Amman is the capital and largest city of Jordan. It’s often a pitstop on the way to Petra, but there are enough old and new flavors to keep visitors satisfied. The city center of Amman is surrounded by 7 hills.
We stayed 2 days in Amman and absolutely loved it! If you go to Jordan you should definitely give Amman a chance; history, nice cafés, good food, souks, friendly locals, Amman has it all!!
In this post, you will find our favorite things to do in Amman.
The area known as the Citadel sits on the highest hill in Amman, Jebel al Qala’a (850m above sea level), and is the site of ancient Rabbath-Ammon. Occupied since the Bronze Age, it”s surrounded by a 1700m long wall, which was rebuilt many times during the Bronze and Iron Ages, as well as the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods. Artifacts from the Bronze Age show that the hill was a fortress or agora for thousands of years. The site includes The Temple of Hercules, an Umayyad Palace, a Byzantine church, and a lot more.
The most iconic place of Amman’s citadel is without any doubt the Temple of Hercules. The temple was built during the reign of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-80 AD). The only obvious remains are parts of the podium and the columns, which are visible from around town. The temple also contains fragments of a colossal partly stone statue, identified as Hercules, and estimated to have been over 12m tall. It was probably destroyed in an earthquake. All that remains are three fingers and an elbow.
The Umayyad Palace is the next highlight of Amman’s citadel. The citadel was also used as a residential and royal complex in 720 AD. The domed audience hall and the cistern are testimonials of the architects of that time.
You can walk up to the citadel but should be aware that there are a lot of steps. If you don’t want to walk you can take a taxi to the citadel this cost around 1 JD. The entrance fee for the citadel is 2 JD, if you have the Jordan Pass the entrance fee is included.
Located at a 20 min walk from Amman’s citadel, the Roman theatre is one of the most impressive legacies of Roman Philadelphia (Amman’s name during the Roman empire).
The theatre, which was built during the reign of Antonius Pius (138-161 AD), is cut into the northern side of a hill that once served as a necropolis and can accommodate 6000 spectators. The theatre is still used for sporting and cultural events.
The entrance fee for the Roman Theatre is 2 JD, If you have the Jordan Pass the entrance is included.
Amman’s downtown also known as Al-Balad is the place where most of the activity is. Here you will find many hotels, colorful shops, restaurants, cafes, and a lot of souvenir shops. Definitely wander around Downtown Amman for a while, we were amazed by the cozy alleys and photogenic stairs.
Jabal Amman is becoming popular for its bohemian atmosphere. In this area, you will find many trendy restaurants, artistic shops, art galleries, and colorful street art. From here you have some amazing views over the city.
Rainbow street is probably the most famous street of Jabal Amman, if not of entire Amman. Here you will find creative cafés, restaurants, souvenir shops and a lot of ice cream shops. This is the best place to have a drink and mingle with the locals, especially on a Thursday evening (when their weekend starts).
We had a delicious dinner at Sufra. This traditional Jordanian restaurant on Rainbow street is one of the best restaurants in Jordan and is frequently visited by the Jordanian royal family and famous celebrities. Not only will you find delicious food here but the restaurant is also super beautifully decorated.
Sufra Restaurant, Al Rainbow St 26, Amman, Jordan
Eat the best falafel and hummus in Amman
You can’t leave Amman without eating falafel and hummus. Hashem restaurant is known for being the best place to eat falafel and hummus. It is one of the cheapest places to eat in Amman and surprisingly tasty! We had to wait about 10 minutes for a table but it was definitely worth it.
Grab a fruit juice
Eat a Shawarma
Shawarma is marinated meat grilled on an upright skewer, then shaved off in bits and rolled in a sandwich.
We had a shawarma sandwich from Reem Shawarma. It is a very famous place, they serve more than 5000 sandwiches a day.
Reem Shawarma – Al Kulliyah Al Elmiyah Al Eslamiyah St 54, Amman, Jordan
Eat kanafeh in downtown Amman
Kanafeh is made with white cheese, topped with crunchy pastry, then drenched in sweet syrup and topped with crushed pistachio and cashew nuts. Habiba Sweets in downtown Amman is the place to be. It’s one of the first kanafeh specialist places in Amman. Their freshly baked kanafeh is a landmark in Jordan!
Habiba Sweets – Mohamed Taha Al Harahsheh Complex, Al Madinah Al Munawarah St 197, Amman, Jordan
Take a day trip to Jerash
Jerash is a perfect day trip from Amman. Visiting the ancient Roman Ruins of Jerash was one of the highlights of our Jordan trip.
Located 48 km North of Amman and nestled in a quiet valley among the mountains of Gilead is one of the largest and most well-preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world outside of Italy.
Amman has so much more to offer. Their mosques, the nice souks, … be sure to discover their spices, Arabic coffee, and tea.
Have you ever been to Amman? What are your favorite thing to do in Amman? Let us know in the comment section below.