20 Things To Do In Amman

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The capital of Jordan and its largest city, there are plenty of things to do in Amman. It is in the north of this Middle East country, with a population of around a million representing 10% of the national figure. Its appeal within Jordan is such that a further three million live in its greater metropolitan area. Jordan has been at peace for some time now, quite an achievement in an otherwise volatile region and visitors will find a fairly relaxed, if hectic, city.

Amman’s appeal ranges from several historical sites within its boundaries to its cuisine and plentiful accommodation for every budget. The old city centre makes a great base for travellers wanting to learn about life in a Jordanian city, with small retailers selling everything you can imagine. There are quality restaurants and the option of eating street food as you walk. Amman is a large city built on hills so it may not be as walking-friendly as some cities yet if you are in no hurry, you will enjoy wandering around.

Many visitors to Jordan head into Amman before travelling south to see the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum and the wonderful Nabataean City of Petra. Seeing them all is a great experience, yet it would be a mistake to leave Amman without at least a couple of days exploring one of the most fascinating cities in Jordan. If you buy a Jordan Pass, you will not be charged for an entry visa and you will also get free entry into many of the national highlights within Amman and beyond. Here are some things to do in Amman. 

Amman, Jordan

Top Tours From Amman

20 Things To Do In Amman

1- See The Old & The New

Visitor with a backpack taking a photo of the ruins
Exploring the ancient ruins of Philadelphia is one of the interesting things to do in Amman. Pictured here is the Ancient Temple of Hercules. Photo: Christina Pfeiffer.

A tour is a great way to begin time in Amman to familiarise yourself with the city’s highlights and landmarks, allowing you to return to your favourites later to spend more time.

One of Amman’s most comprehensive tours takes in its ancient and modern parts, with tickets pre-booked for sights like the Citadel, the Royal Automobile Museum and the Roman Theatre.

You can get collected by your driver/guide, who will talk about the city’s history and take you to several landmarks, including the King Abdullah I Mosque and the Amman Citadel, from which you will get great panoramic views of the city.

The Roman Amphitheatre sits below and you should visit it later, while modern Amman includes shopping malls like those in Abdoun and Al Swaifyeh neighbourhoods.

2- Explore Amman At Night

Lights everywhere; that is Amman by night, and a tour by car to see the evening activities and the landmarks will give you a new perspective of Jordan’s capital.

The people and the markets are just as interesting as landmarks such as the Grand Husseini Mosque, the Citadel and the Roman Amphitheatre.

You will sometimes park to walk around places like Jabal Al–Webdeih, famous for its galleries and Rainbow Street, for its shopping.

Time is limited but such a tour will give you plenty of ideas about what to do in Amman.

3- Tour a Vineyard

Wine And Barrel On A Table
Visiting a vineyard is an unexpected thing to do from Amman.

Jordanian wine may not be available worldwide but the country’s wine history goes back many centuries, so a short trip to the edge of the Basalt Desert to visit a wine estate is a pleasurable and educational tour.

There are plenty of photo opportunities along the way, such as the Mafraq Plateau panoramas and the rolling landscape where the vines grow.

You will learn from people growing the grapes before tasting the wine and enjoy a light lunch as you sample what the estate produces.

4- Learn More About Wine

If you prefer not to visit a wine estate, you can still learn much more about the country’s wine by visiting wine experts within Amman itself.

You can expect to see around 20 wines produced from twice as many grape varieties.

You will not be able to sample every wine, but you will get an insight into the varieties while sampling three different ones.

There are snacks on hand to eat with the wines you taste and you are sure to learn more about wine in the company of experts.

5- Join A Walking Tour

aerial view of Amman
Looking for things to do in Amman? You’ll find an intriguing blend of Roman archaeological sites and mosques. Photo: Christina Pfeiffer. 

Jabal Amman is a busy district and the starting point for an interesting walking tour.

Standard tours go to Rainbow Street with its art, cafes and villas where you can buy street food as you walk, passing the Theatre and the Al Pasha Hammam bathhouse.

This is a leisurely walk with time to browse the book and craft shops, although you may decide there and then this is a place to return to later. 

6- Wander Around The Citadel

two women walking into amman citadel
One of the things to do in Amman is to visit Jabal Al-Qal’a (the citadel). Photo: Christina Pfeiffer.

The Citadel stands on a hill in the heart of Amman.

These impressive archaeological ruins in Jordan’s capital date back to the Bronze Age.

You should spend time wandering the site both to see the ruins but also to get panoramas over the old city.

The two massive pillars are all that remains of the Temple of Hercules, built by the Romans.

