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Visiting the UN Headquarters in New York

Today’s post was written by Amanda Almeida! Amanda is a friend and a reader that share NYC tips on the Instagram profile @livingthetrip. Amanda and her husband were at the UN headquarters and did the guided tour. As there are always readers asking about this, I invited her to write about her experience here on the blog!

If you are traveling to New York several times and you have a huge ‘To do list,’ living here is no different! One of the things that was on my list for some time was the UN headquarters guided tour, whose complex was designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer!

The UN was created in 1945 after World War II, initially with 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better standards of living and human rights. Currently, 193 countries are on the committee and have the right to vote on issues of global concern. The permanent members are France, Russia, China, United Kingdom and of course, United States. According to data from the official website, the UN receives about 1 million visitors from around the world!

Last week, on a rainy day, my husband came to the idea of visiting the place. I visited the website and bought the tickets for the same day. The price is $ 20 (+ tax) per person and it is necessary to choose a time for the guided tour – which only takes place Monday through Friday. There is the possibility of the guided tour being in Portuguese as well as other languages, but it depends on the availability and with a previous appointment. To do so, fill out the form on our “Contact” page and select “Guided Tours” from the drop down menu.

After the purchase, you receive the instructions: they request to arrive with 1 hour in advance, and then I understand why. First, a photo ID is required at the UN Security Check in office (801 1st Avenue – 45th St). They check your ticket and give you a wristband or an access sticker to the main building – which is right in front of you. Passing through the concierge, there is the safety procedure on the x-ray. Then you will see the main garden, and you can take a few photos of sculptures, flags and the fantastic view of Gantry Plaza State Park (where Pepsi’s retro sign is) and Queensboro Bridge, as the building is on the edge of the East River.

When we entered the lobby, we went straight to the Guided Tour Ticket Desk, where the employee beeped our ticket. Remember that it is not necessary to print the ticket, only the QR code that appears after completing the purchase is enough to do the reading, or you have the option to show the order number.The next tour would start in a few minutes and several people were waiting in the same place.

Punctually, two groups were formed with 20 people each, and we listened to some recommendations. Our guide was a Japanese woman very friendly and helpful in answering questions! During the tour, she explains some details of the architecture, the conference rooms and the operation of the place. The tour lasts an hour and time goes by fast. Depending on the demand of the meetings of the day, it is possible to visit the General Assembly Hall, Security Council Chamber, Economic and Social Council Chamber, and the Board of Trusteeship Council (this last room was where Emma Watson and  the Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai have already given their speeches on female empowerment).

Another cool thing is the opportunity to see the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, designed by the Brazilian artist Octavio Roth, which are very beautiful! And lastly, there is a section about disarmament, where you can see remnants of nuclear explosions in Nagasaki and Hiroshima (coins, bottles, and statue). Sad…

The main tip I give is: enjoy the explanations stops to go taking the pictures! It is allowed to take photos in most places; however, recording videos is prohibited. After the end of the guided tour, it is not possible to return to the places, and the group is directed to the basement, where there is an area with souvenir shops, snack bar, and restrooms. A different tour and it’s worth it 🙂

I hope you have enjoyed it! See you later! Amanda

About Amanda Almeida: I love traveling, experiencing new foods and meeting nice people who like to talk a lot … just like me! Aquarian enthusiastic and an eternal New York lover, where the slogan “I <3 NY” makes perfect sense!

Follow Amanda: @amanda.gc.almeida / @livingthetrip

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