Jordan is not your usual destination, but it is worth the travel and you will be well rewarded with an abundance of unforgettable experiences.
So far Jordan is the safest Middle Eastern country right now. It is predominantly populated by Muslims, but there are a good number of Christian communities as well.
Amman is built on seven hills, so you will have plenty of leg workouts going up and down the city.
Luckily, Amman makes up for your hard work and you can choose from innumerable great restaurants and eateries.
It is highly recommended to buy the Jordan Pass because it includes your visa fee and several entrance fees for sights.
Here are the top things to do in Amman that will guarantee an adventure. So, take a break from work, tell the incompetent supervisor that you are going on holiday and book your flights.
Getting to Amman
If you are traveling to Amman, most likely you will fly to Queen Alia International Airport, the main airport in Jordan. Over 20 international carriers fly there. It is located 35km south of the city center.
You can either get a taxi to take you downtown, which takes about 30-45 minutes depending on traffic, and it will cost about 15JD (approximately $22).
Be wary of taxi drivers! Always make sure they start the meter. They might try to convince you that it is not working so they can charge you more. If they refuse to turn the meter on, you need to agree on a price before leaving.
Taxi drivers will also sell themselves to you as local guides. They will want to take you on day trips, serve you lunch and introduce you to their families. But don’t worry, kindly thank their offer, say that you will think about it, and leave it at that.
You can also choose to take the airport bus. The ticket costs 3.3 JD (approximately $4.50) that you can purchase outside the airport terminal.
The bus leaves every half hour from 6:30 am till 5 pm. After that, until midnight it goes once every hour, from outside the terminal.
Bear it in mind that the bus doesn’t go as far as downtown. It usually only stops in two places, 7th Circle and North Bus Station. From there you can walk to your hotel, or take a taxi.
You can also opt for car rental, but for staying in Amman it is not necessary to have a car. The local driving style can be overwhelming, especially driving up and down the steep narrow streets.
However, if you are planning on visiting other parts of Jordan, then renting a car is the easiest way for getting around.
Cool Things to Do in Amman
The Jordan Museum is a great place to check out first because you will learn insightful facts about the country and the Jordanian way of life.
The museum is a national center for learning and knowledge that reflects Jordan’s heritage, culture, and inventions that will lead the country into the future.
Archaeology and science are the two main concepts that the exhibition is built on.
You will learn about how scarce water is, how the country relies heavily on energy imports, and the minerals they mine for our everyday objects. The museum also presents well how people in environmental and sustainability jobs have already achieved so much in Jordan.
Next, visit the Amman Citadel, which is located on top of Jebel Al Qala’s, a hill 850 meters above sea level.
The Citadel was built around 1800 BC in the Bronze Age, but since then the site went under numerous rebuilds during the Iron Age, Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad eras.
Part of the Citadel is the Temple of Hercules which is the most famous structure. The temple was built by the Romans and you can still see a few parts and pillars that remain standing.
The view is spectacular from the hill, so allow yourself the time to admire it and take lots of photos.
You can also observe the landscape from various spots and compare the downtown area with the northern parts of the city. You will see that deprived areas have numerous flats on top of each other, while more privileged people live in less densely populated modern areas.
From the Citadel you will have the best view of the Roman Theatre that you should also check out later. It was built in the 2nd century AD with the capacity to host 6000 people.
Carved into the Jabal Al-Jofeh hill the theatre is in use again, hosting performances, cultural events, and concerts. It houses two museums on its two sides.
The Duke’s Diwan is a special place to visit in downtown Amman. You really have to pay attention to find the entrance, as there is no fancy sign, just a crumbling doorway.
The five-room house belongs to a local businessman who is also the Duke of Mukhaybeh.
The warm welcome, homely atmosphere, and efforts to protect the architectural and cultural heritage transform this place into a magical time capsule. Sometimes the Duke himself is in the house to have a casual chat with visitors.
The building was erected in 1924 and served as the Central Post Office until the 1940s. For a brief period, it belonged to the Ministry of Finance, but for 50 years the building hosted guests as Haifa Hotel.
Today its open-door policy welcomes every curious wanderer, thinker, and artist to explore and contribute to the collection of art.
Next, move on to take a walk on Rainbow Street. It is liveliest from the evening onwards, and it is a great destination for nightlife. The street is lined with Ottoman architecture and quirky street art.
The area is popular among both locals and tourists with its promenade of creative cafes, eateries, and independent shops.
If you are already in the area, you should visit the Wild Jordan Center which was set up to raise money for preserving eight natural reserves in Jordan.
Eating in Amman
You will not be short on options on where to go for food in Amman. The city offers plenty to choose from, respecting everyone’s budget. And don’t worry, the most famous food places are the cheapest ones.
You must try Hashem for breakfast or lunch. This traditional falafel restaurant will blow your mind with its various mezze dishes.
Don’t look for a menu. A waiter will come and quickly fill your table with black mint tea, falafels, hummus, baba ganoush, bean dip, pita, and salad vegetables.
Each item costs 1JD, so a meal for two will cost around 4-7JD ($5.6-9.8).
You won’t be able to fit too much else after eating in Hashem. But another must-try place is Habiba Sweets, where you will have the best kunefe you have ever had. Again, a very inexpensive place, grab a piece of the sweet heaven for less than 1JD.
If you are after a quick snack or want to grab something after your night out, go to Al Quds Falafel. You will have the best falafel sandwich for again, less than 1JD. And if you want something meaty, try the legendary Shawarma 3a Saj, where you will have four wraps for 1JD.