Roman ruins in the middle of the ancient citadel park in Amman

Things to do in  Amman

This capital demands attention

For more than 10,000 years, the city now known as Amman has been standing at the foot of the Ajlūn Mountains. Originally built on seven hills (like Rome), the Jordanian capital now sprawls over 19. Find the historic heart of this modern Middle Eastern metropolis in spots where a crumbling Roman amphitheater rubs shoulders with ancient Ammonite ruins. Other things to do in Amman? Experience blue-domed mosques, spice-filled souks, incredible food, a vibrant street art scene, and day trips to Petra and the Dead Sea.

Top 15 attractions in Amman

Petra

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The stone city of Petra was carved into Jordan’s red rock cliffs more than 2,000 years ago. Once a Roman trading stop and stronghold of the Nabataean Arab kingdom, Petra is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most iconic archaeological destinations.More

Wadi Rum

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The brilliantly colored sands and stark rock formations of Wadi Rum make this desert wilderness a must-visit for most travelers to Jordan. Signature sights include the Burdah Rock Bridge, a natural arch; the Khazali Siq, a narrow canyon; Jabal Umm Ad Dami, the highest mountain in Jordan; and the scarlet Al Hasany Dunes.More

Dead Sea

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The Dead Sea, home to the lowest point in the world at 1,269 feet (383 meters) below sea level, also ranks as one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. This hyper-salinity that is so unique to the Dead Sea attracts visitors from all over the world who come to experience the unusual buoyancy, as well as access the nutrient-rich mud on its banks.More

Jerash (Gerasa)

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Second only to Petra in terms of archaeological importance, Jerash (Gerasa) is one of Jordan’s most significant Roman sites. The area has been inhabited for over 6,500 years, but its high point was under Roman rule, beginning in 63 BC. Today it’s known for beautifully preserved ancient architecture, including temples and an amphitheater.More

Ajloun Castle

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Perched on top of Mount ‘Auf, with commanding views over the Jordan Valley, Ajloun Castle was built in the 12th century by a general under Saladin, Egypt and Syria’s first sultan. Destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, it’s been used to deter Crusader attacks, defend iron mines and trade routes, and as part of a beacon and pigeon communication network.More

Amman Citadel (Jabal al-Qalaa)

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Ancient history sits high above downtown streets at the Amman Citadel (Jabal al-Qalaa), a compact hill topped with Roman ruins, a palace, and the National Archeological Museum. Whether you’re exploring the sites or just enjoying panoramic views across Amman, the Citadel is an essential stop.More

Amman Roman Theater

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Spectacularly restored, Amman Roman Theater once held an audience of 6,000, and in summer, it’s still used for shows and concerts. Dating to the second century AD, it nestles towards the base of Amman Citadel. The 3-tier seating structure reflects Roman society: rulers sat at the front, army in the middle, and ordinary folk above.More

King’s Highway

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Winding through some of Jordan’s most stunning scenery, this ancient trading road runs south from historic Madaba to Wadi Musa, your base for exploring Petra. While faster routes exist, the King’s Highway offers majestic crusader castles at Karak and Shobak, the spectacular Wadi al-Mujib canyon, the Dana Nature Reserve, and more.More

King Abdullah Mosque

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A fine example of contemporary Islamic architecture, the King Abdullah Mosque commemorates King Abdullah I, founder of the dynasty that rules Jordan to this day. The vast blue dome, decorated with texts from the Quran, shades a space that can hold over 10,000 people, while a small museum celebrates the king’s life.More

Rainbow Street

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Probably Amman’s best-known road, Rainbow Street runs along the top of Jebel Amman hill. Despite the name, it’s not especially colorful, but the mass of cafés, eateries, and stores make up for it, while jewel-like villas and atmospheric stairways nestle down side streets.More

Jordan Archaeological Museum

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The collections of the Jordan Archaeological Museum, established in 1951 near the Amman Citadel, run from the Stone Age to the Islamic era and include Nabatean and Roman works of art. The museum has lost some of its most important pieces to the Jordan Museum, which opened in 2014, and there are plans to update it.More

Royal Automobile Museum

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A huge draw for car enthusiasts, the Royal Automobile Museum displays more than 70 classic cars and other vehicles, many of which are from the personal collection of King Hussein. Not just about the cars themselves, the museum looks at who drove them and the events they were a part of, making the museum a point of interest to those interested in history and the royal family too.Each car has a full explanation of its type, and model, plus the year it was made, its engine power, and the occasions it was used for. In addition to grand classic cars, the Royal Automobile Museum also has various types of motorcycles and racing cars on display.A trip to the Royal Automobile Museum can be combined with visiting the Jordan Museum, King Abdullah Mosque, the Roman Theater, Rainbow Street, and the Citadel, either on a private six-hour tour or a longer sightseeing tour with lunch included.More

