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New York City Travel Guide

The 16 Best Public Restrooms in New York City’s Most Touristy Sections of Town

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You can’t exactly knock on doors when you have to pee in NYC, but New Yorkers—like the rest of us—are human, and they, too, need to use the loo. So, there are bathrooms sprinkled throughout the city; you just need to know where to find them. I’ve lived in the Big Apple for 18 years and, admittedly, have the bladder of a nine-month-pregnant woman. Rest assured, I scoured each neighborhood and tested each potty to bring you the ultimate guide to finding a bathroom in NYC when you gotta go.

1 OF 16

Bryant Park

WHERE: Times Square / 42nd Street Area

This is one of the nicest restrooms of all of NYC, thanks to a $300,000 renovation, a full-time attendant, and piped-in classical music. While most public restrooms can leave you traumatized, this bathroom comes with Italian tiles, Toto fixtures, high-end accessories, and a fancy changing station. Are we envious of this bathroom and wish it was in our own home? Yes. Are we tempted to go here daily? Also, yes.

INSIDER TIPThis public bathroom is located at the northeast corner of the park at 42nd Street and Avenue of the Americas.


2 OF 16

New York Public Library Main Branch

WHERE: Times Square / 42nd Street Area

Open every day (except Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), this is a spot where you’ll want to use the facilities and then move into the building forever. It’s one of the most beautiful, peaceful spots in all of New York, and it’s free. The bathrooms are nicely maintained, and there are a few of them throughout the library. Walk up the grand marble staircase on 5th Avenue past the stone lions on 40th street to find this restroom.

3 OF 16

Grand Central Station

WHERE: Times Square / 42nd Street Area

Even if you’re not stopping here for a bathroom break, you should check out Grand Central Station, which just happens to be one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions. It’s simply beautiful and has been featured in probably more films than we have even seen. The bathrooms are on the lower level and are shockingly clean for a public train station.

INSIDER TIPThere are extra women’s and family bathrooms in the Station Master’s office on the upper level next to Track 37, which are even cleaner than the basement restrooms.


4 OF 16

Kimpton Muse Hotel

WHERE: Times Square / 42nd Street Area

The hotel put a ton of work into its six sin-inspired unisex bathroom stalls. There’s Glam, Vain, Rebel, Passion, Macho, and Envy. Which one will you try? Find it at 130 W 46th Street.

5 OF 16

Greeley Square Park

WHERE: Empire State Building / Herald Square Area

With Italian mosaic tile, a hexagonal kiosk glass overhang, freshly cut flowers, and classical music streamed into the stalls, this may be one of the nicest public bathrooms in New York City. Each toilet has automatic seat covers, which change after each automatic flush, and historic New York photos are featured on the walls. Find this restroom at the intersection of 32nd St. and 6th Avenue.

6 OF 16

Macy’s Herald Square

WHERE: Empire State Building / Herald Square Area

There are bathrooms on nearly every floor at this flagship Macy’s location, and they’re nearly always empty. The bathrooms are large, they have changing tables, and you can get some shopping in on your way to the loo. Find the Macy’s store at 151 W 34th St in Herald Square.

7 OF 16

Stanford Hotel

WHERE: Empire State Building / Herald Square Area

The lobby of the Stanford Hotel was renovated in 2017 and is sleek and modern, as are the bathrooms. With complimentary breakfast, tea, and coffee—and sometimes even gratis happy hours—this hotel is not only a great deal, but it’s a solid option for tourists looking for a public restroom. Find the hotel at 43 W 32nd St.

8 OF 16

Brooklyn Roasting Company

WHERE: Brooklyn Bridge Area

The scent of freshly roasted coffee will hit you as soon as you swing open those lovely reclaimed doors and hit the vintage checkerboard floor to walk to the bathroom in the back. No, you won’t need a code, a key, or a receipt to use the facility. But it’ll be hard to resist an espresso on your way back. Find the Brooklyn Roasting Company in Dumbo at 45 Washington Street in Brooklyn.

9 OF 16

Brooklyn Bridge Park Environmental Education Building

WHERE: Brooklyn Bridge Area

The 11,300 square foot building, which houses a community room, classrooms, a kitchen, and other public spaces surrounding a public park, also has two public bathrooms. This followed a recent $3.6 million renovation by the Architecture Research Office. Stop by for the bathroom, but don’t forget to check out the 500-gallon display aquarium, which showcases fish collected from the East River. Find the Environmental Education Building at 99 Plymouth Street.

10 OF 16

Bergdorf Goodman

WHERE: Central Park Area

Bergdorf Goodman is famous for its bathrooms, which have fresh flowers and expensive amenities such as Antica Farmacista hand lotion. The lighting here appears to be designed for bathroom selfies, so purchase a new outfit if you can afford the Bergdorf prices, and model it in front of their fancy toilet. Find the Bergdorf Goodman store at 754 5th Avenue.

11 OF 16

Delacorte Theatre

WHERE: Central Park Area

On the southwest corner of the Great Lawn in the heart of Central Park—where you’ll find Shakespeare in the Park—you’ll find these public bathrooms. These are open year-round (even when the theater isn’t in season) and are maintained nicely. Find the Delacorte Theater at 81 Central Park West.

12 OF 16


WHERE: Everywhere

Starbucks enacted a bathroom policy allowing anyone to use their bathrooms, regardless of whether you make a purchase or not. There are Starbucks locations all over New York City so, if you need to go, this coffee chain is always a good option for both a bathroom break and caffeine fix.

13 OF 16

The Strand

WHERE: Union Square

If we could move into The Strand, we would. This iconic New York bookstore is the perfect place to pass the time roaming aisles of books, but if you need to use the bathroom, head to the second floor.

INSIDER TIPClose to the Strand (also near Union Square) is Barnes & Noble, where you can also use the public restrooms.


14 OF 16

Whole Foods

WHERE: Union Square

This Whole Foods is always packed, and it does feel a bit claustrophobic. Having said that, they have long hours (they don’t close until 10 p.m.) and a lovely public bathroom on the second floor, in the cafe area. Don’t want to deal with the crowds? Go next door to Best Buy (52 E 14th St.), which closes at 7 p.m. They have public bathrooms sans the people, though they aren’t open quite as long as Whole Foods.

15 OF 16

Chelsea Market

WHERE: Chelsea / The Highline Area

This is one of our favorite bathroom spots because it’s a high-end food hall, an office building (Google is here!), and a TV facility. Walk-in and you will feel fancy, maybe even fancy enough to purchase a $25 candle at Kiosk; or maybe you’re in the mood for some nice cheese (they have the best cheese market ever). If you’re looking for the bathroom, you’ll find it on the main floor and on the bottom floor. Chelsea Market is located at 75 9th Avenue.

16 OF 16

Bed, Bath & Beyond

WHERE: Chelsea / The Highline Area

This BB&B never appears to have many people in it at all, so you can find the bathroom easily and quickly. They recently remodeled this flagship store and reopened it in 2021. Feeling hungry after your bathroom break? The store has its own cafe, called Cafe 3B, serving Le Colombe coffee and delicious muffins. Find this Bed, Bath & Beyond location at 620 6th Avenue.