I happened to travel through Jordan during Ramadan this year. The Intrepid tour I was on only spent one night in Amman before taking off for Wadi Rum, and didn’t include any activities in the capital. But since I like cities, and was flying in and out of Amman anyway, I decided to spend a couple of extra days here and do some exploring.

I had read that Ramadan wasn’t an impediment to visiting the city, but found this to be only partly true.

Al-Husseini Mosque in downtown Amman

Al-Husseini Mosque in downtown Amman – didn’t see any tourists going in there …

Ramadan, a one-month religious holiday during which Muslims are expected to abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset, does have a few consequences that affect visitors.

First of all, opening hours of attractions are shorter, usually ending around 3 PM. Secondly, many restaurants are closed for lunch, including museum cafés. Thirdly, the city goes a little crazy in the couple of hours before sunset, as people rush around buying food and preparing for the evening meal.

Still, you can visit most attractions in Amman during Ramadan, as well as find lunch, with a little planning (and this article).

Places to visit and things to do in Amman (even during Ramadan)


The Citadel, located atop the highest hill in Amman, was occupied over thousands of years by succeeding civilizations. You can see ruins from the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods including the Temple of Hercules and Umayyad Palace. There is also an archeological museum on site.

Temple of Hercules at Amman Citadel (what to do in Amman)

Temple of Hercules at Amman Citadel

From the Citadel, you get great views all over Amman as well as the Roman Theatre below.

Tickets for the entire site are 3 JOD. It opens at 9 AM during Ramadan, even on Fridays (the most “holy” day for Muslims). Unless you’re feeling very energetic, you may want to grab a taxi to make the ascent, and walk back down.

Roman Theatre & Folklore Museum

At the end of the walk coming down from the Citadel is the Roman Theatre, which includes a small Folklore Museum (costumes, jewelry, etc.)

Dating from the 2nd century AD, the Roman theatre was fully restored in the late 1950s. It’s the most impressive remnant from the Roman era in Amman and sits 6000 spectators. Live concerts are sometimes held here in the summer.

Tickets for both the theatre and the museum are 2 JOD and you buy them from the small stand all the way across the square. Watch for it after you cross the boulevard (Hashemi Street) coming from the Citadel.

During Ramadan, the Roman Theatre closes at 5 PM (normally 10 PM) but is open on Friday.

Roman Theatre, Amman (what to do in Amman)

Roman Theatre, Amman

Jordan Museum

Lauded as one of the best museums in the Middle East, this modern building contains the oldest-know human statues (9500 years old!), Jordan’s share of the Dead Sea scrolls, and finds from around Petra.

The museum’s Ramadan schedule is 10 AM to 3 PM except Tuesday (normal closing day) and Friday. Tickets are 5 JOD.

Beit Sitti’s cooking class

Should you have a yearning for something beyond archeology and ancient civilizations, or an interest in Middle Eastern food, head straight for Beit Sitti’s cooking class.

Run by three sisters and their staff, Beit Sitti (meaning grandmother’s house) offers half-day 4-course cooking classes and meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner. During Ramadan, the dinner class starts early (mine was at 4 PM) so that staff can head home before sunset. Depending what month Ramadan falls in, time will vary so enquire when you reserve.

The cooking class begins! (cooking class in Amman)

Beit Sitti cooking class

Walking around downtown after sunset

One fun thing to do during Ramadan is strolling around downtown after sunset, when everybody is happy and enjoying dinner al fresco in the balmy night. The streets are decorated with light displays that remind Western visitors of Christmas.

It’s perfectly safe to walk around and take photos, even if you’re solo. This is exactly what I did. As I was waiting to cross the street, a little boy sitting at a patio table called out to me: “Welcome to Jordan!”

