Thinking of visiting Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea in Jordan? Fly into Amman, and you are less than four hours away from all the main attractions.
Traveling to Amman, the capital of Jordan is easy. You can fly non-stop from Chicago and New York City. And if you live in other cities, you have the options of taking your connecting flight in Chicago or New York City. Connecting flights via major European cities like London, Rome, and Paris can be your option too.
Before you leave for Petra and the other attractions, we suggest you carve out at least two full days for these top 10 things to do in Amman.
1. Explore Amman Citadel
Located between the desert and the fertile land of Jordan, Amman was originally built on seven hills and now extends to over 20. It’s a city mashup of the old and the new, like the glass-and-steel high-rise towers and ancient Roman ruins at the Citadel.
The Amman Citadel is a historic fortress situated on top of Jabal al-Qal’a the highest of the original seven hills. Archaeologists found traces of Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans inhabitants in the citadel.
When you’re there, check out the Roman Hercules Temple, a Byzantine church and the Umayyad Palace. The Jordan Archaeological Museum with excavated artifacts from the Citadel is located on-site.
The Roman Theatre (built during Antonius Pius era) is sat at the foot of the hill. You can either walk downhill to visit the theatre or view it from the top of the mountain.
2. Visit the Royal Automobile Museum
See an extensive collection of motorbikes and cars owned and used by the late King Hussein and King Abdullah, the current king of Jordan. Check out the replica of Lawrence of Arabia’s armored Rolls Royce, the Martian rover, and many rare and expensive cars. Each car tells a story for the Jordanian Royal family.
3. Stroll along Rainbow Street
Rainbow Street has some of the best coffee shops and artisan stores in Amman. It’s Amman’s most walkable street. You’ll also find Al-Quds, the oldest falafel vendor in Amman. Most of the coffee shops on Rainbow Street and the side streets offer spectacular views of downtown Amman.
4. Enjoy Jordanian coffee
When in Amman, try the cardamom-infused Jordanian coffee in coffee shops and restaurants. In Jordan, coffee holds center stage in all homes and for all occasions. Try Jordanian sweets like Ush Al-Bulbul, Faisalieh and Barazek with Jordanian coffee to get a real taste of Jordan.
5. Visit the King Abdullah I Mosque
Built between 1982 and 1989, and named after the great-grandfather of the current Jordanian king, the King Abdullah I Mosque is one of the most beautiful mosques in Jordan. This blue-domed mosque can accommodate up to 7,000 people inside and 3,000 in the courtyard.
6. Indulge in Jordanian cuisine
Try Mansaf, a dish of saffron rice, lamb chops and yogurt-like sauce and is a Jordanian national dish. Also try falafel, hummus, and a shawarma sandwich. Check out Surfra Restaurant for mansaf, Hashem Restaurant for falafel and hummus, and Reem for shawarma sandwich.
7. Eat shawarma sandwich in Reem
Reem, located in the second circle in Amman is the oldest shawarma vendor in Jordan. This hole-in-the-wall eatery offers take-out only. You’ll see locals and a few tourists heading there for the famous and affordable shawarma sandwiches (sliced meat wrapped in pita bread).
8. Float in the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth, measuring at 1,312 feet below sea level. Day trips are available from Amman to the Dead Sea. Either bring a towel or rent it from the facility at the Dead Sea. Float in the Dead Sea and end your day with a spa treatment at a Dead Sea spa.
9. Take a day trip to Jerash
Jerash is one of the most well-preserved Roman towns in the world. It has over 6,000 years of history, but the most important age was during Roman rule. There are hilltop temples, theaters, public squares, baths, fountains, city walls and colonnaded streets in Jerash.
This ancient city is a must-see attraction if you like history and architecture. It’s only an hour car-ride from Amman.
10. Visit Souk Al-Bukharieh
Souk Al-Bukharieh is the oldest market in Amman. It’s located in an alley lined with small shops in downtown Amman.
Have you been to Amman? What were your favorite things to do?