An up-to-date list of the most amazing places for sightseeing in Amman based on my own experiences in the first weeks of January 2023.
Of course, I understand that traveling to Jordan means visiting the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum and Petra, but most international flights to Jordan arrive and depart from Amman so there is a big chance you will have one or two days to spend in Amman in your Jordan itinerary. Don’t worry, visiting Amman is most definitely not a waste of time, the city has a lot of fun things to do and some marvellous things to see.
It was my second time traveling to Amman and while exploring all the Amman activities I realized once more why I really love this city! In total I spent almost 2 weeks in Amman, also because I am a full time nomad and travel blogger trying to visit every country in the world.
Check out the below video of all the highlights sightseeing in Amman. I recorded all the best places to see and things to do in Amman when visiting and tell you some background information. Please give the video a like for my effort helping you to make the most of your trip to Jordan. Thank you!
Make sure you buy a local prepaid sim card for Jordan on arrival at Amman Airport. It is the best way to stay connected and you can already get 15 GB data for $15. Click on the link above to see my recommendation, the best network coverage and the where to buy one.
Amman dates back to 7250 BC, which makes it one of the oldest cities in the world. No wonder it has numerous archeological sites and historical places to see, but also modern hip neighborhoods, colorful markets, a thriving food and art scenes and many more cool activities. To top this up, the city has this super easygoing atmosphere and friendly locals that’ll make you your trip to Amman one to remember.
1. Roman Theater
Your trip to Amman cannot be complete if you don’t visit the Roman Theater located in downtown. To me it is the best thing to do in Amman and you will see why when you enter. This tourist attraction was likely built in the 2nd century AD. It has been restored beautifully, bringing back the days of the Roman Empire. The Roman Theater in Amman doesn’t fail to impress the views from the top are amazing, perfectly blending historic Jordanian heritage with the city’s vibrant modern-day life.
The Roman Theater has a capacity of 6000 people making it the biggest theatre from the Roman Philadelphia period in Jordan. The venue is actually still being used for concerts and events from time-to-time.
Looking for free things to do in Amman? Believe it or not but there is no entrance fee for visiting the Roman Theater in Amman, it is FREE! Climb up the stairs to the highest level for the most amazing views over the city. There are also two small museums free to visit on both sides of the amphitheater: Jordan Museum of Popular Traditions and the Jordan Folklore Museum.
Make sure to either visit the Roman theater early morning to the have it all for yourself or go around sunset to make your visit even more magical. The opening hours for the Amman Roman Theater are 08.00 am to 08.00 pm.
2. Amman Citadel
Another must see tourist attraction is the Amman Citadel perched on top of one of the highest hills in the city. From the Roman Theater there is a set of staircases that leads up to the Amman Citadel. The walk takes about 20 minutes though an old residential neighborhood with super friendly local people.
The Amman Citadel is home to several archeological sites and dates as far back as the Bronze Age (1800 BC). Visiting the Amman Citadel was one of the highlights of my Amman sightseeing trip. From the citadel you have incredible views over the capital of Jordan, but the best places to see here is the Temple of Hercules, built in the center of the citadel.
Five massive pillars on a podium is what’s remaining of the Temple of Hercules. The Temple of Hercules is believed to be constructed around 160 AD.
Close by, there is a large stone sculpture with three bent fingers, the hand of Hercules. This humanizing fragment was once part of a colossal statue of Hercules and is believed to have stood more than 4 meter (13 ft) tall.
On the grounds of the Amman Citadel there is also the Umayyad Palace, the Jordan Archeological Museum and a Byzantine church which are worth visiting.
For more facts and historic background information check out the Amman Citadel Wikipedia Page.
The Amman Citadel entrance fee is 3 JD ($4) and is open from 08.00 am to 04.30 pm in winter and in summers from 08.00 am to 08.00 pm.
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3. Nightlife in Rainbow Street
Rainbow street offers a much more relaxing place for tourists to escape Amman’s chaotic traffic from Downtown. A place where tourists and locals mingle looking for a great night out. There are plenty bars, cafes and restaurants, a very well-known hotspot in the city which makes it the number 1 place to visit in Amman if you are looking for nightlife and entertainment. It’s liveliest on Thursday nights which is when Jordanians officially kick off their weekend.