In its heyday, the Citadel must have been spectacular and included a palace, audience hall, forum, cistern, basilica and governor’s residence.

The Jordan Archaeological Museum provides further insight into the past, so drop in there as well.

These tours will get you there:

7- See The Roman Theatre

Ancient Roman Amphitheater In Amman, Jordan
The Roman Amphitheater in Amman. Photo: Christina Pfeiffer.

One of the things you can see by looking down from the Citadel is the old Roman theatre.

Walk down from the Citadel in under half an hour to see this landmark that was built 2,000 years ago when the city was called Philadelphia.

It had a capacity of 6,000 and was purposely built to face the north to avoid the sun’s intense heat during summer.

Today, it is used for cultural events, mostly concerts and plays on summer evenings.

At night, it is lit up impressively though you will need to be there during the day to explore two small museums on the site, the Jordan Museum of Popular Traditions and the Jordan Folklore Museum.

Top tour: Amman City Tour, Jerash and Ajloun Day Tour From Amman.

8- Shop In The Street Markets

mannequins with local fashion
Going shopping for local fashion is one of the fun things to do in Amman. Photo: Christina Pfeiffer.

Walking around among the locals who fill the streets of the old city centre going about their daily lives is fun.

There are small shops lining the streets, some sellers setting up tables as well and of course, street markets.

Those markets sell most things with a range of fruit and vegetables evidence of the fertility of this part of Jordan.

They provide a real splash of colour; a glass of fruit juice on a hot day is a welcome way to keep cool.

9- Visit A Beautiful Mosque

Detail Of The Black And White Abu Darwish Mosque In Amman
Visiting a mosque is one of the things to do in Amman, Jordan. Pictured here is the Abu Darwish Mosque.

As a Muslim country, Jordan has many mosques and in Amman, there are several worth a little of your time.

The King Abdullah I Mosque is on plenty of typical city tours.

Only a few decades old, the blue mosaic dome and the minarets make an impressive photograph.

It is very modern, with a capacity of 3,000, and an impressive interior.

Abdullah I Mosque is very welcoming to travellers, Muslim or not.

A few others are worth your attention, including King Hussein Mosque, the largest in Jordan with a capacity of 5,500 and the hilltop Abu Darwish with its black and white layers of stone.

10- Get A History Lesson In The Jordan Museum

amman bagpipe player
One of the things to do in Amman is to keep an eye out for bagpipes, which were introduced to Jordan during the British Colonial era. Photo: Christina Pfeiffer.

The exhibitions in the Jordan Museum provide a great insight into Amman and the country.

It is a modern building and has three permanent galleries. In the Traditional Life Gallery, you will see exhibits that demonstrate Bedouin life, rural and latterly urban with traditional costumes a highlight.

The Modern Jordan Wing looks at the history of Jordan from the Great Arab Renaissance to the present day.

The Archaeological and Historical Gallery shows the historical riches of this region with artifacts and scale models of ancient sites such as the Ayla Gate.

See the 1.5-million-year-old animal bones as well as the Copper Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

11- Stroll Down Rainbow Street

amman lottery tickets
Lottery tickets for sale in a street stall in Amman. Photo: Christina Pfeiffer.

Even if you have been to Rainbow Street on tour, your time will have been limited, so head back to Rainbow Street in Jabal Amman, where you can explore on foot in a pedestrian area away from the city’s heavy traffic.

Sit with a coffee and watch the world go by, each lunch, visit the art galleries or perhaps join in a lively nightlife which in Amman starts on Thursday evening.

There are plenty of shopping opportunities here, with local crafts being popular.

The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts is great for learning about Middle Eastern Art.

It is small, but this museum makes an important contribution to regional art and showcases work from other parts of the world.

There are over 3,000 exhibits in the permanent collection contains, including paintings, sculptures, multimedia creations, weaving and photography with 70 countries represented by its artists.

Lectures, seminars and workshops regularly feature here with help to create your own art a feature of the workshops.

13- See Contemporary Arab Art At Darat Al Funun

At Darat al Funun, historic buildings and warehouses are renovated into galleries for contemporary art and exhibits.

Early Arab contemporary art features prominently, with contributions coming from almost 150 different artists.

Expect to see oil paintings, sculptures, books, photography and videos, and multimedia works.

Darat al Funun is also an archaeological site with the ruins of a 6th Century Byzantine Church and an ancient cave.

14- Wander Around The Royal Automobile Museum

If you love cars, the time allotted to this museum on a city tour will not be enough.

The Royal Automobile Museum is 20 years old and you will find it in the northern suburbs of Amman.

