Last Updated on by Talita
Most tourists visit Jordan to go and visit Petra or the Wadi Rum desert, and rightly so, as they are amazing experiences, however, stopping in Amman for a day on the way, makes for a very satisfying trip. The ‘white city’ is as old as time itself and has an immense history which spans across the many hills which it sits upon.
Quaint in many spots of the city, Amman has an allure to international visitors through its culture, history and as of recent times, its growing artistic side, there really is something for everyone. This one day Amman itinerary has all the information you need to make the most of your time in the Jordanian capital. Some notable highlights which will be covered for the best things to do in Amman are:
1. Learn about the ancient history of the white city
As Amman comprises many steep hills, visiting all of the different landmarks by foot in one day can be difficult, due to the multiple ascends in the Middle Eastern heat. It is advisable to catch a taxi to the citadel to start your day exploring, as it sits upon the highest hill in Amman ‘Jebel Al Qala’a’. You can then descend down towards the Roman Theatre and downtown.
The Citadel’s position dominates Amman’s skyline, reaffirming its ancient symbolism, and grand history which dates back through the many civilisations that it has survived. As of today, the Citadel site houses many ancient ruins, giving a glimpse back into historical times.
These include the Umayyad Palace, Byzantine Church and Temple of Hercules across the large archaeological site that spans several acres. The ruins are well preserved when considering the age of the site, with a few of the amazing arches still standing. A cool thing to do is to stand underneath one of the arches to realise the scale of the ruins.
From the Citadel, you can experience incredible panoramic views of Amman, including a birds eye view of the Roman Theatre, creating a special moment. The admission fee is 3 Jordanian Dinars, or free if you have purchased a Jordan Pass. Plan to spend an hour or two on site to fully appreciate the historical significance of the place.
There is also a cafe on site, if you want to try some local dishes with a view to remember. It is recommended that you visit the Citadel early in the morning to avoid the midday heat.
3. Jordan Archeological Museum
Whilst on the Citadel site, it is recommended that you pay a visit to the Jordan Archaeological Museum, as it is included in part of your ticket. Inside the Museum you will find an impressive collection of artefacts which span across the many civilisations which have controlled Jordan historically. These include pottery, original statues, jewellery and tombs. The museum is ordered chronologically and all of the artefacts have information displayed in English and Arabic.
One of the most notable exhibits inside the museum are the ‘Ain Ghazal statues’, which date back 9000 years and are considered to be one of the oldest figures representing human form. They are abstract in form and have remarkably stood the test of time to still show their unique features to this day.
The opening times are 8am until 7pm through the summer, which means whichever time you visit the Citadel site, you should have the opportunity to go and learn about the history of Amman.
4. Roman Theatre
The final stop on the historical journey into Jordan’s past is the famous Roman Theatre, which dates back over two thousand years. The ruins are carved into the rock of the Jabal Jofeh hill, which is a common theme across historical highlights in Jordan.
As you head downtown from the Citadel, you can’t miss the amphitheatre as it takes centre stage amongst the hustle and bustle of the downtown area. Entrance fee is 2 Jordanian Dinars, or free if you have purchased a Jordan Pass (recommended option), and the opening hours are 8am until 6pm during the summer.
Once you have entered the Roman Theatre, you are allowed to explore at your own leisure. Climbing to the top of the Cavea is one of the best things to do during your trip to the ancient landmark, as it offers stunning views of the downtown area. If you want to learn more about the grand history of the Roman empire, then head to the two museums on site, where you can find cultural artefacts, giving a glimpse into life two thousand years ago.
5. Get involved with the artistic side of Amman
- Visit modern art galleries and appreciate the street art murals
Amman is known for its historical significance and cultural traditions, however, an artistic side to the city is now flourishing as street art murals and contemporary art galleries are popping up throughout the city. The modern art galleries have varying styles from local Jordanians and international artists.
Some of the work on display includes community collaborations, ceramic works, abstract landscape art and modernised Jordanian handcrafts. Some recommended art galleries in Amman are:
A beautiful showroom of art from locals and internationally. There is also a terrace offering stunning views of Amman.
Amman Panorama Art Gallery
Friendly and helpful staff to show you around and explain the work of some very talented local Jordanian artists.
Wadi Finan Art Gallery
A hidden gem close to Rainbow Street. Small in size, but fascinating exhibitions and a beautiful garden.
You will find regular art workshops across Amman which encourages the community to get involved with the rising phenomenon of art. Building street art murals are also increasing in popularity with many spots in Amman now colourful and quirky. Make sure you look out for the ‘The Column’ masterpiece on a building in between the Citadel and Roman Theatre. You can spot it from the Citadel as it stands out amongst the beige coloured buildings.
6. Rainbow Street
When visiting Amman, you have to visit the most famous tourist spot in the city, which is Rainbow Street. The colourful and quirky street is built as a hub for international tourists with local and international restaurants, shops and rooftop cafes. If you visit the vibrant street at night, it comes alive, which makes it the perfect location to watch the world go by outside one of the restaurants with a shisha or coffee.
Trying some local delicacies is a must while exploring Rainbow Street, and two of the most recommended Jordanian dishes are the falafel and shawarma. A restaurant which will give you an authentic Middle Eastern experience is ‘Al-Quds’, an established local business, which has been operating for over half a century. You can grab a falafel sandwich for as little as 1 Jordanian Dinar, making for a great street food snack.
7. Immerse in the cultural side of the city
- Head downtown to visit the souks and King Abdullah Mosque
Downtown in Amman is home to the beautiful ‘King Abdullah Mosque’, an impressive religious site that accommodates up to 10,000 worshippers. Paying a visit to the mosque is a great way of immersing in the culture of Jordan. If you visit the mosque outside of prayer time, you can tour inside, however, just getting a glimpse of the stunning architecture of the building, including its blue dome and multiple minarets is a great free thing to do.
If shopping is your thing, then the Downtown area is abundant with souks (colourful and vibrant markets), selling anything from nuts and vegetables, to souvenirs and clothing. It is very interesting wandering around and experiencing daily life in a Middle Eastern city.
Be warned though, your senses will be on overload, as there is chaos on every corner, but, this is definitely something that every visitor to Amman should experience at least once. You will find the famous ‘Souk Mango’ (one of Amman’s oldest markets) over the road from the Roman Theatre. If you visit a souk in Amman, remember that negotiating a better deal is part of Arab culture, so never take the first price.
There you have it, an action packed day in Amman!
Sticking to this Amman, Jordan itinerary is guaranteed to give you some Arabian delight, as you dip your toe into the local Middle Eastern culture, in a city which has survived many civilisations, furthermore, still has the ancient remains to tell the story.
Amman is certainly a different vibe to other highlights across Jordan, but offers a unique travel experience spanning across its hilly terrain and colourful streets. If you want to gain deeper insight into the stories behind the different landmarks, then it is recommended that you book a private tour with a local. It’s time to head to the Middle East!
In summary, these are the best things to do in one day in Amman Jordan:
- Visit the citadel;
- Learn about the history of the city in the Roman Theatre;
- Browse the Jordan Archeological Museum;
- Explore Rainbow Street;
- Enjoy the art through the street murals and modern galleries;
- Relax with a coffee in a local cafe;
- Experience the downtown rush as you shop for souvenirs.
Tom is a UK based travel blogger who founded Tom Hentys Travel to help others through his experiences and knowledge from his travels. He has visited 38 countries so far and aims to reach 100 during his lifetime. His favourite travel experiences include visiting Petra in Jordan, along with his first solo trip, which was in the Balkans. His favourite country is Thailand. He continues to grow his travel blog through networking and creating content daily.
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