The best places to visit in Rainbow Street are the romantic restaurant Mijana and the opposite bar called: C.LING, one of the best rooftop bars in Amman. Another all-time favorite, but a little more fancy restaurant is Sufra, I liked it. Great place for couples or to impress your date when traveling to Amman.
Just a couple of blocks from this tourist-friendly promenade there’s the Wild Jordan Center that sells locally made jewelry, trinkets, soaps, mugs as well as tasty organic food, and other souvenirs. The center is part of the wider Wild Jordan initiative which you can find at all national parks in Jordan and is run by the Royal Society for nature conservation.
In all honesty I don’t recommend visiting Rainbow Street during the day, there is not much going on these days. It is NOT the hippest spot in the city anymore, Lweibdeh is your place to visit in Amman if you’re looking for nice places to go for lunch. Personally, I find Rainbow Street a bit cheap and trashy these days.
4. Hip coffee places in Jabal Al Lweibdeh
A new hip and trendy place to visit in Amman is the Jabal Al Lweibdeh neighborhood with Paris Square being its center. Of course, also located up on a hill so be prepared to walk a lot of stairs and steep streets to get here, but you will find plenty hip coffee places and charming restaurants with amazing views. From Downtown it is a 20-minute walk uphill.
One of my favorite coffee places is Dimitri’s Coffee Lweibdeh. These guys know what specialty coffee is. Also check out A small but lovely restaurant with good Italian food is Oliva just around the corner and opposite Dimitri’s Coffee you find a cool place with outdoor seating. It has an Arabic name, sorry…
Some more of my favorite places to visit in Lweibdeh are Bait Baladna, the most charming coffee place with awesome views and the chicer style Café at Manara Arts Center with equally cool views. Café at Manara is that place were digital nomads meet to work on their Macbooks.
When you are looking to having a drink there are also many hip cafes and bars around in Lweibdeh, meet a little more sophisticated crowd in Dali.
5. The blue-domed King Abdullah Mosque
With its impressive 35m-diameter blue dome towering over the low-rise rooftops of Amman, the easily recognizable King Abdullah Mosque is another must see when visiting Amman. The mosque is located a bit away from Downtown, but nearby the modern new Amman center. From Lweibdeh it is only a 20-minute walk to visit the most beautiful mosque in Amman. My suggestion is to have lunch in Lweibdeh and then continue walking towards the King Abdullah Mosque.
The King Abdullah Mosque was completed in 1989 by the late King Hussein in honor of his grandfather. It is the most famous and largest mosque in Amman with a capacity of up to 10,000 people – 7,000 inside and 3,000 in the courtyard. There is a small section that can accommodate up to 500 women.
Unusual for a mosque but non-Muslims must pay 2 JD entrance fee for visiting the King Abdullah Mosque. Dress appropriately when visiting, that means for men wear long pants that cover the knees and women need to cover their head.
6. Get lost in one of the Amman Souqs
The word Souq or Souk means market in Arabic and Downtown Amman is full of them. I would almost say all of Downtown is a souk. It’s hard to describing everything what’s going on here, starting from the colors, the noises, the smells, and the overall chaos, it is a beautiful happening. The souks here are something you just must experience for yourself, a great Amman activity.
Luckily you are spoiled for choice as there are 3 different souks in Downtown Amman.
The three most famous markets in Amman are: Souk Mango, Gold Souk and Souk El-Khodra. Best thing is that all the markets are located in Downtown, which therefore makes visiting the markets very easy.
One of the oldest markets in Amman and famous for selling a lot of bridalwear, women’s clothing and accessories as well as religious clothes. You can also find a lot of footwear and perfume shops. Not really my kind of stores, but it is a place that can’t be missed when sightseeing in Amman.
This was more my kind of market as this is where you will find local people buying their daily fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, spices, etc. Get lost in the narrow backstreets behind the Grand Husseini Mosque, which is another great place to visit when sightseeing in Amman. The market vendors were very friendly and many of them offered me to try their goods or invited me to take photos without pushing me to buy stuff.
A rather small gold souk, but nice to visit as it is just opposite Souk Mango. Here is of course where you can find gold and silver jewelry but be prepared to bargain when buying from the Gold Souk in Amman.
A unique thing to do or a so-called secret Amman travel tip is Souq Jara. A popular Amman tourist attraction but only open on Fridays from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm, so you have to plan your trip to Amman accordingly if you want to visit. You can find everything on this big flea market. It is located just off Rainbow Street and a great place if you’re looking for souvenirs, books, cheap vintage clothing, handicrafts, antiques and traditional Jordanian stuff.
