When it comes to Jordan, visitors typically venture outside the country’s capital city of Amman and downtown Amman to see the big attractions like Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea.
However, with its markets, restaurants, and historical sites, there are many fun things to do in Amman and quite a few family-friendly attractions worth visiting.
While not rich in green space, Amman does have some nice parks, historical sites, and fun activities. For even more Amman activities for kids, broaden your horizon by heading just a little bit outside of the city to do things like horseback riding, ancient ruins, or even visit a big-game reserve.
Jordan is also a safe and tourist-friendly destination, and in general, Jordanians are very warm and friendly with children, which is a definite plus.
Things to Know Before Visiting Amman
Best Time to Visit Amman
We recommend visiting Amman attractions in spring and autumn when the weather is the most pleasant. The capital has some nice days in summer, but it gets hot with highs of around 32°C.
During winter, Amman will typically be colder than the rest of the country, with temperatures around 12°C. The capital also gets a lot of rain, wind, and even snow. If you travel here during winter, it’s best to bring appropriate clothing with you, like winter coats, scarf, hats, and decent waterproof shoes. Don’t forget to bring or buy an umbrella!
How to Get Around Amman with Kids
Amman, a city built upon many hills, is not pedestrian-friendly. It’s cumbersome, even difficult to walk around it with kids and using a stroller is not recommended. Sidewalks are often poor to impassable, and many are blocked with trash. It’s also tricky for small children (and adults) to handle all the inclines.
Traffic can be bad in Amman, so it’s best to avoid driving while in the city proper. Parking can also be tricky. The easiest way to get around Amman is by taxi or Uber but driving a car outside the city is easier.
We recommend if you’ll be splitting your time between Amman and the highlights of southern Jordan, hire your car only after you’ve finished in Amman and use taxis/Uber within the city.
You can book a pick-up in advance from Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) to the city centre using driver services such as Welcome Pick Ups.
10 Things To Do in Amman with Kids
From historical places of interest to letting kids be kids, these are the top attractions in Amman you should consider when visiting with kids:
1. Visit Jebel al-Qal’a (Amman Citadel)
Known as the “Amman Citadel” to tourists, this is one of Amman’s most recognizable landmarks and most popular places to visit in Amman. Although the site was settled as far back as 18,000 years ago, much of the evidence of previous inhabitants was destroyed by the Romans, whose impressive ruins, which contain the Umayyad Palace and the Temple of Hercules, still remain.
Kids can walk freely around here, more so than in the city. It also offers great views and some greenery.
Located atop a hill, you can walk up it to the citadel or take steps from the Roman Theatre across the street. The easiest way is to take a taxi directly to the site.
2. Visit the Roman Theatre
Across the street from the Amman Citadel, you will find the magnificent Roman Theatre. Impressively restored, it can seat 6,000. It’s beautiful for photos, especially earlier in the morning or at dusk, and kids will have fun playing with the acoustics and pretending they’re opera singers or rock stars. The Audium, a smaller theatre, is to the right of the stage.
3.Visit the Children’s Museum Jordan
This museum offers a learn-through-play experience with 185 interactive indoor and outdoor exhibits. There is an art studio, a library, a secret garden and a tinker lab, in addition to an outdoor theatre and play spaces, a pretend city to explore, and a replica of an aeroplane. There’s also a closed play area for babies.
4. Go to the Zoo
The Jordan Zoo has a large number of exotic animals to see, plus rides and some green space. There’s also a huge park next to the zoo.
5. Get Lost in Amman’s Souqs
For a bustling Middle Eastern market experience, visit the Souq Mango, where you can wander past dozens of shops selling anything from perfume to kitchenware and nearly anything in between. It’s a great place to find traditional products.
Nearby is the Souq al Khodra, a small market filled with stands of spice piles, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Souq Jara is an open-air market featuring mostly handicrafts and artwork by local businessmen. Souq Jara is also near the famous Rainbow Street, which is known for its restaurants and bars.
For more shopping, try The Boulevard, a pedestrian-friendly street that runs from Abdali Mall to the Rotana hotel. Safe for the little ones, there are lots of cafes and restaurants. Often events like a Christmas market, a book market and other seasonal events often take place on this street as well.
