Amman from Citadel

7 Best Things to Do in Amman, Jordan in 2024

Jordan is known for its breathtaking beauty and archeological treasures, and none more so than Petra. However, the capital is also rich in cultural heritage, so it should be a must on your Jordan itinerary.

Amman is a city that was originally built upon seven hills, making it one of the hilliest cities in the Middle East. Although the city still uses its historical identity of ‘seven hills’, it has now expanded to nineteen hills, making it a unique geographical spot.

The city is abundant with ancient relics dotted around the city, all of which offer a unique story from different periods throughout the city’s history, which dates back to 7000 BCE, making it one of the oldest continuously habited cities in the world.

Your trip to the Jordanian capital will be the perfect combination of history, culture, and some entertaining nightlife, which in the Middle East, differs greatly from Western traditions.

What to see in Amman

Rainbow Street

Rainbow Street Amman Jordan
Photo Credit: Tom Henty

A popular place for international tourists to base themselves in Amman is the famous Rainbow Street. Originally named “Abu Bakr al Siddiq Street”, the famed walkway is a hub of entertainment for visitors in an otherwise dull city.

Rainbow Street is home to some of Jordan’s national dishes and delicacies, so an ideal spot if you are looking to sample the local cuisine. Falafel is a staple in the diet throughout the Middle East, and it has been for nearly one thousand years since its origins have been identified. Al-Quds has been a foodie’s favorite on Rainbow Street for generations since it first opened in 1966, and it is famous for its cheap falafel sandwiches.

Arabic coffee is unique and a must-try for visitors to Jordan, and Rainbow Street is home to many quirky cafes, all with different Middle Eastern-style themes. Some have rooftop terraces and shisha to accompany your coffee. Samra Cafe offers a nice relaxed vibe with a good choice of coffee, tea, and local breakfast options.

Nightlife in Jordan differs from the Western world due to the lack of alcohol, however, it is still packed on an evening, with locals and tourists filling the rooftops and outdoor seating, watching people wander by. The street enjoys its busiest period on a Thursday evening, Friday, or Saturday, which is the weekend for the locals.

Average costs:

Falafel: 2 Dinars (£2.25).

Mansaf: 15 Dinars (£17).

Arabic coffee: 2 Dinars (£2.25).

Recommended restaurant: Mijana (evening meal), Al-Quds
(street food snack).

Recommended cafe: Samra Cafe

Amman Citadel

Amman from Citadel
Photo Credit: Tom Henty

The citadel of Amman sits at the top of the highest hill in the city called ‘Jebel Al Qala’a’, and at 850 meters above sea level, the ancient site overlooks the whole capital.

A trip to the ruins offers a fascinating insight into the history of the region, and the UNESCO World Heritage site displays remains from various civilizations, such as the Romans, Byzantine, and Umayyads. Although the site was originally built in the bronze age, there are few remains from that era.

Temple of Hercules Amman Citadel Jordan
Photo Credit: Tom Henty

The highlight of the citadel site for many tourists is the “Temple of Hercules”, which is iconic and still maintains its giant structure. To understand the true scale of the landmark, you should stand underneath the columns. Another notable site is the “Umayyad Palace”, which is a great place to gain an understanding of the “Umayyad” era in the capital.

It is recommended that you grab a taxi to this site due to its location high up, especially in summer time, when the temperatures are soaring in Amman.

Amman Citadel practical information:

Opening times: 8 am until 7 pm every day.

Entrance fees: 3 Dinars (£3.50), or included in Jordan Pass.

Jordan Archaeological Museum

Another highlight of Amman is located within the citadel site, and the Jordan Archaeological Museum sits at its highest point. Following the museum’s construction in 1951, visitors have enjoyed learning about Jordan’s vast history, which has spanned thousands of years, and many different civilizations.

If you are fascinated by the history of the Middle East, then this museum is the perfect place to learn some interesting information. Although the building is on the smaller side, it is packed full of artifacts and exhibits, which are ordered chronologically to take tourists on a journey through time. Some of the oldest and most impressive artifacts are the “Ain Ghazal” statues which are nearly 9000 years old and are thought to be one of the earliest representations of humans.

Other famous relics on site include the ‘Dead Seas scrolls’, which are a set of ancient Jewish manuscripts that were found over ten years between 1946 and 1956.

You only need around fifteen minutes inside the museum and it is included with your citadel entrance fee. If you are travelling with children, there are interactive exhibits to keep them entertained.

Jordan Archaeological Museum practical information:

Opening times: 8 am until 4 pm every day.

Entrance fees: Included with Citadel cost/Jordan Pass

Roman Theatre of Amman

Inside Roman Theatre of Amman Jordan
Photo Credit: Tom Henty

Following your exploration of the citadel site, you should head down the hill towards the downtown area of Amman, which is home to the Roman Theatre of Amman, another ancient masterpiece.