When traversing the markets in Amman and want to take photos always politely ask the local people before snapping away. Keep in mind that big cameras always draw attention on markets and can come across intimidating.
I visited all of Amman Souks, it is simply fun to walk around and take it all in. Surely one of the best things to do in Amman.
7. Visit Duke’s Diwan historic townhouse
A very surprising tourist attraction in Amman. I read about this place in other Amman travel guides but wasn’t impressed by the stories. When I got there and saw the small open door on the main street in Downtown looking into a steep staircase leading into a dark hole. At this time I had even less expectations.
However, when I got upstairs and walked into a very traditional, but well-preserved local home I was very pleasantly surprised.
This historic townhouse was constructed in 1924 and is regarded as one of the oldest houses in Amman. It was initially used as a post office. Later on, it became the seat of the Ministry of Finance and after that, a hotel. The townhouse now belongs to a local businessman who is also the Duke of Mukhaybeh.
The Duke restored it to its original splendor, with antique furnishing, then opened it to the public to appreciate it. Visitors love its unique, vintage atmosphere.
If you’re lucky, you can even meet the duke in person, just like I did. He sat in one of his rooms talking to other visitors and happily got his photos taken and was up for a chat.
Visiting the Duke’s Diwan townhouse only takes about 10 minutes and it is free to enter. The house is located in the heart of Downtown so it can’t be missed. Put this on your Amman itinerary as I think it is one of the best things to do in Amman.
8. Learn the country’s history at the Jordan Museum
Visiting the Jordan Museum is one of those things oyu find in every travel guide for Amman, but let’s be honest I don’t think the people who read blogs are the types that visit history museum. However, for considering it to be one of the things to do in Amman I would only write about it when I would visit myself, so I did.
In the Jordan museum they will tell you all there is to about the story of the country, starting with the country’s earliest known inhabitants, going back 9,500 years ago. As you walk through you will slowly catch up with modern history. I spent about 1 hour inside the Jordan Museum and found it surprisingly interesting.
For me the most fascinating thing to see in the Jordan Museum was the Two Headed statue from Ain Ghazal which dates back to 7500 BC! You can see it on the photo above.
There are surely a bunch of cool things to read and learn. However, in my opinion the entrance fee of 5 JD ($7) is not like whatever let’s just walk through.
The museum is located about 10 minutes walk away from Downtown next to the City Hall. Watch my vlog about the best things to do in Amman and decide for yourself if this is one of the must-see activity in Amman.
9. Smoke Shisha on a balcony in Downtown
As you might have realized, most of the best places to see in Amman are located in Downtown: Roman Theater, the markets, the Duke’s Townhouse, the museum, the King Husseini Mosque, etc. When roaming in Amman Downtown I am sure you will spot some cool balconies with terraces.
These are popular places to go and smoke shisha. Just go to Downtown and look up. One of the most popular places is the Al Mamlakeh restaurant, its balcony has the best views over Downtown.
10. Photograph some amazing Murals in Amman
My way of exploring cities is to get lost wandering from one tourist attraction to the other. While discovering Amman I stumbled across some fantastic murals and some of them are huge. It is totally worth it checking out some of the best wall paintings that are scattered around the cities and they also make some of the best Instagram spots in Amman. Even the Redbull website wrote about it, check out their list of the best murals in Amman.
11. Sundowner at Café Bait Baladna
When looking for a cool place to visit to watch the sunset then I found the best spot for you: Café Baladna. A very charming coffee shop a little hidden, but also in Lweibdeh. It is not the super chic place, but more bohemian style and I felt at home straight when I walked in. Check out the vibe in my vlog about Amman, when you see it I am sure that you want to go there for sunset too. Not only sunset drinks, it also is a favorite place where trendy locals come to smoke shisha.
12. Lunch with a view at Dar Ne'meh
A new addition to the vibrant cafe and restaurant scene is Dar Ne'meh right next to the Amman Citadel. Since it has such gorgeous views over the city I think it deserves a mention. They have a rooftop that gives you almost a 360 degrees view of Amman. It serves healthy food, vegetarian and local Jordanian food. I recommend you ordering a fresh and cold hibiscus drink to cool off and take in those gorgeous views. When looking for a cool restaurant with a view this is your place to go in Amman.