6. Check out a Park
While not an overly green city, there are some delightful parks in Amman. Here are a few of note:
Al Hussein Public Park: A huge outdoor space for walking or playing soccer, or having a picnic.
Zahran Park: A simple park and botanical garden good for a picnic, a walk, or a bike ride. Off Zahran Street, close to the Austrian embassy.
Prince Hashem Bird Garden: A park that’s popular with locals, this park has a playground and an aviary of various birds, both exotic and common, to observe.
Housing Bank Park/Garden: This is a huge garden with trees, lots of green grass and places to sit. There are see-saws, swings, slides and climbing landscapes. There are shade protection sails and nearby a number of restaurants.
Haya Cultural Centre Playground: This is a large outdoor playground with a theatre. There is also an indoor facility for indoor activities like art and music classes.
7. Pick an indoor play area
Amman has no shortage of indoor play areas for kids and some are incredibly well done. From trampolines to ball pits to swing sets, your kids will have no shortage of options if you want to find somewhere to escape the rain or the sweltering heat. Here are a few:
World of Wonder: This place has both indoor and outdoor playgrounds with different activities and themes. There are rooms for sand play, painting, building with Lego, dancing and music, and a play area for toddlers. There are also trampolines, a treehouse, a waterfall, a climbing wall, swings, slides, and a playhouse.
Yipee: This is a soft play area for kids and toddlers in Abdali Mall, which features a transparent trampoline over water.
Gravity Trampoline Park: An indoor play area inside Mecca Mall with more than 100 trampolines for all ages, from ages three and up. There is also a dodgeball court, a ropes course, and a ball pit.
Brickshouse Amman: Also in Mecca Mall, this place has three huge LEGO pits, learning games on the walls, and a soft play area with ball pit and slides.
8. Go Climbing
Climbat is an indoor climbing gym with more than 200 routes, making it one of the largest—if not the largest—climbing gym in the Middle East. Can choose several different walls and climbing routes for ages 4 and above. There are smaller walls for kids under age 5.
9. Go Horseback Riding
You will have to go about 15-20 minutes by car outside of Amman for this one, but there are some options:
Alia Al Assaf Academy: A Dutch-owned horseback riding academy. Located about 15-20 minutes outside the city in an area called GreenLand, in Naur between Amman and Madaba. Offers lessons for all levels starting from very young children to more advanced.
Arabian Horse Club: About 15 minutes south of Amman. Stalls, a horse jumping court, terraces for coffee or Shisha and rides for children, any level.
The Forest Park: Located about 30 minutes north of Amman, this park has a zip line, and a playground in addition to horseback riding.
10. Visit the Al-Ma’wa Reserve:
This big-game rescue facility is where animals rescued from private zoos and illegal trade are given room to roam. Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife was established in 2011 through a partnership between the Princess Alia Foundation and Four Paws to provide a regional solution for rescued wildlife.
Taking a tour is mandatory if you visit, and there’s quite a bit of walking involved. There’s also a playground at the Visitor’s Centre.
Day Trip to Jerash
A well-trodden spot on the tourist trail, Jerash is about one hour outside Amman. These Roman ruins are massive and impressive, from its collonaded streets to theatres to the Hadrian’s Gate, with ongoing excavation.
Kids will love exploring these hidden corners as the whole family learns more about history – it is one of the best-preserved Roman cities outside of Europe.
To avoid driving in Amman, we recommend you take a driver and guide with you from Amman to Jerash to make the most of the experience. There are several reputable Jordanian tour companies that can help you with this.
Family-Friendly Restaurants in Amman
Family dining in Amman is easy to come by, here are some top suggestions:
Hashem: One of the most famous restaurants in Jordan, if not the most famous. This restaurant has been open for more than 80 years. It features a casual, street-food dining style.
Mijana: This restaurant also has a play area for kids with the small ball put and swings. It is located right off Rainbow Street and features a hidden garden terrace with typical Levantine cuisine and shisha.
