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3 United Nations Plaza, nr. First Ave. (Midtown East)
New York, NY
(1) 212-963-8687 | www.un.org
ATTRACTIONInternational Governmental Organization
HOURS/TIMESGuided Tours: Mon.-Fri.: 9:45am-4:45pm; Audio Tours: Mon.-Fri.: 9:45am-4:45pm; Sat.-Sun.: 10:00am-4:15pm
PRICE (TOURS (GUIDED AND AUDIO); LOBBY EXHIBITS)Tours: Adults: USD 16; Seniors (60+) and Students: USD 11; Youth (5-12): USD 9; Young Children (Under 5): Not Admitted; Lobby Exhibits: Free
RESERVE IN ADVANCEYes - book online for guided tours in English and audio tours
WAIT TIME WITHOUT RESERVATION10 min.-2 hours
HIGHLIGHTSGeneral Assembly Hall; disarmament exhibit; gifts from member nations
SUBWAYGrand Central-42nd St. (4, 5, 6, 7, S)
These six blocks of international territory tucked in New York’s Midtown house a striking complex of buildings designed by greats like Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer. The impressive campus is like a city unto itself, with meeting facilities where the world’s leaders regularly convene, an international fire brigade, postal service, and security service collectively controlled by 193 nations. 45-minute tours led by an elite corps of multilingual guides have been running since the buildings opened in 1952, and, despite tighter security, the itinerary remains much the same today as it’s always been. Goodies include a visit to the General Assembly Hall and Security Council chambers, a peek at exotic gifts from member nations (including portraits of every UN General Secretary courtesy of Iran, an ivory carving from China, and a replica of a Royal Thai barge), and a moving disarmament exhibit that includes wreckage from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Unfortnately for those who opt out of the tour, the only accessible attractions are now the gift shop and some rather dinky free exhibits.
GO HERE WITH
Politics buffs; architecture aficionados; friends; family
WHY WE LIKE IT
The tours are actually really informative, covering everything from the history of the UN to the Millennium Development Goals. (We try to come on a mid-week morning so that we can dodge the crowds.) And, when we’re dressed to impress, we like to indulge in the culturally diverse fare at the Delegates Dining Room (jackets are required for the lads). (Those who aren’t UN Delegates need to reserve at least 24 hours in advance by calling (1) 212-963-7625; the Dining Room is only open for lunch.)
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
The long ticket lines and grumpy ticket sales staff (if you’re taking a tour in English, it’s worth booking online in advance). Also, the audio tours aren’t great–they’re the same price as normal tours but much less engaging.
GOOD TO KNOW
The tour guides come from over 20 different countries and give tours in 17 different languages. Although security is tight (it’s similar to what you encounter at airports) and parts of the grounds are now closed to the public, visitors are still allowed to take photos during the tour. Tours are subject to cancellation if there is an emergency event (such as a last-minute Security Council meeting), but they will make an effort to reschedule when possible. For tours in languages other than English, plan ahead since they are given less frequently, and call (1) 212-963-7539 on the day you plan to visit to confirm. Fun facts about the United Nations: The UN officially came into existence on October 24, 1945; in 2011, the UN welcomed its newest member, South Sudan, who became the 193nd member. Because the UN has its own post office, it also has its own postage stamp, and there are certain places in New York (as well as Geneva and Vienna) where you can send mail using it. The land on which the UN Headquarters sits was purchased with money donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Houses of Parliament (London); US Capitol (Washington, DC)
All information within this website was checked for accuracy at the time of publication. But since the world moves quickly, things may have changed. Pardon us for any errors as we strive to give you the most up-to-the-minute details!