Shopping in Amman
Amman has numerous antique dealers littered throughout the city. Those located in the western parts of the city will most likely be serviced by those with a competent grasp of the English language, but you run the risk of the items being a bit overpriced. For the more adventurous, some of the best tourist shopping can be done in downtown Amman (the Balad). Shopping in the Balad has a more primitive feel with shop after shop filled with wares and prices not always clearly marked and extremely negotiable.
Some interesting, original souvenir items that one may consider taking home are:
- a keffiyeh, the traditional checkered headpiece of Jordanian men
- an antique brass tea/coffee pot, distinctly Middle Eastern with its artistic etching and curved spout
- olive wood carvings of various objects or figures can be purchase nearly everywhere
- hand-crafted Jordanian daggers
- hand-made Bedouin-style embroidered clothing
For the coffee lover, Amman's Starbucks locations (Swefieh, Abdoun, Taj Mall, City Mall, Mecca Mall) offer various mugs, tumblers, and to-go cups with distinctive Jordanian and Middle Eastern flair.
Those who crave gourmet coffee have a number of choices along Rainbow St. off of First Circle in Jabal Amman with other shops sprinkled throughout the city.
Alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, liquor, etc.), can be purchased in liquor stores across the city. Most are distinguishable by an advertisement for Amstel or some like beverage outside. There are also bars up and down Rainbow St. in Jabal Amman and throughout Abdoun. Drinking age is 18 but some bars/cafes might card you and admit 21+ customers only.
- The Balad An area of extreme frenzy 8AM-8PM. Take a walk through the narrow alleyways and corners and negotiate (haggle) the price with friendly vendors. A maze of streets with everything from a fruit market to spices, souvenirs, clothes, hardware. Drink a cool glass of Sugar Cane juice, watch the talented young men make artistic sand designs inside the glass bottles, go and smoke a shisha (hubbly bubbly) in any of the numerous street cafes. Enjoy some tasty falafel in the famous Hashem cafe, enjoy a mansaf dish at Jerusalem restaurant or a nice slice of tasty Kanafe from Habibeh sweets. Busy crowded streets with the real taste of Jordan. Visit the Husseini Mosque, Darwish Mosque, Roman Theatre, Citadel, spice markets, or if adventurous have a wander around the Friday Bird and animal market and the second hand market on a Friday morning. Walk to Rainbow street and enjoy a different side of Amman. Visit the Duke of Mukhyber's residence on the main street. Lot's of small cafes and roof terraces to enjoy the atmosphere. Visit the new Museum or catch a music recital or performance at the Hussain Culture Centre. Lot's to do in Wastel Ballad - Downtown Amman.
- Souk - Afghani - Yemeni - and lots of others
- Malls - City Mall is currently Jordan's biggest shopping mall. All the usual international brands are present. Mecca Mall is another big mall on Mecca Street (not far—about a 15-minute walk—from the City Mall; there's an ACE Hardware store). Baraka Mall- Sweifiyeh for those seeking indulgence and the odd $500 to spare - all designer names. Majdi Mall for those with the common feel - located near University of Jordan towards Sweileh.
- Wakalat Street A new street with big western stores. Mostly clothes, furniture, sport. A traffic free street with open areas for sitting and walking.
- Sharia Rainbow - Rainbow Street - A cobblestone street just down from First Circle that is populated with small antique stores, clothing, restaurants, sheesha tea shops and the well-known Falafel al-Quds, reputedly the "best" Falafel in the Middle East (some Saudi's even financed the opening of one in Saudi Arabia). Further down the street you will find a small park that overlooks the city. Further still on a side street, during the warmer months, is a side-walk flea market. At the end of this street and down some stairs you will find Wild Jordan.