Azraq Castle (Qasr al-Azraq)

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Azraq Castle is a desert fortress created by the Romans back in 300 AD, although the current structure was built in 1237 by the Mamelukes. Its location in the center of the Azraq Oasis was chosen strategically; this area is the only water source in over 7,000 square miles. The basalt castle’s most striking feature is its black-blue hue.More

Amra Castle (Qasr Amra)

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Once a royal retreat of the Umayyad caliphs, this 8th-century desert castle in northern Jordan is known for its startlingly well-preserved fresco paintings. It’s an impressive feat of early Islamic art and architecture—enough to earn UNESCO World Heritage status. The palace is about an hour’s drive from Amman and Madaba and is often visited alongside Qasr Kharana and Qasr al Alzraq.More

Kharana Castle (Qasr al-Kharanah)

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Dating back to the early 8th century, this imposing desert ruin in eastern Jordan offers a remarkable glimpse of early Islamic architecture under the Umayyad Caliphate, the first Muslim dynasty. Easily reachable as a day trip from Amman, it remains a popular (and famously photogenic) stop for tourists and photographers in combination with nearby Qasr Amra and Qasr al Alzraq.More
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All about Amman

When to visit

The best time of year to visit Amman—and Jordan—is spring or fall, roughly March–May and September–November, when the bright days and cooler nights are ideal for exploring. While Amman is at a higher elevation than the rest of the country, meaning the blazing sun of summer doesn’t hit quite as hard as other places in Jordan, it can still pack a punch. It’s also worth checking if Ramadan falls during your proposed trip dates (the exact dates change every year).

Getting around

The easiest way to get around Amman is by car, with most travelers using yellow (metered) taxis or rideshare services such as Uber and Careem. If you’re planning on heading outside of town or want to see a lot in a short time frame, you can hire drivers for the day or join a tour. This is often a top choice for folks planning day trips to Petra or the Dead Sea. Alternatively, explore Amman on foot or by bus.

Traveler tips

Thanks to its central location—and proximity to Queen Alia International Airport—Amman provides a convenient gateway to Jordanian life. The capital’s souks, second-century Roman ruins, and mosques are the main attractions, but there are also cafés, cooking classes, and street art tours. You can see day trip highlights, such as Petra, the Dead Sea, and Roman city of Jerash, but don't miss lesser-visited options including the ruins of Umm Qais, Mt. Nebo, Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the desert castles, and Wadi Mujib.

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People Also Ask

Is Amman worth visiting?

Yes, Amman is worth visiting. While most travelers to Jordan focus their attention on Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea, Jordan’s capital also deserves attention. A fusion of old and new, Amman melds together 10,000 years of history with modern Middle Eastern art, culture, and cuisine.

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What is Amman best known for?

The cosmopolitan capital of Jordan, Amman is not only one of the Middle East's biggest cities but also one of the world’s oldest and longest-inhabited. With a history spanning nearly 10,000 years, Amman is known as a historical and cultural hub, with Neolithic sites, Roman ruins, and museums.

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Is Amman a walkable city?

Yes, Amman is a walkable city—although the capital sprawls across 19 hills, so crossing from one side to the other on foot isn't recommended. However, if you limit your explorations to specific neighborhoods and areas, walking is a great way to explore the city—and avoid the infamous traffic.

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Is 2 days enough in Amman?

Two days in Amman is enough to squeeze in most of the capital’s highlights—which include the Amman Citadel, Roman Theatre, King Abdullah I Mosque, Umayyad Palace, Rainbow Street, and Souk Al-Sukar. If time is limited, other attractions, like Petra and the Dead Sea, can also be visited on day trips.

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Is Amman safe for tourists?

Yes, Amman is a fairly safe city for tourists, especially if you respect the local culture and etiquette, including dressing modestly. Women should aim to keep their legs, chests, and shoulders covered. Travelers should be vigilant and keep their valuables out of sight and avoid conflict zones.

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Can you do a day trip to Petra from Amman?

Yes, travelers can do day trips from Amman to Petra. The most popular tourist attraction in Jordan, Petra is about a three-hour drive from Amman. Many tour companies offer full-day tours with hotel pickup/drop-off, transportation, and guided tours of the Nabataean capital to ensure you don’t miss a thing.

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