Amman is an excellent base for seeing the nation and, contrary to common assumption, has a few objects of interest to the tourist. The city is typically well-equipped for visitors, somewhat well-organized, and the inhabitants are quite pleasant.
Although barely visible from the air above Amman, the city has several surprises in store for visitors. If one asks, one may find anything in Amman. Visit Amman’s Roman Amphitheatre, study at Jordan University, or relax at a beautiful hotel. Jordan has a plethora of shopping centers. With new building in Abdali, a high-end visitor may dine at the most upscale restaurant, study at the American University of Jordan, stay in a five-star hotel, or buy in enormous malls all within a few yards of one another in a few years. Much less is being done to appeal to the budget visitor, while (as of early 2011) urban beautification is taking place in the city center (old town), which is being cleaned up and made more pedestrian-friendly.
Amman is undergoing a huge (some would say reckless) transformation from a tranquil town to a busy city, some of whose neighborhoods seem hell-bent on imitating Dubai. Amman’s roads have a reputation for being steep and narrow in some of the city’s less developed areas, although the city now boasts state-of-the-art motorways and paved avenues. The steep slope and high traffic continue to make it difficult for walkers and the occasional bike. The city is dotted with new resorts and hotels, and there is much for visitors to see and do. Use Amman as a jumping-off point for trips to adjacent Jordanian towns and communities.
Amman is regarded as one of the Arab world’s most liberal and westernized towns. The city has grown in popularity with Western expats and college students seeking to live, study, or work in the Middle East or the Arab world in general.
The city’s culinary culture has evolved beyond shawerma shops and falafel places to include a wide range of prominent western restaurants and fast-food outlets, including Asian fusion restaurants, French bistros, and Italian trattorias. Among Western expats and Persian Gulf visitors, the city has become known for its exquisite eating scene.
During the 2000s, Amman saw the development of many large shopping malls, including the Mecca Mall, Abdoun Mall, City Mall, Al-Baraka Mall, Taj Mall, Zara Shopping Center, Avenue Mall, and Abdali Mall in Al Abdali (under construction).
Wakalat Street (“Agencies Street”) is Amman’s first pedestrian-only street and is home to a plethora of name-brand clothing stores. The Sweifieh neighborhood is considered Amman’s primary retail district.
Amman now has nightclubs, music bars, and shisha lounges, transforming the city’s reputation as the conservative capital of the monarchy. Jordan’s youthful population is shaping the country’s booming new nightlife culture. In addition to the many drinking and dancing establishments on the social circuit of the city’s wealthy population, Amman features cultural entertainment events such as the annual Amman Summer Festival. Souk Jara is a Jordanian annual weekly flea market that takes place every Friday throughout the summer. Abdoun Circle is a significant hub of the city’s nightlife, with clubs strictly adhering to a “couples only” policy. Sweifieh is Amman’s unofficial red-light district, housing the majority of the city’s nightclubs, pubs, strip-clubs, massage parlors, and other adult entertainment facilities. Many pubs and bars can be found in Jabal Amman and Jabal al-Weibdeh, making the region famous among bar hoppers.
Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and supermarkets all sell alcohol.
There are several nightclubs and pubs across the city, particularly in West Amman. As of 2011, Jordan has 77 registered nightclubs (excluding bars and pubs), the majority of which were in Amman. In Amman, there are 222 licensed liquor outlets.