Amman never was high on my list of places to see. I wasn’t expecting anything particular here, but was always sure that i will make it here at some point. For some reason i thought about it as about classical super chaotic Arabic city with very busy life and a place, that is hard to explore. I was so wrong: Amman is clean, safe, organised and calm city with plenty things to do for a visitor! It took me by surprise that it is nice and got something for everyone: ancient architecture, street food (again surprise!), mosques, tourist streets, museums, parks, shops and it is possible to spend couple of great days here exploring and enjoying. Here is my list of suggestion of things to see and do in Amman for 2 days!
Enjoy the view from Citadel
Citadel is the major classical tourist spot in Amman. This is the place to see the remains from Roman, Byzantine and early Islamic periods. Located on the hill of Downtown Amman (the area, where you will spend most of your time in the city), it brings great views to the surroundings! Great way to start exploring new city as you will understand the structure of it quickly and have some good views!
Explore classical Roman heritage
Amman Amphitheater is really cool place, located right on the hill in the downtown and could be called the heat of the city. Definitely, a focal point of Amman. It is almost 2000 years old and was build at the time, when Amman was called Philadelphia. It got amazing acoustics (test it when here), could fit around 6000 people and is build to keep the sun off the spectators. Also there are couple small museums inside of it, but they are not worth any special visit.
Try Jordanian coffee
If you feel for a very strong coffee with cardamon, than make sure to try it here in Jordan. There are numerous coffee shops everywhere, which usually sell coffee to go. It is hot, strong and very flovoured. Definitely helps you to boost you senses and energy for the day!
Walk among hills and stairs
Amman is very hilly city and if you plan to explore it by foot, you will definitely climb here and there at least few times. Good news are that you can spot some colourful stairs, which are really cool and fun! No extra cardio needed and some of the treats in the next places will be well deserved.
Eat street food
This is something, that i seriously can put on the first place of things to do in Amman. Hashem restaurant is the legend of the city and home of incredible food. The place looks much more like a street food place with the tables on the street and no menu. You simply come here, sit down and they will bring you some food. For 3JD (around 4$) you will get falafel, hummus + several other plates, vegetables, fries, bread, tea. Everything is supposed to be eaten with your hands in traditional way, simply use your bread instead of fork. The food in Hashem is super tasty, fresh and amazingly good. I never could expect something like this in Amman!
See the Mosques
Al-Husseini mosque is the main place to visit is you want to see a religious building in Amman and located right in the Downtown. Another choices are King Hussein Mosque, which is the largest mosque in Jordan and a bit away from the city centre and King Abdullah Mosque, which is 15 minutes walk from Amman Downtown and got very cool design.
Check main tourist street
Rainbow street is usually one of the first places to go in Amman. It is traditional tourist street filled with numerous cafes, small shops and little museums. There are couple of viewpoints, where you can enjoy the views to the downtown Amman, thought don’t expect too much. The vibe here is nice and many people also come here to eat food like burgers, shawarma (the smell is god, hard to resist) or classical Falafel sandwich from Al-Quds, the oldest falafel vendor in the city. Of course, lots of other choices are around.
Enjoy local street market
Spices, coffee, fruits, vegetables and a bit chaotic rhythm right in the centre of Amman. This market is a real proof, that thought Amman is very tourist friendly place, which is easy to explore, it is still more of a city and place where people live. The market was really cool, not big, not dirty, but i really want to buy everything here and have a big cooking party!
Check Soap house
The Soap House was one of the first places i saw in Amman and it was a huge surprise. This is a shop, located in a small mansion on one of the backstreets close the Rainbow street. It got good views from the terrace and super cute interior inside. Soap and cosmetics from Jordanian oils, Dead sea minerals as a gift or a treat to yourself is the main thing here. Everything is so pretty and classy, that it’s really nice to spend some time here simply browsing and enjoying.
Enjoy some sweets
When you feel that you are ready to try some local sweets (which is not hard, as there are plenty of amazingly looking sweet shoes everywhere) make sure to leave a room for your visit to Knafeh. This is the most popular and amazing food place in Amman. It is located on the backstreet in Amman right next to the bank. The store itself is small, but EVERYWHERE around it there are dozens of people sitting and eating from white plastic plates. Their signature dish consists of sweet top and cheese and heavenly good. The price is less than 1$, but make sure to try it, it will definitely bring you special moment for you in Amman.
As in any Arabic city, shopping is one of the essential part of life. Amman offers everything: gold, food, modern malls around the city with everything from H&M to Louis Vuitton and more local shops with clothes, souvenirs, toys and actually everything. Bargaining is not too common, but you can always try!
Have a shisha at an outdoor coffee shop
Shishas and outdoor cafes are the best way to get social in Amman and feel the vibe of the city. The best time to do it is after the sunset, especially during hot time of year. Sit at any of the cafes at the busy street, choose any of the numerous flavours and enjoy your people watching.
– Amman could be relatively chilly (there is even snow in the winter sometimes) and could be super hot during summer months
– If you plan to explore Jordan and visit Petra, then check Jordan Pass, which gave you prepaid entrance to the most of the places including Petra + your entrance visa fee is included here. Helps to save a bit of time and money.
– The traffic in Amman is not chaotic, but still make sure to keep an eye around while crossing the street
Where to stay
For my stay in Amman i choose Grand Hyatt Amman. This classical hotel works perfectly for any kind of traveller and knows that you need to feel at your room like you are at home. Located just a short ride or 20 minutes walk away from Downtown Amman, it was really handy and nice. Rooms are large and effective, internet is super fast, service is very responsible. There are pool and good gym, several restaurants, great breakfast with good choice of everything and lots of facilities for the business travellers. I love that so much is done for you to solve your everyday needs without any hustle: haircut, souvenirs back home, any meetings, laundry. Super convenient! View from the window in my room was absolutely incredible and made me stay closer to the window most of my time.