Ramadan street decorations in Amman

Ramadan street decorations in Amman

Finding places to eat in Amman during Ramadan

Hotels usually offer breakfast, either as part of the room price or for a small extra charge. Make sure that you’re getting breakfast at your hotel. This will save you a lot of bleary-eyed hungry ramblings through the city. All the hotel breakfasts I had in Jordan were served buffet-style, allowing me to start my day on a full stomach.

As a side note, coffee drinkers will be disappointed as Jordan is most definitely a tea country. You’ll be served tea at every occasion, but will have to do with Nescafe everywhere but at top hotels. A few places (Petra, Madaba) have cafes that serve espresso, but the one place I tried charged 3.5 JOD (US$5) for a lousy cappuccino. Total waste of money.

Lunch will be the most challenging meal during Ramadan. Places that remain open are either fast food joints (fried chicken, burgers, and the like), or fairly pricey tourist restaurants.

Ramadan street decorations in Amman

Time to eat for the locals! The streets fill up.

For dinner, everywhere will be open as usual, but during Ramadan you need to pay attention to sunset time. Either go half-an-hour or so before sunset (if the restaurant is already open), or wait until about half-an-hour after sunset. The reason? Muslims are only allowed to eat after the sun sets, and they’ll be ravenous. Restaurants will be extremely busy with locals eating and wait staff serving them (and perhaps eating themselves) during the hour around sunset.

To help you figure out where to go for food in Amman, here’s a list of restaurants that were open during Ramadan 2019. Keep reading for some popular restaurants and areas that I recommend. Still, you may want to double-check that a restaurant is open by giving them a call before heading out.


A little walk uphill across from the Al-Husseini Mosque will reward you with this large and modern lounge-style restaurant decorated in shades of black, white and red. This place is open for lunch and offers an extensive international menu that includes crepes, salads, pizzas, and pastas, as well as some middle-eastern specialties like flatbreads and grilled meats.

Lunch at Book@Cafe, Amman

Lunch at Book@Cafe, Amman

Wild Jordan Café

Wild Jordan Café serves healthy food from locally sourced ingredients on a terrace with views over downtown and the Citadel. It was open for lunch during Ramadan and offered its full menu until 6:00 PM. However, dinner was limited to a special (and a little pricey) Ramadan set meal.

Hashem Restaurant

Known as the place to get the best falafel in town, this restaurant is popular with locals as well as tourists. I went there for dinner with my Intrepid group on the first night of the tour. Prices are affordable and servings are large. Good for small groups. Not open for lunch.

Dinner at Hashem Restaurant, Amman (what to do in Amman)

Dinner at Hashem Restaurant, Amman

Rainbow Street

This street is especially popular with travellers for its many cafés, restaurants, and souvenir shops. For locals, it’s a place to see and be seen. I visited in late afternoon and it was rather quiet during Ramadan. A few restaurants were open before sunset. I had dinner at a place called Fatatri specializing in “feteer”, a flaky Egyptian layered pastry with various sweet and savoury fillings.

If you’re stuck …

Some convenient stores open during the day, if you fancy a lunch made up of yoghurt, bananas, cookies and potato chips. (Yes, I had my share of those.)

Another idea is to find a room or hotel that gives you access to a fridge and microwave so you can keep leftovers from your dinner and heat them up for lunch!

Final words

You can totally visit Amman (and Jordan as a whole) during Ramadan, but you have to be mindful of altered opening schedules and local customs.

View of Amman from the Citadel (what to do in Amman)

Amman (view from the Citadel)

If you want to be extra mindful, try not to eat or drink in plain sight of locals. That being said, I didn’t find that taking a sip from my water bottle in the 36C heat elicited angry stares or anything. People seemed to take it all in stride.

One advantage of travelling during Ramadan is the lack of tourist crowds. I expected a lot more visitors at Petra to be honest. And in Amman I came across few tourists.

You can check when Ramadan will fall in future years here.

(Note: I was a guest of Intrepid Travels on their Explore Jordan tour. As usual, all opinions are my own.)

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