The best places to visit in Amman are a combination of everything. Whether your interests lie in the arts, history, or food, Amman has all of this to offer.
Often overlooked by travelers, Amman was once home to ancient civilizations. Today is one of the most visited cities in the Arab world and is considered to be among the most liberal and westernized Arab cities.
For many travelers, Amman is only the arrival and departing destination before or after they go to Petra, Wadi Rum, or the Dead Sea. I hope that you’ll spare some time on your journey through Jordan and take a few days to actually explore the city.
While you’re visiting Amman make sure not to miss those places:
The best places to visit in Amman: The Citadel
The Amman Citadel is situated on one of the seven hills that originally made up Amman. The Citadel is a historical site in the center of downtown Amman. The Citadel is considered to be among the oldest continuously inhabited places. There has been found evidence of occupation since the pottery Neolithic period.
The Citadel is Amman’s top tourist attraction and well worth the visit. The views from up there are great.
Upon entry to the site, guides will welcome you and offer you to guide you. If you want that, go for it – in my opinion, except if you don’t want to go deep into the history of the place, you don’t need a guide. I don’t know how much they charge, but you can try to negotiate the price in advance.
The entry to the Citadel is included in your Jordan Pass. If you don’t have the Pass, then you need to pay the entry fee of 3 JD.
The vest places to visit in Amman: The Roman Theater
The Roman Theater in downtown Amman is Amman’s second top tourist attraction. It dates back to the Roman period when the city was known as Philadelphia.
It’s surely a beautiful and impressive landmark and is nice to spend some time there. (That’s also the place where I met Justin, the guy that I’m mentioning in my Jordan posts, with whom we traveled together around Jordan.)
The entry to the Roman Theater is included in your Jordan Pass. If you don’t have the Pass, then you need to pay the entry fee of 2 JD.
The best places to visit in Amman: Hashem Restaurant
When I arrived at the place that I had booked in Amman, I asked the guy from the reception for his tips and where to go to eat. He drew me a map with restaurants, ATM’s, sites, etc. One of the places that he recommended me was Hashem restaurant.
When I was visiting Jordan it was Ramadan.
That was my first day in Jordan and I arrived in Amman, coming from Nazareth, Israel. I had breakfast before getting on the bus at around 8 AM so in the afternoon after I arrived, I was already hungry. I went out, but the only thing that I could find was sweets.
I went to Hashem at 6:30 PM and I was already starving. I sat at one table, the restaurant was getting full and I was not sure what’s happening. The waiters were running around the place, preparing the tables, etc. At some point, they started bringing food but they also told me not to eat yet – so I waited more! At 7:45 PM, I was finally allowed to eat. The food was amazing!!
They serve only vegetarian food and they have only salads, falafel, hummus, baba ganush, fries, and something else that I don’t know the name of. Everything is delicious. The hummus and the falafel at Hashem are the best ones I ever had so far.
Hashem is popular among locals and travelers. If you go to Amman and ask someone to recommend you a good place to eat with traditional food, the chances are that you’ll get recommended this place – that’s how the travelers are ending up there. Plus, there are many great reviews about the restaurant online, too.
The best places to visit in Amman: The Duke’s Diwan
If you’re following me on Instagram, you might remember from my stories that I promised you that the story about the duke will go on the blog, so here it is: Meeting the duke himself
What’s the Duke’s Diwan?
The original building was built in 1924 by Abdul Rahman Madi. It has been serving as Amman’s first post office. Later on, it was used as an office by the Ministry of Finance and in 1948, the building was turned into the Haifa Hotel. The hotel ran for many years until it was bought by Mamdouh Bisharat aka the Duke of Mukheiheh.
Bisharat, the duke, was given this title by the late King Hussein. The Duke works on preserving historical buildings, bringing back life to Downtown Amman that was neglected for too long.
The Duke transformed the building into a diwan in 2001. ”Diwan” in a reference to the Arabic word for the room in the house that it’s always open to guests is a meeting point for artists and people from all nationalities, ages, and genders.
Surprisingly or not, The Duke’s Diwan is more popular among travelers than local people. Actually, very few Jordanians have heard about this place. I found about the diwan randomly reading something on the Internet. I read that is the oldest building in Amman, so I wanted to check it out.