The former King of Jordan Hussein bin Talal was a real enthusiast and his car collection is special.

A pristine 1952 Aston Martin is just one of the highlights because you will also see vintage motorbikes, a Porsche Carrera GT, a Bugatti Veyron, an armoured Rolls Royce from the First World War as well as an experimental motorcycle from the 1880s.

15- Eat Falafal & Houmus

Lebanese Meze, Hummus, Aubergine Caviar And Okra In Tomato Sauce
Tasting local food is one of the best things to do in Amman. Dishes include Lebanese meze, hummus, aubergine caviar and okra.

Local cuisine is full of flavour.

You can eat on the move with a kebab cooked by the kerbside or sit by the roadside to enjoy favourites such as Falafel and Houmous, served with pitta bread.

You will find eating inexpensive in the streets of Amman’s old centre.

Falafel is made from chickpeas, as is Hoummos which is produced using olive oil, a great dip with the pitta bread.

Both are filling and offer great Middle Eastern flavours.

Locals will eat with mint tea though fruit juices are also readily available.

16- Relax In A Spa

woman in a Turkish Hammam Spa
Relaxing in a Turkish Hammam Spa is one of the best things to do in Amman.

Even if you intend to leave Amman for the Dead Sea to lie in its salty waters, you should try a spa or Turkish bath (hammam) in the city while you are there.

Hammams have existed here for centuries, and you will emerge refreshed after a treatment.

You might decide on a luxury spa within a 5-star hotel, but it is arguably a better experience to pick a local place that offers something locals have loved for generations.

After a busy day seeing the sights, what better way to prepare you for the next day?

You can combine an Amman City Sightseeing with Optional Arabic Mezze Lunch and Turkish Bath.

17- See A Little Of The Ancient Greeks

Just a short distance west of Amman, you will find the desert palace of Qasr al-Abd, a fine example of Hellenistic architecture.

See the large blocks used in the construction of this two-storey building which is remarkable as it survived a massive earthquake in the 4th century.

While it has deteriorated over the centuries, the carved lions on the roof and the big cats that were once fountains remain.

18- Take A Cookery Class

Hummus Houmous Middle Eastern Vegetarian Healthy Snack Food
Taking a cooking class is one of the top things to do in Amman.

Anyone keen on cuisine and travelling should seek a cookery class in Amman to learn about food preparation.

The experience will include shopping at a local market for the ingredients, preparing it, and eating the food at the end of the class.

Hoummos is a popular starter, while arguably the most famous main course in Jordan is Mansaf which families eat as a communal meal.

The Bedouins regularly cooked this in their nomadic lives, using camel as an ingredient.

A platter of meat, often chicken and lamb, sits on a bed of aromatic rice, and it comes with roasted nuts, pitta bread and yoghurt.

Spices, fresh tomatoes and the like complete a lovely dish that you can learn how to prepare.

19- Head To Jaman All Weibdeh

This neighbourhood is one of the oldest in Amman.

It is trendy and bohemian, with small cafes and shops lining the streets where you will see plenty of murals on the walls.

It is a mix of old and new, located between Downtown, the oldest part of the city, dating back to Neolithic times and Jabal, an area of historical buildings and art galleries.

Jaman All Weibdeh is a mix between the two and although some modernisation is taking place, it retains its authentic feel.

Exploring this district will help you understand more about life in Amman.

20- Seek Out A Rooftop Bar

cityscape with Raghadan flagpole
One of the top things to do in Amman is to view the cityscape from Citadel Hill. The Raghadan Flagpole is one of the largest flagpoles in the world and is more than 126 m high. Photo: Christina Pfeiffer.

Alcohol is readily available in Amman, but you will not find it everywhere. Many locals are more likely to choose tea, coffee or juices.

If you are looking for a beer, wine or spirit, there are rooftop bars where you can drink with a view.

Amman is a hilly city, so there are plenty of panoramas, day and night.

Jabal and Rainbow Street are two places where you will find rooftop bars; District Urban, Cantaloupe Gastropub, Veer Resto-Lounge and Sekrab are just a few of the ideas for you to consider. 

amman lingerie shop
You might be surprised to find lingerie shops in Amman. Photo: Christina Pfeiffer. 
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Steve Smith is a widely travelled man who has lived on the South West Coast of Turkey since 2008. He hails from North East England where he lived most of his life but has been to every continent of the world, with a particular love for Southern Africa and its wildlife. He lists Argentina, India, and Vietnam as other favourite places that he enjoyed greatly while sport is also a passion, cricket and golf as a participant, rugby union and soccer as a spectator.