Wild Centre Jordan: Superb views of Jordan and a family-friendly cafe area, ideal for giving the kids some space to play while admiring Old Amman and enjoying fresh seasonal dishes.
Tal Alrumman Restaurant: This is a 35-drive out of Amman toward Jerash. The restaurant has a huge outdoor and indoor seating area with different terraces with nice views. There’s a pool (for an additional fee) and a playground. Also, a souvenir/furniture and decoration store.
Where to Stay in Amman With Kids
Amman’s Queen Alia International airport is about 30 km from the city centre, and it takes less than an hour to get from the airport to the downtown.
The airport offers a Sariyah shuttle bus, which leaves from the Arrivals Hall at the airport and makes a few scheduled stops in downtown Amman. As we described above, it’s also easy to take a taxi or transfer service from the airport into the city.
A sprawling, modern capital, Amman has several distinct neighbourhoods where you can find a range of accommodations, from apartment rentals to hostels, in a range of budgets. The following neighbourhoods are recommended for families who want to stay in Amman.
The neighbourhood of Shumaysani (aka Shmeisani) in the city centre is a great place for families as it’s close to most of the major attractions but outside the old city, making it easier to find more affordable accommodations.
Shumaysani is a more affordable area and the commercial heart of Amman, so there’s a wide array of shopping. A mix of historical and modern architecture, it’s also a fairly easy part of the city to walk around as there are many cafes and nice restaurants serving various cuisines.
Family Hotels to try in Shumaysani area:
- Amman Marriott Hotel – Superb 5* option if you want pools, restaurants and the works in a great location
- Ambassador, a Boutique Hotel – friendly 4* option with great amenities and suite room options
- AlQasr Metropole Hotel – Comfortable 4* with modern rooms, many with great city views and on-site dining
Try this search tool for a wide range of accommodation options in Amman, including apartment stays and hotels near the city centre.
Al Madinah, also known as Old Town, is the historic centre of Amman and where you will find most of the city’s tourist attractions like the Roman Theatre and the Citadel. It’s a great base for exploring the rest of the city, and there are lots of souqs, malls, restaurants and pubs, and hotels in the area.
Family Hotels to Try in Old Town Amman:
- Arab Tower Hotel – 2* in a superb location that delivers value if you’re after triple rooms and suites suitable for larger families
- Sandra Hotel – Superb value option, small rooms but clean and convenient location
- Nomads Hotel – fun hybrid hotel/hostel in a great location; larger families can opt to book a private bunk room
Al Swaifyeh (aka Al Swaifyeh) in the west of the city is the modern centre of Amman and is known particularly for its nightlife. Many of the shops are owned and operated by local artisans. In the centre, there is a pedestrian zone that contains many luxury shops, cafes and restaurants.
Wakalat Street, which is a pedestrian street by day and a big spot for nightlife, is located in this neighbourhood. You are more likely to find hotel apartments in this modern area of the city.
Family Hotels to Try in Al Swaifyeh
- Jaharet Alswefiah Hotel Suites – 4* excellent for longer stays with kitchens and washing facilities
- Comfort Hotel Suites – 3* good value family apartments with kitchenettes and attached to Queen Vic pub
- Khuttar Apartment (previously Gulf Gate) – 3* modern apartments with 2-bedroom options
Whilst many on a tight itinerary will skip the bustle of Amman in favour of the more famous sites to the south, we believe you should schedule at least a few nights in Amman.
Before you go! More guides that may help you plan the best trip to Jordan
When planning a family trip to Jordan, you may also want to see our guides to:
- The do’s and don’ts of visiting the Dead Sea with kids
- Where to find the best family-friendly camps in Wadi Rum
- 5-Day highlights itinerary – see Jordan on a long weekend!
- How to dress in Jordan – a tourist guide for men, women and children
Jordan Guide Book
For a first-timer looking to visit Jordan, we can highly recommend you download the Step Into Jordan Guide & Itineraries.
This handy digital guide is just $19.99USD and includes:
- An interactive downloadable map
- 36 detailed pages of planning guidance
- Multiple suggested itineraries (10, 7 and 3 days)
- Tips from an expert
- Accommodation recommendations
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