When Justin and I went there, I was thinking that we will just go to check out the place, take a few photos and that’s it. When we entered, we were welcomed by a smiley Aussie girl, who just arrived there a few minutes before us. Except for her, there was another man in one of the rooms – he was the Austrian ambassador of something. A few moments later, we meet the duke himself.
He was just about to have lunch, so he invited all of us to join him and shared his food with us. We were talking about different topics while eating some delicious, traditional meals. After lunch, the duke invited us for tea and the talks continued. Another man, the owner of one of Amman’s top hotels came as well. It was so nice to be surrounded by those people and getting to know the Duke.
Then, another man showed up. He was a calligraphist and a philosopher. He came so he and the duke can give a present to the Austrian ambassador of something man. The gift was his name written in Arabic, very beautifully. What a nice gesture!
The calligrapher, then started showing us how complex and difficult the Arabic language is and he also wrote all of our names in Arabic, Farsi, and Diwani. The papers were then signed by the duke, so we went back home with a present as well.
Next time when I go to Amman, I’ll visit the Duke again!
The best places to visit in Amman: Paris Square
If you’re going to Amman, the chances are that you have heard about Rainbow Street. Let me tell you something – Rainbow Street is not what you expect, but Paris Square is.
There’s nothing going on at the square. There are two streets going from there that are where both locals and expats are gathering and hanging out. These streets are full of cafes and restaurants and street food. When people are meeting there, they get coffee, smoke shisha, and play cards.
The best places to visit in Amman: Abdali
Al-Abdali is an area in the heart of Amman. Most of it is residential, but it also contains several government buildings and businesses. In the area, there are also several bus stations who serves the routes to other cities in Jordan.
In that same area, there is also a mall complex named the same way, Abdali. The mall is connected with a pedestrian street, which is called the Boulevard. That’s another place where you can find the locals spending their free time and hanging out.
The best places to visit in Amman: Habibah Sweets
If you’re looking for something sweet in downtown Amman, then head to Habibah sweets. It’s known as one of the best places in the city and it has been out there ever since 1951.
They have a few locations in Amman. I visited (a few times) the one on the King Hussein street, just across from Hashem restaurant.
Try their delicious kanafeh and don’t miss the Arab ice cream too!
**Kanafex is a traditional Palestinian dessert made with cheese pastry and soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup. It’s popular in the Arab world and especially in Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, and Syria, as well in Greece, Turkey, and even the Caucasus (according to Google).
The best places to visit in Amman: Pasha
Pasha is a hotel in downtown Amman. I didn’t stay there, but I visited the place a few times. Plus, they organize tours all over Jordan, as well they do a free walking tour. The free walking tour was disappointing tho.
In the lobby of the hotel, you can see an OWL!!! Imagine my excitement when I saw this adorable creature that I have a weird obsession with on one of my mornings in Amman. How cool is that?!?! Even though I returned to Pasha a few times after, I sadly didn’t see it again.
But they also have a squirrel in the lobby – running and jumping all over the place. I’m not aware if there are any other animals at Pasha but I also wouldn’t be surprised if there are.
Except for the animals, Pasha also has a nice coffee open to everyone and a rooftop bar. Check them out!
Amman’s Street Art
Although the street art in Amman is a relatively new thing, there are more and more murals starting to pop up around the city turning it into a little bit more colorful place.
I’m a fan of street art so I was happy to see some really nice street art pieces in Amman.
Amman is a city located on seven hills and when you visit the city, you’ll notice that there are many stairs. Some of the street art around Amman is concentrated exactly on those stairs – they are being painted and they look pretty.
There might not be many things to do in Amman, but in my opinion, Amman is still a great city. Also, if you get bored, you can always find a good place for shisha, coffee, or food!
When planning a trip to Jordan, don’t be one of those people who skip the vibrant capital Amman.
After you’ve done reading about the best places to visit in Amman, make sure to check out my other articles dedicated to traveling in Jordan:
- Know before you go: 17 Jordan travel tips for first-time visitors
- A different way to experience Petra
- Welcome to Jordan
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