The classic Roman-style amphitheater was constructed around 2000 years ago and it was designed, and built into the hillside of “Jabal Al-Jofeh”, to be one of the hubs of entertainment in the city. At its peak, the theatre housed 6000 spectators, with all of them seated facing south to protect them from the baking Middle Eastern sun.

With a little help from the Jordanian Government through a restoration project in the 1950s, the structure still hosts performances in today’s world. Bi-annually, the Roman theatre also hosts a music festival that showcases the local musicians and puts the site’s acoustics to the test.

While visiting, you can stand in the middle of the stage and shout/sing, and you will hear the noise reverberating around the theatre. You can also climb to the top of the seating area and enjoy a sit-down and very nice view of the downtown area.

Amman Roman Theatre practical information:

Opening times: 8 am until 8 pm Sun – Thurs. 8 am until 10 pm Fri/Sat.

Entrance fees: 2 Dinars (£2.25), or included in Jordan Pass

King Abdullah Mosque

Mosque Downtown Amman Jordan
Photo Credit: Tom Henty

A trip to the Middle East isn’t complete without experiencing its religious side. The King Abdullah Mosque is the perfect venue to observe the daily lives of the locals. The grand structure can host up to 7000 worshippers inside and was built in dedication to Abdullah I of Jordan in 1989.

As a visitor, you are allowed to enter for cheap and explore the mosque, provided you respect the rules and visit outside of prayer time. You won’t find any other mosques in Amman which accept non-Muslim guests into the premises.

The mosque offers a quiet escape from a hectic city, so a visit there will bring some tranquility to your day exploring Amman. The giant blue dome is the highlight of both the interior and exterior of the building and a true piece of architectural prowess.

The mosque is within walking distance of the historical landmarks, downtown souks, and Rainbow Street in cooler months. You will find a small gift shop on site if you want to purchase a religious-style souvenir.

King Abdullah Mosque practical information:

Opening times: 3:20 am until 10 pm every day (you won’t be able to visit during prayer times.

Entrance fees: 2 Dinars (£2.25)

Downtown souks

Shopping in the souks of Amman is a great way to enrich yourself with the local traditions, and although there is chaos on every corner, it is rewarding to interact with the locals.

Souk Mango is one of the oldest markets in Amman and is located centrally in the Downtown area, close to the Citadel and Roman Theatre, therefore, a good option to add to your day itinerary.

The iconic bazaar offers a wide array of goods, ranging from nuts and fruit to clothing and perfume. It is not as touristy as bazaars in some other Arab countries, which means you can authentically observe daily life.

Other notable souks around Amman include:

  • Nour al Barakah
  • Farmers Market Amman
  • Friday Market
  • Flohmarkt
  • Souk Jara

Darat Al Funun

Visiting the famous Darat Al Funun in Amman is another opportunity to appreciate the arty side of the Jordanian capital. The beautiful complex is rich and comprises six historical buildings dating back a century, filled with contemporary art.

This highlight is only a short walk from Rainbow Street, and although it is small in size, it offers a relaxing ambiance and awesome views of the city in its cozy gardens, or on-site cafe. The museum is known for its unique artistic expression through its various sculptures and paintings, from local Jordanian and Arab artists. The museum has gained recognition for outstanding practices.

It has always had free entry into the art gallery since it was first established in 1988. The location of Darat Al Funfun in one of the oldest parts of Amman “Weibdeh” is home to several art galleries, and quirky cafes, which add some modernity and color to the bland streets.

To enjoy the full experience, a visit in springtime when the flowers are blossoming, adds a pink glow to the area.

Darat Al Funun practical information:

Opening times: 10 am until 7 pm Saturday – Thursday.

Entrance fees: Free

Local Things to Know about Amman

Population: 4 million

Currency: Jordanian Dinars

Language: Arabic

Amman is a city that is rich in Middle Eastern traditions. Here are some that you can expect during your visit to the capital.


The souks of Amman offer an insightful look into Middle Eastern culture, mainly filled with locals going about their daily business. This offers an interesting perspective on the shopping culture of the region.

Arabic Coffee

Coffee in Arabic countries is often very strong with an aromatic taste, so you can expect a different-tasting coffee in Jordan than in other parts of the world.


Mansaf, which is Jordan’s national dish, is usually lamb served with yogurt, rice, and fresh bread. The portion sizes are considerable, and can usually be split between two or three people.


If you visit Jordan during Ramadan, your experience will differ from other months in the year. The local community will usually close restaurants during the day time and be stricter with other aspects of business operation.

Warm Hospitality

The local people of Amman are all very welcoming, which is a key aspect of Jordanian culture. You can expect to hear “Marhaba” (meaning welcome) often as you explore the capital.

This article originally appeared on The World Overload. Featured Photo Credit: Unsplash

You May Also Like