The Best Things to do in Amman – A Packed 24 Hour Amman Itinerary

The Best Things to do in Amman – A Packed 24 Hour Amman Itinerary

On first impressions Amman is hectic. It’s a far cry from the ‘civilized’ grid-like system in most modern cities.

The dust coloured ancient city sprawls over the surrounding steep and rocky hillsides, even the newest buildings are covered in a fine layer of beige dust. Because of the terrain, the streets zig-zag all over the place and are linked by steep staircases cutting off corners for pedestrians.

Despite its slightly run-down appearance, Amman has an endearing side to it and when you get under the dusty facade, you’ll discover there are loads of things to do in Amman.

In this Amman itinerary, I’ll be covering all best parts of the Jordanian capital. With just one day in Amman, you’ll be able to see the highlights including the Citadel, Old Town and two Amphitheatres, plus loads more.

Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast

This Amman city tour can easily be split into a more leisurely 2-day itinerary. I’ve also included a section about day trips from Amman if you have longer here as well as some great ideas on places to stay in Amman.

So let’s take a look at the things to do in Amman. Just remember, before you set out to make sure you’re wearing a comfortable pair of walking shoes. The hilly terrain acts a bit like an urban workout, your calves will know about it the next day.

So let’s go… read on to find out about some of the amazing places to visit in Amman.

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BEST THINGS TO DO IN AMMAN - YOUR ONE DAY AMMAN ITINERARY

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To summarise, these are the places covered in this Amman itinerary. With only a day in Amman, this guide covers all of the best things to do in Amman in the shortest space of time.

Morning: Get breakfast at Rainbow Street before visiting The Grand Husseini Mosque, The Nymphonium, Roman Amphitheatre and Odeon Amphitheatre

Afternoon: Explore The Old Town Shops & Souqs before heading to The Citadel

Evening: Eat traditional Jordanian Mezze and then watch the sunset from a trendy rooftop bar. 

Top tip:

The main airport for Jordan is the Queen Alia International Airport, just outside of Amman. It takes about 45 minutes to most hotels in the city. Book your airport transfer direct to your hotel in advance.

This saves you both the hassle and avoids the hefty inflated fees from the taxi firms at the airport.

Prebook now: Queen Alia International Airport Transfer to Amman

A Brief History of Amman

  • Historically, Amman dates back to Neolithic times (8500 BC), since then the City has had different names. First, Rabbath Ammon (in the 13th Century BC) and then it was called Philadelphia (in 280BC), after Ptolemy II Philadelphus.
  • Amman boasts some pretty awesome Roman ruins including a Citadel and two Amphitheatres.
  • The City of Amman has now grown to spread over 19 hills! *refer back to my previous comment on ‘urban workout!’, you’re legs are going to feel it!
  • In the past Amman has been ruled by the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Egyptians and Romans.
  • Thankfully, Amman is one of the most liberal cities in the Middle East so there are no strict rules on what women can and can’t wear and where they can go etc. Although Jordan is a relatively liberal country, I’ve written a handy guide on what to wear (and not wear) when you visit Jordan – it’s even got a downloadable packing list.

Is Amman safe?

During my stay in Jordan, I felt just as safe as I would at home. I dressed a little more conservatively than I would usually do on holiday, but it stopped any unwanted attention.

It’s no secret that every country has crime so most importantly use your common sense, be aware of your surroundings and don’t flash expensive items about. It’s worthwhile hiding valuable stuff, like your cash, in a money belt.

If you want to be a bit more stylish, then invest in a scarf with a hidden zip pocket instead.

The people in Jordan, on the whole, were very friendly and mostly wanted to offer cups of tea every time you go into their shop, or if you’re waiting about for a bus. I was a bit dubious at first (drink-spiking came to mind) but after I saw them also drinking from the same teapot, I eased up. By the way, their warm and sweet sage tea is delicious! this is mostly what you’ll get offered.

