Darat al Funan
What This cultural hub comprises six historical buildings from the 1920s that have been renovated and devoted to contemporary Arabic art since 1988. The main focus is on the visual arts but there’s occasionally performance art, as well as workshops and visiting artists in residence.
Go for The opportunity to see a restored archaeological site in the garden: a 6th-century Byzantine church built over a Roman temple, and a cave carved out of the rock.
But don’t miss Take a peek at the library in an architecturally extraordinary room reminiscent of Umayyad style; the vaulted ceilings will give you endless design inspo for your home library goals.
See also Dar al-Anda is another artistic example of old and new worlds colliding. Set in converted villas from the 1930s, it displays a collection of modern artworks, including photography, sculpture and paintings.
What Hear the call to prayer resonate across Amman while the smell of roasting whole aubergines wafts from open flames; there’s no more atmospheric place for a cookery class than the courtyard of Beit Sitti. Established by Maria Haddad with her sisters Dina and Tania in 2010, Beit Sitti (Arabic for “my grandmother’s house” – this is their ancestral home) was built to support and employ local women.
Go for The rare opportunity to create and eat a traditional four-course feast while feeling like part of the family.
But don’t miss You can take a class at breakfast or lunch, but dinner is ideal to appreciate the sunset and views from the hilltop of Jabal al-Weibdeh.
See also Rakwet Arab Café is a stylish example of how the modern creative and the ancient meet in the neighbourhood. Enjoy manakish (Levantine pizza) in this café-restaurant-shisha lounge, with local antiques dotted around the heavy wooden architecture, and Arabic poetry adorning the menu.
What Going strong since 1980, the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts holds one of the most significant permanent collections of Middle Eastern contemporary art. Two buildings connected via a sculpture park are home to more than 2,800 works by 1,000 artists.
Go for Exposure to local Jordanian artists as well as others from as far afield as India, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
But don’t miss In the main building, head upstairs to the vibrant Jungle Fever rooftop café – adorned with colourful hand-embroidered cushions from a women’s cooperative – for locally sourced refreshments and views across Jabal al-Weibdeh.
See also Darat Mosaic & Ceramic Art (Nicolas Ghanmah St. 4), just off the arty Paris Circle, for gorgeous designs using Jordanian raw materials, and even the opportunity to make your own gifts.
What This cultural haven, one of the oldest buildings in Jabal al-Weibdeh, was converted into Jordan’s first themed boutique hotel in 2015. You can stay in one of the 14 rooms dedicated to music: one celebrates Sabah Fakhri, the first Arabic singer to enter the Guinness Book of Records; another is named after singer Um Kulthum and has an old radio as a side table.
Go for The Al Shaikh Imam (one of two queen rooms), with its curved furniture and 100 per cent white décor: a tribute to this singer/composer who lost his sight as a child.
But don’t miss The Maestro Bar on the ground floor has concerts and jam sessions, spanning all kinds of genres from jazz and folk to classic Arabic.
See also Shams Al Weibdeh is another rare accommodation option in this neighbourhood, with serviced apartments (good for families) and an outdoor pool.
What One for the serious coffee connoisseurs. Jordan’s first speciality coffee roasters, Dimitri’s pretty much changed the Amman café scene when it launched in 2014 with a custom-built-and-designed roaster. It now has four outlets in Amman but this, the newest, caters to the cool creatives of Jabal al-Weibdeh.
Go for A Nitro Cold Brew will sort you out on a hot day.
But don’t miss There’s a lovely garden at the back of this branch, idyllic for brunch.
See also Rumi is one of Amman’s best-known cafés, where you’ll mingle with artists and designers over tea (choose from Moroccan, Iraqi, Iranian, Bahraini or Yemeni) or coffee. Arrive early to be sure of an outdoor table at this hotspot, very much a place to be seen.