America's best public bathrooms


Every year, the company Cintas sponsors a contest to find "America's Best Restroom," specifically public bathrooms. This year's finalists like Washington DC's Mie N Yu Restaurant and Minneapolis's Walker Art Center boast posh bathrooms to be sure, but my favorite is the 2007 winner: Jungle Jim's International Market in Fairfield, Ohio. You enter the expansive restrooms by walking through faux porta potties. "America's Best Bathroom" (Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)


  1. Good luck finding a public bathroom, never mind a nice one.

    I’m convinced that McDonalds and Starbucks are public bathrooms that serve food and coffee on the side.

  2. I’ve been taking a series of photos of public bathrooms that I call “Dear John”.

    Knowing there’s a contest that I could submit the nicest ones to makes me want to start purposely seeking out even more.  

    Also, the Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville is known for its very nice art deco men’s bathroom. It’s so nice, in fact, that once when I was coming out of it a group of women in evening gowns met me at the door and asked, “Could you go in there with us?”

  3. Childish I know, but I still can’t get over the fact you call them bathrooms when nary a bath have I found in such places. Restrooms are also good euphemisms.

    1. I can’t believe I’d forgotten that. I once asked a bartender where the pub’s bathroom was. He said, “Do you want to take a bath?” We then discussed the differences between English on both sides of the pond before laughing about the widely held misconception that Australians speak English.

    2. You don’t generally have a rest in there either. Or if you do, anyone waiting for a free stall is not going to be happy with you. Probably best to be unambiguous and ask where the shitter is.

    3. Isn’t this just another item on the long list of American euphemisms for words that a Good Christian(tm) shouldn’t say in polite company? Toilet – bathroom, arse – ass etc. It doesn’t have to make sense…

  4. We visited Jungle Jim’s one time and I’ll never forget the look on my daughter’s face when she saw several women walk into what looks like a single porta-potty. 

    1. I gotta admit, I heard that waterfall being hyped up for so long that it was actually a bit disappointing when I finally got to pee in it. I guess I expected something more… majestic.

  5. I guess that “best” is subjective.  The men’s room at Herbie’s Ramrod Room in Boston in the 70s always seemed really popular, but it didn’t fit any of these criteria.

  6. Some restrooms are impressive for where they are.  My favorites have been: on top of the Eiffel Tower,  on top of the Vatican, and on the Great Wall.  The Continental divide in the Monte Verde Cloud Forrest of Costa Rica gets an honorable mention, but wasn’t technically a bathroom.

    I’m leaving my mark on this world!

  7. As a young man I firmly believed that you could judge nightclubs by their restrooms.  It always seemed that the best clubs had the most women in the men’s room.  I’m now old and no longer go clubbing.  Does that metric still hold?

  8. There ‘Green House on Main’ in Shediac has an old British phone booth serving as a entrance to the entrances to the bathrooms.   Quirky and function (the doubling of the doors provided extra sound proofing).

  9. The women’s restroom at the Cornbelters’ baseball stadium at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois (I swear to God I am not making any of this up) looks like it came straight out of Tony Soprano’s house.  Black marble and a suede fainting couch.

    I just wish I could see what the men’s room looks like.

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