One of New York City's most iconic buildings, the United Nations headquarters occupies several blocks of Midtown Manhattan near the East River. The complex is comprised of a number buildings, including the domed General Assembly Hall, the Visitor Centre, and the Secretariat Building, a high-rise completed in the early 1950s.
The official headquarters of the United Nations since 1952, the complex is surrounded by sculpture-studded gardens and the international flags of all of the UN’s member states. Although the UN is situated in New York City, its land and buildings (designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer) are under the sole administration of the United Nations—not the city or the US government.
The best way to get a feel for the UN—the organization’s mission and physical campus—is to take one of the 45-minute guided tours that run on weekdays (9:30am to 4:45pm). Highlights include the General Assembly Hall, the Security Council Chamber, the Trusteeship Council Chamber, and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber.
Things to Know Before You Go
- All visitors entering the UN buildings must pass a security check. All visitors age 18 or over must have a valid ID issued by a UN Member State or Observer State.
- For security reasons, children under 5 are not permitted on tours of the UN. All ages can explore the Visitor Centre.
- The Visitors Café at the Visitor Centre serves a variety of international meals, snacks, and drinks.
- Foreign-language tours (including French, Korean, and Spanish) are usually available daily.
How to Get There
The United Nations Headquarters is on First Avenue between 42nd and 48th streets on the East River. The visitors entrance is on First Avenue at 46th Street. The closest subway stop is at Grand Central; walk along E. 42nd Street to First Avenue.
When to Get There
The UN Headquarters is open for tours on weekdays (9:30am to 4:45pm). Visitors who have booked at tour should arrive at least 60 minutes prior to their scheduled tour. Although no guided tours are offered on the weekends, visitors can explore the UN Visitors Centre on weekends from March to December.
The UN for Kids
Kids ages 5 through 12 can tour the UN Headquarters, where a variety of educational programs, including UN4U and the UN Kids Corridor, offer colorful maps, games, and quizzes.