While most people visit Jordan to explore the ruins of Petra or go glamping in Wadi Rum, the capital city of Amman deserves a visit too.
Amman boasts countless attractions, both old and new, inviting tourists to learn about the local culture and history.
Here are the nine must-do things in Amman, Jordan.
1. Explore the Amman Citadel
Petra isn’t the only ancient place to see in Jordan. Perched atop the highest hill in the capital city, the Amman Citadel boasts stunning views of the city.
However, the Amman Citadel is more than just a beautiful lookout point. It’s home to historical attractions that date as far back as the Bronze Age. The two massive pillars on a podium are what remains of the Temple of Hercules.
Nearby, a stone sculpture with three fingers stands tall. The fragment was once part of a statue of Hercules. Experts believe that the figure may have stood more than 12 metres tall, giving tourists an insight into what Amman would’ve been like many years ago.
The Amman Citadel is also home to another impressive collection of buildings that comprise the Umayyad Palace. Much of the complex was destroyed in an earthquake in the mid-18th century. However, a few sites have been restored for tourists.
2. Visit the Roman Theatre
A 20-minute walk from the Amman Citadel is where you can find the Roman Theatre.
The Roman Theatre is a 6,000-seat, 2nd-century Roman theatre that dates back to the Roman period when the city was known as Philadelphia.
Today, the Roman Theatre hosts some of the city’s most important events, including summer plays and concerts.
3. Wander Down Rainbow Street
Rainbow Street is a famous road found in the historic district of Jabal Amman. Rainbow Street is a great place to escape the chaotic traffic and explore this part of the city on foot.
There are so many things to do on this tourist-friendly street, including grabbing tea at Jara Cafe or lunch at one of the many restaurants. If you want to cool down, grab an ice cream at Gerard Ice Cream.
After you’ve fuelled up, check out Rainbow Street’s retailers or watch artisans create handicrafts at Souk Jara.
4. Visit the Jordan Museum
No trip to Amman is complete without visiting the Jordan Museum. The museum is next to City Hall and brings Jordanian culture and history to life.
What makes the Jordan Museum worth visiting? It tells the story of Jordan through three permanent galleries.
The Traditional Life Gallery explores urban, rural and Bedouin lifestyles through displays of residences and traditional costumes.
The Modern Jordan Wing showcases the country’s history from the Great Arab Renaissance to the kingdom’s founding to the present-day nation.
The largest display, the Archaeological and Historical Gallery, showcases an array of artifacts and scale models of ancient sites, such as the Ayla Gate.
Nowhere else in Amman gives tourists access to such detailed information about the history and culture of Jordan.
Related: Here is the best time to visit Jordan.
5. See Amman’s Other Ancient Sites
The Amman Citadel and Roman Theatre aren’t the city’s only ancient sites worth visiting.
Located outside the Roman Theatre, tourists can see the few columns of what was the Forum, one of Imperial Rome’s largest public plazas. Visitors can also see the Odeon, a smaller version of the Roman Theatre. The Odeon seats 500 people and now serves as a seasonal venue for music and other events.
Another ancient site worth visiting is the Nymphaeum, a partially excavate public fountain that dates back to the 2nd century.
6. See Amman’s Oldest Mosque
With so many ancient sites dating back to the 2nd century, it can be hard to believe that Amman’s oldest mosque was built less than 100 years ago.
The Al-Husseini Mosque was built less than a century ago as the first major architectural project of the Jordanian Kingdom.
However, while the mosque may still be considered young, its history runs deep. King Abdullah I built the pink-and-white stone structure where a mosque constructed in 640 CE once stood.
Not only that but the site is also believed to have been the former location of the Cathedral of Philadelphia.
Today, the Al-Husseini Mosque draws up to 1,500 worshippers for its daily noon prayers and Friday prayer.
Watching the crowds from the outside gives you a sense of just how important the mosque is to the city’s residents. However, as a tourist, you may be able to enter the mosque if you’re dressed appropriately.
7. Visit the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
If you’re an art lover, you must visit the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts.
While the museum may be small, it showcases works from around the world, particularly focusing on Jordan and the surrounding region.
The permanent collection at the museum contains more than 3,000 works of art representing artists from more than 70 countries.
Related: This is the ultimate 2023 Jordan itinerary.
8. Taste the Best Falafel in Amman
While it may be controversial, as there are so many fantastic places to grab falafel in Amman, locals and tourists love the falafel at Hashem.
Hashem is a decades-old restaurant in Downtown Amman. Hashem gets enough gets that it stays open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If that doesn’t say it offers the best falafel in town, we don’t know what will!
9. Relax at a Spa
While the Dead Sea is the most famous spot for relaxing in Jordan, Amman holds its own on the wellness travel scene with various spas.
Amman’s Hammans still maintain bathing traditions that are hundreds of years old. Many spas in the city feature Middle Eastern-style saunas, communal baths, steam rooms and private treatment rooms.
If you’re looking to relax on an afternoon after a morning of exploring, visiting a spa in Amman is a must-do.
From visiting the ancient sites of historical Amman to finding the best falafel in the city, there are so many amazing things to do in Jordan’s capital.
Whether you love history, art or delicious food, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Amman.