13. Try the famous Hashem Hummus and Falafel
Amman is of course one of the best places in the country to try the local Jordanian food. Numerous restaurants offer a variety of dishes at different price ranges so you’re sure to find something for your budget when traveling to Amman.
One good touristy hotel that offers great food is the Hashem Restaurant. Their specialty is falafel and others like the hummus and baba ganoush. The food is served with herbs and bread, and if you feel thirsty after a long day of sightseeing, you’ll love their hot tea drink with mint. We’re not saying that you’re obligated to eat here – what matters is that you find a nice place with tasty food, quick service, and affordable rates.
There are also a lot of shops that sell traditional sweets, which I am sure you’ll like if you have a sweet tooth. If you’re trying to live a sugar-free life, be warned – the sweets look very tasty and tempting. The traditional dessert that you will see everywhere in the streets of Amman is Knafeh, it is made with cheese. May sound weird, but it is yummy. Give it try when traveling to Amman.
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14. The Abdali Boulevard
The newest addition to places to visit in Amman is the Boulevard next to the Abdali Mall. Remarkably not mentioned in any Amman travel guides, but this upscale modern chic place away from Downtown is regarded the new modern center. Here is also where you find the fancy hotels like the W Amman, a great place to stay in Amman. Along the boulevard of Abdali you find many restaurants and bars. A place where trendy locals hang out and a nice place to have either lunch or dinner.
15. Free Walking Tour
A free walking tour can’t be missed on a list of things to do in Amman. Everywhere I go I look for one of these tours. It is a great way to meet other travelers and learn to know the city through the eyes of a local guide. Besides, I love the extra info these knowledgeable guides provide you when visiting some of the historical sites. When joining a free walking tour in Amman you will see most of the best places to visit in the city in a couple hours, so definitely recommended to those who only have 1 or 2 days in Amman.
Check out the Free walking tours in Amman by Guruwalk. For those who are more adventurous you can also explore the best Amman tourist attractions on scooter. You will also find it in the link above.
16. Day trips from Amman
Last but not least I recommend you the check out some cool day trips from Amman. No need to tell you about the Dead Sea, but did you know that visiting the Dead Sea can be done on a day trip from Amman? You can just take an Uber actually.
The Dead Sea is one of the most popular places to visit in Jordan and every tourist knows about it, but did you know there are some really cool other things to do near Amman like: Qasr al-Abd, Jerash, As-Salt, and Madaba.
Only 30 kilometers out of the city center of Amman you find one of the newest additions to the UNESCO World Heritage list. As-Salt is charming city in the Balqa Highlands along the old highway from Amman to Jerusalem and got selected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2021. Its charming narrow streets, multiple mosques and churches, fascinating historical buildings and amazing views make this one of the best places to visit near Amman and should surely be on your Jordan itinerary.
About 20 kilometers west of Amman you will find Qasr al-Abd, a large Hellenistic palace built in 200 BC with impressively large stones, the largest being 7 x 3 meter (23 x 10 ft), which makes these blocks among the largest in the Middle East. The ruins of Qasr al-Abd are very impressive. The front entrance and the carved lion make it worth visiting and a cool addition to this list of tourist attractions in Amman.
When visiting Amman many people recommended me to go to Jerash. Among my Instagram followers this seemed to be a favorite place to visit in Jordan. It is about 50 kilometer north of Amman, which makes it a cool day trip. Especially since Jerash has some fantastic historical and archeological sites. It is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites and also called the Ancient Meeting Place of East and West. The Colonnaded Street and the Oval Forum are the best places to go in Jerash. These very well preserved ancient Roman ruins will make you travel back in time.
Another fun place near Amman is the ancient city of Madaba. The best thing to do in this historical city which is mentioned several times in the bible is to see the famous 6th century mosaic map of the Promised Land. Madaba is a Christian town and there are multiple Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Byzantine churches to visit. The most impressive I actually found the huge mosaic in the Church of the Apostles.
I hope you liked all my Amman travel tips and places to go. Let me know if you have any question or please mention other cool things to do in Amman if you know of any. Leave me a comment below and please if this Amman blog was helpful share the link of it on either Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, with your friends or anywhere else on the internet to help me out a little bit in return. Thank you!
Looking for some great content ideas for Jordan or some wanderlust inspiration then go check out my Instagram account Traveltomtom and follow my journey to visit every country in the world as of January 2023 I have visited more than 145 countries, so still many to go.
Enjoy your trip to Amman!