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.

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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.