Amman is the capital city of Jordan, and an important cultural destination for history buffs. Jordan is known for its ancient attractions, and whilst most of them are outside Amman, it is nevertheless a fantastic base to explore them from. The bustling city centre is packed with noisy markets, vibrant nightlife, and gorgeous culinary destinations.
The city has undergone a massive transition, and over the last decade has become a sprawling metropolis which many visitors consider quite haphazard. Hotels are dotted all around the city, so it’s important to get an idea of what kind of neighborhood you’d like to stay in before you arrive.
That’s where we come in! We’ve combined our personal experience with hints and tips from locals and travel experts to bring you the lowdown on the best places to stay in Amman. Whether you’re here for history, culture or nightlife, we’ve got you sorted.
So let’s dive right in!
Where to Stay in Amman
Contemporary Home in Amman: J10
This quirky little apartment in the heart of Shumaysani comes with stylish interiors and an unbeatable location. You’ll find some great budget-friendly restaurants and bars right on your doorstep. The flat sleeps up to 6 guests in 3 bedrooms and comes with all the comforts of home. Plus, the rooftop comes with a private terrace.
Charming Hostel in Amman: The Wanderers
Jordan is one of the most expensive countries in the Middle East, so those traveling on a budget will need to watch their spending here. Thankfully, there are some great hostels to help save you some cash. The Wanderers Hostel is our top pick, as it offers super comfy beds to give a place to rest your head at night and wake up fully recharged. It also comes with incredible reviews, so you can be assured of a fantastic visit.
Luxury Hotel in Amman: Bristol Hotel
This lavish 5-star hotel in the heart of Amman is located within the main nightlife district. Free parking and Wifi is available to guests, and an extensive breakfast is served every morning. The hotel also has a pool, gym, and six onsite restaurants and bars.
Like many cities across the world, Amman sits on a series of hills. The Citadel is perched on top of the central hill, with Al Madinah spreading out from around it. This is the historic centre of the city, and where you will find some of the oldest attractions.
Just northwest of Al Madinah, Shumaysani is the main transition point of the city. On one side you’ll find historic architecture, on the other you’ll discover some more modern parts of the city. This is actually a major shopping district featuring international brands.
In the west end of the city, Al Swaifyeh (also known simply as Swefieh) is another major shopping hub in Amman. The shops in Al Swaifyeh are known for their high quality, with many of them owned and operated by local artisans.
Top 3 Neighborhoods to Stay in Amman
Amman is an incredibly complex city, so you’ll need to spend some time getting to understand it. What was once a small village has grown hugely in the past decade and is now a sprawling hub in the heart of the Middle East. Whilst neighborhoods are distinct, they are all like small cities in their own right, and each has its own unique flavour.
Al Madinah, also known as the Old Town, is the historic centre of Amman. For first time visitors, this is where you’ll find many of the ancient attractions. It makes a great base for exploring the rest of the city, and there are plenty of hotels available. Markets and restaurants are sprawled right across Al Madinah, giving you a unique insight into the city’s culture.
Shumaysani is considered the commercial heart of the city, and perfectly blends the old with the new. It’s actually one of the most affordable neighborhoods in the city, although it’s also a major shopping destination for locals. You’ll find some great deals on accommodation here, alongside some favourable dining options.
Al Swaifyeh is the modern center of Amman. For those interested in nightlife, this is the most bustling part of the city in the evenings. Whether you want to check out clubs, shisha bars or anything in between, you’ll be sure to find it here.
Still not quite decided? Don’t worry, we know it’s not the easiest decision to make. We’ve got more extensive guides to each neighborhood below to help you make up your mind. We’ve even included our favorite accommodation and activities in each to make planning your trip a breeze.
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Amman sits on a series of hills. The Citadel is perched on top of the central hill, with Al Madinah spreading out from around it. This is the historic centre of the city, and where you will find some of the oldest attractions in Jordan. Stonework from the Umayyad Palace and Roman ruins lie next to each other in this fascinating neighborhood.
For first time visitors, this is the best place to get your bearings. It’s where you can really get a feel for the city, and where many of the excursions from Jordan depart from. You’ll also find bustling souks around every corner, perfect for getting to experience the city like a local. Just make sure you’re prepared to haggle!
This super modern apartment is great if you don’t want to compromise on home comforts. The flat sleeps three guests, and floor to ceiling windows give you stunning sunrise views across the city every morning. It is operated by Nu Apartments, a family-run holiday accommodation company across the city. All of their properties come with 5-star reviews, thanks to the unbeatable guest service.
Budget Friendly Hostel in Al Madinah: The Cabin Hostel
You don’t have to break the bank to stay in Amman. The Cabin Hostel offers budget friendly accommodation, whilst still giving guests some additional privacy with pod-style bunks. Right in the heart of the Old Town, you’ll have an endless choice of bars, restaurants, and cafés right on your doorstep. There’s also a small terrace where you can socialise with other guests.
Scenic Hotel in Al Madinah: The House Boutique Suites
This stunning 5-star hotel is a bit of a splurge, but well worth the money if you want to stay centrally. The Amman Chamber of Industry is close by making it popular with business travellers, however leisure travellers will also find themselves close to bustling markets. The on-site restaurant offers a complimentary buffet every morning, and all guests can enjoy free Wifi and parking.
