I Heart My City: Zain’s Amman

Welcome back to another Wednesday edition of I Heart My City. Today’s insider guide to Amman, Jordan comes courtesy of our very own Director of Online Content Development, Zain Habboo, a proud Jordanian who travels back to the homeland at least once a year to visit family and friends. Check out Zain’s favorite spots in Amman, then tell us what you love about the capital city in the comments section below.

Amman is My City

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is Rainbow Street for local flavor, boutiques, and the “shisha” café vibe.

When I crave shawarma I always go to Cafeteria Reem.

To escape the noise I head to the Citadel.

If I want to shop I go to Aydi, an amazing store carrying the best artisanal textiles and goods.

For complete quiet, I can drive to Maqawir (old castle outside of the city).

If you come to my city, get your picture taken with one of the soldiers who guard the Queen Mother’s Palace on Zahran Street.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from Azka Dinya it has to be Kufta bi Tahiniah.

Za’tari Bazaar is my one-stop shop for great tchotchkes.

Locals know to skip hotel buffets and check out Hashim’s instead.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to Souq Jara (at the first circle).

For a huge splurge I go to Lama Hourani for jewelry.

City View, Amman (Photo: Farah Salah/My Shot)


Photo opps in my city include downtown views and the best vantage points are from the balcony of the Soap House.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be Harrison Ford.

The most random thing about my city is sheep wandering across major highways!

My city has the most flirtatious men.

My city has the most creative women.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves using the “Bike Rush” service and cycling all over the city.

My city’s best museum is the Jordan Archaeological Museum.

My favorite jogging/walking route is when I join the Amman “Fast Walk” group and walk around the city at night.

For a night of dancing, go to Canteloupe. Or, for live music, check out Kan Zaman.

Hashim’s or Al Dawwaq is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read Go magazine (Amman’s Time Out).

You can tell a lot about my city from people’s generosity and hospitality.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they offer to feed you, drive you wherever you need to go, or give you copious amounts of hot mint tea!

Temple of Hercules, Amman (Photo: Danielle Courtenay/My Shot)


In the winter you should go to the Six Senses Spa in Ma’in (hot springs).

In the spring you should pack a picnic and visit the Hellenistic site known as Iraq Al Amir.

In the summer you should camp overnight at the new eco lodge in Wadi Feynan.

In the fall you should visit the Dead Sea.

A hidden gem in my city is Al Quds Falafel shop on Rainbow Street (fun fact: this was the late King Hussein’s favorite sandwich place!).

For a great breakfast joint try Za’tar U Zeit.

Don’t miss the Jordan festival in the summer (most events are held in Jerash).

Just outside my city, you can visit Mount Nebo.

The best way to see my city is on foot.

If my city were a pet it would be a sheep (remember, we are Bedouins!!).

If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live in Zabda overlooking the Jordan Valley.

The best book about my city is Old Houses of Jordan.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is Hashimi Hashimi.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss the Children’s Museum.

Sheep crossing the street could only happen in my city.

My city should be featured on your cover or website because it’s the friendliest city in the world.

What you love about Amman? Leave the details in the comments section below.

Want to see your city on Intelligent Travel? Copy and paste our list of fill-in-the-blank questions into an e-mail, fill in your answers, and send your responses (with any photos, videos or links) to IntelligentTravel@ngs.org.


[Jordan Guide]

[Jordan Photos]

Photo: Daniel Lopez/My Shot








  1. […] Zain’s Amman (Jordan):  The Jordan Archaeological Museum. […]

  2. […] Zain’s Amman (Jordan):  The Jordan Archaeological Museum. […]

  3. […] Zain’s Amman (Jordan): Camp overnight at the new ecolodge in Wadi Feynan. […]

  4. jehad aliweiwi
    January 11, 2012, 11:52 am

    I love Eco-Tourism Cafe (Balat El Rasheed across from the Arab Bank, Downtown). lovely balcony delicious tea and shisha. love the flags too. The view is matchless.

  5. Marisa G.
    January 10, 2012, 11:16 am

    We (my son and I )visit Jordan last may. The people there are incredible friendly. I love the Citadel, and outside the city, I love the beauty of Wadi Mujib.

  6. karey m.
    northern virginia
    January 5, 2012, 3:07 pm

    brilliant! i still say to anyone who will listen…the only place i’ve ever felt truly at home was in amman.

    {and the only place i’ve ever felt truly at home AND out-of-this-world pampered? the six senses in ma’in. it is one of jordan’s best secrets, yes?}

    well done. loved reading this.

  7. Sara
    Amman, Jordan
    January 5, 2012, 10:53 am

    Lovely! I’m from Jordan. :)

  8. Sarra Ghazi
    January 5, 2012, 1:55 am

    Not only do the sheep stop traffic on major highways – I have witnessed the more ‘traffic-consious herds use the pedestrian bridge over the airport road! This will bring a smile to the face of any irate driver! Only in Amman:)

  9. zach heise
    madison, wisconsin
    January 4, 2012, 11:00 pm

    Now, I’m not too biased, but after living in Amman for over two solid years, I’d have to say that Cycling Jordan offers the best biking experience in Jordan. Cyclists in Feb and March should check out the Dead2Red bike or run relay between the dead sea and red sea.

    For a —really— local taste of Amman, head down into the bellad section of town early on a Friday morning to see the massive souq market that sprawls for blocks. I got a new(ish?) Pair of sketchers there for 7 dinar!

  10. Nadim
    January 4, 2012, 3:24 pm

    gr8 stuff ! will I love amman so much and u did a pretty gd job capturing it in your piece :)