Admittedly, I had no idea what to expect on my first ever trip to the Middle East. Would it be safe traveling alone? Would I like it? After spending three weeks exploring the beautiful country of Jordan, it became one of my all-time favorite destinations. I was astounded by The Dead Sea, impressed by the underwater splendor in Aqaba and mesmerized by the magic of the desert stars in Wadi Rum.
I began my journey through Jordan in the capital city of Amman. As part of a collaboration with the Tourism Board of Jordan, I would be filming YouTube videos of some of the featured 99 Things to Do in Amman. I had an absolute BLAST exploring the city like a local and discovering everything from delicious food to ancient Roman ruins.
Here are my top ten things to do when visiting Amman, Jordan!
– Visit the Citadel –
Located in the center of downtown Amman you’ll find the ancient ruins of the Citadel. The site sits high on a hill and provides full panoramic views of the city.
The most fascinating thing about this historical site is that it’s one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited places dating back to the Neolithic period.
– Arabian Horseback Riding –
I had the opportunity to visit the Arabian Horse Club of Amman and I have to admit it was pretty special. I grew up around horses but never had the chance to ride an Arabian.
Arabians have a reputation for being some of the most good-natured of all breeds. They are also the prized horses of the native desert Bedouin people of Jordan.
– Make Your Own Perfume –
Ever had the chance to choose from hundreds of scents to create your own perfume? It definitely beats shopping in a department store!
In downtown Amman, there are tons of little perfume shops where you can test out musks and floral fragrances and bottle up your favorite. They even have some of the popular name brand perfumes like Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana, but for a fraction of the price.
– Learn to Cook Arabic Food –
This was my favorite activity in Amman! Beit Sitti is an Arabic cooking school hosted in a cozy homestyle setting. You’ll learn to cook delicious Jordanian style food; like hummus, saffron rice and fattoush.
Check out one of my “99 Things to do in Amman” videos highlighting my experience at Beit Sitti!
– Try Sugar Cane Juice –
In New York, you can grab a hot dog on just about every street corner. In Mexico, street tacos are easy to come by. In downtown Amman, be sure to try some of the freshly squeezed sugar cane juice.
The flavor is refreshing and cool, but also a sweet and yummy treat! It’s the perfect afternoon refreshment!
– Relax at a Turkish Bath –
For all you spa lovers, a traditional Turkish bath is quite the experience. My first Turkish bath came as a bit of a surprise as you spend the day in nothing but your birthday suit!
But don’t worry, men and women are separated into different rooms. After a hot jacuzzi, warm and cold saunas and a full body scrub, you leave feeling fresher and softer than a baby’s bum!
– Visit a Spice Shop –
A flavorful and colorful visit to the spice shop is a must! There are countless spices, nuts and other goodies!
A few traditional Arabic spices you may not have heard of are Za’atar and Sumak. Be sure to grab some spices to bring back home to cook with!
– Enjoy a Cup of Arabic Coffee –
My love for coffee does not falter in any particular region. I am a devout café-holic.
Arabic coffee can be distinguished between two types; Turkish and Saudi. In Jordanian tradition, coffee is served in small portions and the host/waiter will continue to serve more until the guest gestures he/she has had enough.
– Indulge in Mezze –
Oh, how I miss mezze! Food is a very important part of Jordanian culture and mezze is the most popular style of eating. Mezze is basically what tapas or appetizers might be to other parts of the world; small plates cover the table before the main courses are served.
Mezze is traditionally an assortment of hummus, fattoush (my personal favorite), falafel, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, olives and pickles. It’s a vegetarian’s dream!
– Visit the Royal Automobile Museum –
Last, but not least, be sure to check out the Royal Automobile Museum in Amman. It showcases the private collection of cars and motorcycles of the late King Hussein from the early 1920’s through present day.
It’s an impressive collection (even if you’re not a big car fan). The museum showcases the automobiles in chronological order and is a fun way to learn about the history of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
As you can see, Amman is full of unique things to see and do! While these are my favorite things to do in the capital, be sure to check out all of the 99 Things to Do in Amman on the Visit Jordan Website.