If you’re out and about for a whole day and need to carry stuff, it’s worthwhile using an anti-theft backpack to keep everything safe.

Finally, in terms of safety, you can not drink the tap water in Jordan, so instead of buying a fresh bottle of water every time you need a drink, don’t forget to take your water purification filter bottle with you.

AMMAN ITINERARY - THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN AMMAN IN A DAY

Want the easy option to see all the highlights of Amman? then why not book a private driver and guide for the day to see the best bits of Amman the easy way.

Prebook now: Amman Private Sightseeing Tour

 

Morning: Get breakfast at Rainbow Street before visiting The Grand Husseini Mosque, The Nymphonium, Roman Amphitheatre and Odeon Amphitheatre

Start the day with breakfast or a coffee at one of the many cafes along the super cutely named ‘Rainbow Street’ and ‘Mango Street‘. Deceptively named, Rainbow Street is no more colourful than anywhere else in Amman, it’s still dust-coloured! 

The actual names of these streets are Abu Bakr al Siddiq Street (Rainbow Steet) which gets its name from the cinema which is located along here, and Omar bin al-Khattab Street (Mango Street), named after brothers Kamal and Ali Mango, who designed and built the stunning Mango House on this street.

Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast
Probably the most famous street in Amman
Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast
Strong and rich traditional Jordanian coffee

This district of Amman is called Jabal Amman and used to be where the wealthier Jordanians lived, today, just check out some of the stunning villas around this neighbourhood. Recently, it’s has had a bit of a revival and it’s super hipster.

Rainbow Street is where you’ll find a real mix of tourists and locals, along with a range of restaurants from hole-in-the-wall style right through to high-end, shops specialising in sweet treats, cafes, boutique homewares, book stores and hipster hangouts. 

At some point during your stay in Jordan, be sure to try out a traditional Jordanian breakfast in Amman

You’ll find Rainbow Street, on the whole, is relatively flat once you are on it. From here head down the hill into the old town.

Meander your way down through the streets and steps to your first stop, The Grand Husseini Mosque. This is one of the oldest and biggest mosques in the area. The Mosque that you will see was built in 1932 and is built on top of the site of a much older Mosque dating to about 640AD.

Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast
The first of the ruins you'll see on this Amman itinerary is The Nymphonium, which used to supply water to the city

From the Mosque, head north-east along King Talal Street and towards The Nymphonium. The Nymphonium in Amman is quite a small site with a handful of boards. There’s not much left of it, but historically this is where the water back in Roman times came from. 

If you want to see a better example of a Roman Nymphonium while you are in Jordan, then visit the ruins of Jerash, the one there is stunning in comparison. 

From the Nymphonium, head north-east along Quraysh Street towards the Amphitheatre.

Visiting the Ruins of Jerash

Jerash is a huge archelogical ruin site and less than an hours drive north of Amman. It’s been dubbed ‘Pompeii of the East’ for good reason.

Not only will you find a Nymphonium, there’s also cobbled colanaded streets, the giant oval of colums, several temples, two ampitheatres and more. It’s certainly worth a visit if you have time.

Prebook now: Private Tour of Jerash

Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast
The Roman Theatre in Amman

Amman has two Amphitheatres; one called The Roman Theatre and the other called The Odeon Theatre. The Roman Theatre is the larger of the two, which could hold at least 6000 people! Visitng them is one of the top things to do in Amman.

Visit The Roman Theatre first, entry is 2JD (approx $2.80) the ticket gives you entry to the two small and somewhat dated on-site museums as well as The Odeon Theatre. 

The Roman Theatre is half-built into the hillside, so it’s a semi-circle shape rather than circular like the famous Colosseum in Rome. Spend some time here climbing up and down the steps. At the top, you’ll have a decent vantage point to photograph the surrounding area.

The Amphitheatre is situated in a natural bowl, so you’ll get a decent panoramic shot of Amman from the surrounding hillsides, you’ll even be able to see the columns from The Temple of Hercules at The Citadel in the distance.

