Filled with ruins and archaeological treasures, Jordan is a surprisingly underrated and overlooked destination. A compelling mix of new and old, a contemporary ambiance and fascinating culture, make Amman an exciting place to explore. Here are 8 family-friendly ways to enjoy this Middle Eastern treasure.
Jordan’s capital is one of the Middle East’s most modern cities, as well as one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Known as Jordan’s “white city” because its hills are covered in a jumble of cream-colored limestone houses, Amman dates back more than 5,000 years. Once a Roman capital, a Roman theater, which dates back to 170 AD, sits in the city center and is still used today for events.
Rome from Rome
The Roman ruins at Jerash, about 30 miles north of Amman, are easy to get to and make for a great half-day excursion.
Perched on the highest hill in Amman, the Citadel (Jabal Al-Qalaa) is an open-air museum.
After seeing all of the ancient ruins, kids will be ready to go back to the future at the modern Children’s Museum, which offers a plethora of hands-on exhibits and activities.
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Bob in the Dead Sea
Dramatic and other-worldly beautiful, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth at 1,312 feet below sea level. Take a day trip to the Jordan Valley to see it and bob around in the warm, salty seawater. (Many products come out of the Dead Sea, including its mineral-rich facial clay mask.)
See How the Royals Drive
See the impressive collection of cars and motorcycles owned by the Jordanian Royal Family at the Royal Automobile Museum. Afterward, take a walk around King Hussein Gardens, one of the few green spaces in the city.
Shop the Bazaars
When there are more shopping malls than museums in a city, it’s easy to decide how to spend your time. Pick up Turkish leather, jewelry, handcrafts, hand-embroidered linens, or an authentic Bedouin dress in one of Amman’s traditional souks. For an authentic Middle Eastern experience, go to the Downtown Souk, where you will find stalls and shops selling aromatic spices and Arabic delicacies and an animated fruit and vegetable market.
Explore Rainbow Street
Amble down Rainbow Street and take in the exotic local flavor. This block is filled with antique shops, art galleries, cafés, and bars, including ridiculously delicious falafel favored by locals from Falafel Al Quds Rainbow Street.
Visit Abu Darwish Mosque
The breathtakingly beautiful Abu Darwish Mosque. Covered with distinctive black-and-white checkered patterns, it is situated on the highest point in the city.
Pretend You’re Indiana Jones in Petra
A must-see of Jordan is Petra, just a few hours’ drive from Amman. Take your time and make a day of it. As you enter, the ancient city’s famed carved monuments emerge into view through a narrow gorge. A “lost city” for 500 years, this is one of the world’s most fascinating and thrilling sites.
Experience Wadi Rum in a 4×4
Jordan’s stunning desert is located 186 miles from Amman, and a desert camp and tour through the lunar-like landscape in a 4×4 is an unforgettable experience.
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*Originally posted on travelingmom.com