Amman is built into mountains and hills, and although this means getting around can take a lot of effort, the upside is there are many wonderful points at which to view the sun rise over the city.
Head to Jabal Al Weibdeh, to a spot known by locals as ‘the view’, for a breathtaking sight of downtown, and watch as the city comes to life. Unlike some other viewpoints in the city, there is space for you here to sit on the grass and enjoy the peace of the early morning.
An early morning rise calls for a strong cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast. Luckily for you, Amman can provide both. From ‘the view’ head to Shariah Street in Jabal Al Weibdeh, where you will find many coffee shops serving everything from American to Arabic and Turkish coffees.
For breakfast head to Al Khal Restaurant, where you can enjoy a traditional Arabic breakfast of hummus, foul and falafel among other dishes, all served with sweet tea with mint.
For Art lovers there is a good selection of contemporary art galleries in the Jabal Al Weibdeh area, specialising in Arab and Middle Eastern art. The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts is a must-visit if you want a comprehensive insight into the history of art of the region. A visit to Darat Al Funun, The Khalid Shoman Foundation is also essential. One of the edgier galleries in Amman, Darat Al Funun specialises in the visual arts, and throughout the years has been home to many modern masters, including Adam Henein, Rafa al Nasiri, Marwan and Mona Hatoum.
Darat Al Funun, Nadim Al-Mallah St 13, Amman, Jordan, +962 6 464 3251
From Jabal Al Weibdeh you are just a twenty minute downhill walk from downtown Amman. Full of markets and small shops, downtown Amman is essentially the heart of the city. Here you will find traders selling almost everything you might want, from fruit and vegetables to clothing, books and souvenirs.
The main fruit and vegetable market, also known as the central market, is located just behind the Grand Husseini Mosque, which itself is worth a visit.
By this time you’re likely starting to feel hungry again, in which case there are many, many options for you downtown. Al Quds Restaurant serves traditional dishes such as Mansaf and Maqloube, a must-try for any visitor to Jordan. For anyone with a sweet tooth, Habiba’s Kanafe is an important destination. This traditional warm desert consists of a cheese base, covered with either crispy or soft topping. To complete your food experience downtown, grab a fresh juice from one of the many juice bars serving freshly-made juices from seasonal fruits.
Pay a visit to the Roman Amphitheatre while you’re downtown. The Roman-built pillars lining the road leading up to the theatre date back to the 2nd century. Without barriers or grimacing security guards, you can step back in time and really imagine what this site once looked like.
Habibah, Complex No 5, Al Hashimi St 5, Amman, Jordan, +962 6 462 1333
Originally named Abu Bakr Al Siddiq Street, Rainbow Street is one of the busiest in the city, and a favourite place for locals and tourists to gather in the evenings. It runs from 1st circle through to Mango Street, and is home to many attractions such as rooftops, restaurants and bars.
The Royal Film Commission is also located in this area, who regularly organise film festivals free to the public. Head to their headquarters to see the programme for the day.
For dinner, there is something for every price range in Jabal Amman. If you want to end your night with a fancy dinner then go to Surfa Restaurant, where you will be served traditional food in a beautiful garden setting. For those looking for a quick bite, opt for Shi Shawarma, which serves one of the best chicken or beef shawarma meals in town.
As the night comes to a close you will find many shisha cafes along Rainbow Street, where you can enjoy the lively atmosphere of the local nightlife. Alternatively, Books@cafe has a great drinks selection, from the rooftop enjoy stunning night views of the city.
Sufra Restaurant, Al Rainbow St 26, Amman, Jordan, +962 6 461 1468
Shi Shawarma, Rainbow Street, Amman, Jordan, +962 7 9902 9001
Books@cafe, ‘Umar Ibn Al Khattab, Amman, Jordan, +962 6 465 0457