Head over to the smaller Odeon Theatre. It’s a fraction of the size but superbly renovated and much quieter than its bigger sister you’ve just visited. The Odeon Theatre is certainly a more tranquil place to sit in the warm sun. 

Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast
Can you spot the columns from the Temple of Hercules? *hint, they are on the top of the hill on the left hand side; you can see the arch and two smaller columns.

Afternoon: Explore The Old Town Shops & Souqs before heading to the Citadel

Before heading up to The Citadel, spend some time wandering about Old Town Amman, this area is known as Al Balad. Here you’ll find little shops selling all sorts of food, drinks, trinkets and daily goods. It’s a great insight into the lives of the Jordanians as well as being a great place to pick up a snack or lunch before heading up to the Citadel.

The main streets you’ll want to wander about are Al-Salt, Al-Hashemi, Basman, Prince Mohammad, King Talal and Quraysh. Some of the better-known Souqs in the area are the Souq Al-Sukar which specialises in food, so you’ll find loads of spices, nuts, fruit and vegetables here. If you’re after a spot of souvenir shopping, then head towards and the Souq Bukharia.

Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast
Spice market Photo by Tom Hermans

When you’re done wandering around Old Town Amman, head up to the Citadel. If you’re feeling energetic it’s walkable, if you’re not up for the challenge, then get a taxi.

If you’re walking up, head back to the square outside of the Roman Theatre. Nearly opposite and on the other side of the road there is a flight of stairs leading up the hill. The stairs eventually lead out to the road that takes you straight to The Citadel. As you are walking up don’t forget to turn around and look back down on the Amphitheatres from above; another decent panoramic photo opportunity.

Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast
While you're walking up to the Citadel, don't forget to turn round and look down on The Roman Theatre and the smaller Odeon Theatre

Along with the Roman Theatre, visiting the Citadel is probably one of the best things to do in Amman, and no Amman itinerary would be complete without a visit to the 1800BC archaeological site.

Being a Citadel, naturally, it’s going to be situated on a high point in the City. So, a word to the wise, you’ll need a jacket up here if it’s a breezy day. Likewise, when the glorious sunshine comes out, it’s quite hot.

Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast
You'd be hard pushed to miss the iconic hand poking out of the ground at The Temple of Hercules

The Citadel is situated on 850m high Jebel Al Qala’a hill. It’s pretty exposed on top and there isn’t much form of natural shelter either so if it’s sunny you’ll certainly need sunblock and sun glasses. But being so high does allow you to get some great shots looking down over Amman.

Entry to The Citadel is 3JD (approx $4.20) and this gives you access to the full archaeological site. To fully explore the site you’ll want at least a couple of hours. Some of the highlights of The Citadel are The Temple of Hercules, The Umayyad Palace and the Byzantine Church. The onsite museum also has some cool stuff inside.

The iconic columns and podium from Temple of Hercules are visible from most places in Amman, don’t miss seeing the giant hand half-buried in the ground.

Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast
The domed roof of the Byzantine Church

When you are done at The Citadel, head back towards Rainbow Street to get a well deserved Turkish Coffee and a bite to eat.

To walk from The Citadel to Rainbow Street it’s a mix of downhill and uphill – it took me less than 30 minutes. Alternatively, if you don’t fancy the ‘Urban Gym’ then grab a taxi again. It shouldn’t cost any more than 2JD! I opted to walk.

Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast
The famous columns of the Temple of Hercules

Evening: Eat traditional Jordanian Mezze and then watch the sunset from a trendy rooftop bar. 

Head back towards Jabal Amman, to Rainbow Street and Mango Street to try a delicious and authentic Jordanian Mezze. Hummous is one of my favourite things, so I was in heaven when I was served what felt like a bucket of it.

There are loads of places to eat traditional Jordanian food, but I highly recommend Shams El Balad, along Mu’Ath Bin Jabal Street. I came back here three times during my stay in Amman and everything I ate was mouthwateringly delicious. 