Things to See and Do in Al Madinah:
- The streets of Al Madinah can get a little bit confusing to foreign visitors – get some help from a local guide in this highly rated tour of the Old Town
- You can learn about an alternative side of Amman – from street art and souks to Palestinian refugee camps – in this enlightening tour through the city centre
- The Citadel is the ancient heart of the city, containing attractions such as the Umayyad Palace, the Temple of Hercules, and the Byzantine Church
- King Abdullah Mosque might be more modern (dating back to 1989), but this huge blue-domed mosque is a major site of worship for the city’s locals
2. Shumaysani – Where to Stay in Amman on a Budget
Just northwest of Al Madinah, Shumaysani is the main transition point of the city. On one side you’ll find historic architecture, while on the other you’ll discover modern parts of the city. This is actually a major shopping district featuring international brands, so can get quite chaotic during the day.
Also known as Shmeisani, this neighborhood is the perfect destination for budget travellers. The hotels here are quite new, but their distance from the historic centre means you can find some fantastic deals. Shmeisani is also a super multicultural neighborhood, where you can rub shoulders with the local expat communities.
Located right on the rooftop, you won’t get much better views than those from this apartment. Sleeping up to six guests, this is our top budget pick for families traveling to Jordan. With a private roof terrace and a separate balcony area, you’ll get to enjoy both the sunrise and the sunset. There are plenty of parks, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance.
Cozy Studio in Shumaysani: Mecca Street
With only one bedroom, this is a better option for solo travellers and couples visiting Amman on a budget. The kitchen is quite small, but perfect for preparing a quick breakfast in the morning to enjoy as you admire the city centre views.
Affordable Hotel in Shumaysani: Al Kindi Hotel
This 3-star hotel packs a mighty punch when it comes to guest service and modern facilities. They provide a complimentary breakfast every morning, helping to save you even more cash during your stay. Located on the 5th Circle, you’ll be a stone’s throw away from some of the most popular restaurants in the city.
Things to See and Do in Shumaysani:
- This wine experience is a unique way to learn about the history of Amman and its people
- Starting from Shumaysani, this excursion will take you out to the local forest where you can cook burgers over a grill and enjoy views of the city
- The New Jordan Museum is a recently built attraction that features artifacts from across the country – including from the ancient city of Petra
- City Mall is the main shopping hub in the area where you will find international brands alongside local favorites
3. Al Swaifyeh – Best Area in Amman for Nightlife
In the west end of the city, Al Swaifyeh (also known simply as Swefieh) is another shopping hub in Amman. The shops in Al Swaifyeh are known for their high quality, with many of them owned and operated by local artisans. The neighborhood was mostly built during the city’s expansion, so is one for those that prefer more modern areas.
Whilst it’s a bustling area by day, everything kicks up a notch at sunset. This neighborhood is the nightlife capital of Jordan, with many people visiting from all over the country. Al Swaifyeh is best known for its upscale bars, but you can also find some more traditional offerings dotted around the place.
Shopaholics will love this cute little apartment right next to the Galleria Mall, Amman’s largest retail destination. The apartment itself is small but cosy, sleeping up to two guests. It’s pretty affordable, so you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank.
Spacious Hideaway in Al Swaifyeh: 7th Circle
Amman’s 7th Circle is home to the city’s most iconic nightlife destinations. Party-goers staying here will have everything they need right on the doorstep. It’s a rooftop apartment, giving you marvellous views to wake up to every morning (or afternoon if you’ve been partying hard). There are also some great bakeries in the area, perfect for clearing up that killer hangover.
Decadent Hotel in Al Swaifyeh: Bristol Hotel
This stunning 5-star hotel really has it all. The lavish breakfast offered every morning comes with typical Jordanian cuisine, as well as some Western classics. Staying here, you’re only a hop, skip and a jump away from the main shopping district and some of the best nightlife in the city. We also love the swimming pool that comes with marvellous city views.
Things to See and Do in Al Swaifyeh:
- Jordan has an ancient and rich culinary tradition – learn how to make some core dishes in this delectable cooking experience with a local chef
- Wakalat Street is a pedestrianised shopping street by day – and a bustling nightlife hub in the evenings
- Baraka Mall is known for high quality local brands, as well as electronic stores offering heavy discounts
- Galleria Mall is a little more understated – with some great furniture and souvenir stores as well as local food stalls
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Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Amman
Amman is a fascinating city that makes a perfect base for exploring the awe-inspiring historic attractions of Jordan. It’s also a great destination in its own right, with bustling markets, vibrant nightlife and some intriguing history. Over recent years, Jordan as a whole has become one of the most popular and safe destinations in the Middle East.
If we had to pick one area that really stood out for us, it would be Shumaysani. This area is a great blend between old and new, offering historic charm and modern attractions that showcase everything the city has to offer. It’s also well connected to both Al Madinah and Al Swaifyeh, so you’ll never be too far from those neighborhoods either.
Ultimately, the best place for you really depends on what you want to get out of your trip. If you prefer modern style and shopping then Al Swaifyeh is the place for you, but if you would rather embed yourself in Jordanian traditions, then look no further than Al Madinah. We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options for your upcoming trip to Amman.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
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Thanks for reading – that was fun! 😀
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