Family Vacations: United Nations

Flags of member nations displayed outside the United Nations complex.

The United Nations (UN) was created during a time when the world's nations aspired to work together to bring about peace. The UN's world headquarters is in, but not of, New York City: It is an 18-acre international zone belonging to its member nations.

Visitors may become startled during a tour of the United Nations when they realize they are in what is tantamount to a separate nation-state with its own fire department and post office. UN headquarters is often thought of as the striking glass building on the East River -- the high-rise visible in movies and on the news. The complex actually combines four major buildings. Three were completed in 1952: the 39-floor Secretariat building, the General Assembly building, and the Conference building. In 1961, the Dag Hammarskjold Library was added.


The General Assembly Hall, where representatives of the UN's 191 member nations meet, is the headquarters' largest room, seating more than 1,800. A subdued space, it features the UN emblem (a surprising rarity inside the complex) and abstract murals designed by French artist Fernand Leger.

United Nations Information

Address: First Ave. at 46th St. New York, NY

Phone: 212/963-TOUR

Hours of Operation:

  • Mar. - Dec., 9:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., weekdays and 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., weekends
  • Jan. - Feb., 9:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., weekdays

Admission: $13 adults; $7 kids

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • New York State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in New York, as well as other recreational activities.
  • New York City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit New York.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.