The restaurant is set in a pretty villa and with tables and seating inside a large greenhouse with an outside terrace. There are two entrances, one is through their boutique shop and deli, the other is through the front of the house.

Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast

To finish off your day in Amman perfectly, head to one of the nearby trendy rooftop bars in Jabal Amman to enjoy the sunset and watch the city of Amman light up at night.

There are plenty of rooftop bars to choose from but two that get my vote are are Sekrab, which mean ‘junk’ in Arabic. The decor of this trendy bar is made from upcycled items like old car parts, vintage signs etc. Alternatively, if you’re after something a bit sleeker, then I recommend Veer Resto-Lounge which is set in a beautiful 1920s villa and still has lots of its original charm. 

Want the easy version of this trip, without the walking?

Then why not book a private driver and guide for the day to see the best bits of Amman the easy way.

Prebook now: Amman Private Sightseeing Tour

 

Day trips from Amman

If you have longer than one day in Amman, then why not check out some of these great day trips to add to your Amman itinerary.

      • Love wine? You could visit Jordan’s first winery and learn about the art of winemaking on this Desert winery tour. You’ll spend the day sipping wine straight from the barrel and hearing about what it means to produce wine in the desert.
      • Petra is Jordans most iconic landmark and because of this, it can get busy. Make the most of the stunning UNESCO site with on a full day private tour of Petra with pick up and return from Amman.
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Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast
I can't resist a wall mural. This cool art-work plasters the walls at Nomads Hotel in Amman

Where to stay in Amman?

Budget accommodation in Amman

If you’re looking for budget accommodation in Amman, then check out some of the hostels near to Rainbow Street. Located in the historical part of Amman, near to plenty of shops, bars and amenities is Nomads Hotel and Hostel.

Filled with quirky artwork, it’s got a chilled vibe and rooftop view. It’s got amazing hot showers, decent facilitates (the breakfasts are delicious!) and top-notch super friendly and helpful staff.

I initially booked just a single night, but ended up staying 4 nights here because I loved it so much.

Splurge accommodation in Amman

If you’re looking for luxury accommodation, then check out The St. Regis Hotel in Amman, it’s sure to tick all your boxes. There isn’t much this hotel doesn’t offer.

The swimming pool, rooftop views, rolling staircase and foyer alone sold this to me (I’m not kidding, go take a look). It’s clear to see how this is listed as one of the top 5 star rated hotels in Amman.

You might also find these other articles on Jordan useful

Pin it for later

I hope this post has given you plenty of ideas of what to do in Amman. If you loved this post, or know someone that will, then please like and share. Or if you’re planning a trip to Jordan, then why not pin it for future reference so you know exactly the things to do in Amman?

Have you visited Amman before? Did you do anything amazing that worth adding to this Amman itinerary? I’d love to hear from you.

Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast
Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast
Want to know what the best things to do in Amman are? This detailed Amman itinerary tells you exactly what to see in Amman in just one day as well as day trips. #Amman #Jordan #MiddleEast

The Best Things to do in Amman - A Packed 24 Hour Amman Itinerary 1

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Becki from Meet Me In Departures

Adventure travel blogger with a big addiction to the World. An ex-rat-racer who was fed up with sleep-work-eat-repeat materialistic mentality that plagues modern living. I love anything to do with off-beat travel, abandoned places, temples & ruins, street art, wildlife in its natural habitat, adventure sport.....basically anything but the 9-5!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Was surprised to see Turkish coffee being served here – is that a usual thing? I’d never had one before I visited Turkey, but now I love people watching and enjoying a cup … have you heard this Turkish coffee proverb before “… it needs to be Black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love”?

    1. I’ve never heard that proverb, but I love it!
      So they had Turkish coffee in most of the cafes/drink tents I went to, along with sage tea. They did have a few places serving regular ‘western/European’ style coffee. But the Turkish style, in the little cup seemed to be pretty standard 🙂

  2. So much to see there. Now it is on my radar

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