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How to find a bathroom in Manhattan

We all have this problem at some point. How do you find a bathroom in Manhattan or any big city? So you're walking around enjoying life, hydrating yourself, minding your own business when suddenly...you need a bathroom, a toilet, a baño! Finding a public restroom in Manhattan is a stressful, but necessary adventure. Sometimes the nearest facility is not that near, and when you arrive the wait is way too long. Not to mention some of the public restrooms being a little too dirty. You walk into a store or restaurant and the next thing you know, the bathroom is for customers only. The list goes on and on for how many things can go wrong when trying to find a public restroom in Manhattan.

customer only restroom
You will often find this on the doors of New York businesses. Restrooms for customers only.

So what do you do now? Hold it in, and keep trying until you find a toilet, or go back home and simply shun yourself from the city?


We should be able to enjoy Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens without worrying about finding a bathroom. That's why in this post we are going to tackle a few ways to find a bathroom in NYC.


Easiest Solution: Download the Bathroom Finder App Lulu


The easiest method of finding a restroom in Manhattan is to download a bathroom finder app. We are talking about Lulu, of course.


Lulu is an app for iPhone or Android that helps you find public and private bathrooms.


Here's how it works: you download the app, and Lulu shows you all available bathrooms near you that are currently open. In addition to that, Lulu also shows you images of what the toilet looks like, a list of amenities they offer, and detailed explanations of how to get to it. This way, before walking over there, you already know if there's going to be liquid soap, a mirror, a baby tray or even if it's accesible for someone with a disability!


Lulu also shows you the hours of operation of every bathroom so that you can be sure that the restroom is open when you get there.


You also have private options, if you don't want to use a public restroom.


Lulu partners with restaurants and lounges, so you aren't stuck using public restrooms that aren't well maintained.


For as little as $0.99, our partners give you full access to their private bathrooms without explaining yourself. You no longer need to beg, have to buy unnecessary coffees, or explain why you need the toilet.


lulu toilet app showing available locations nearby on a gps map
The Lulu app toilet finder shows you all available locations near you. Both public and private toilets are available.

Some of our partners even offer discounts, so that if you are interested in anything they sell or are hungry for a snack, you can get it at a reduced cost.


Lulu has options for everyone so you never have to worry about finding a bathroom in Manhattan ever again.


So give it a try, download the Lulu app today.


If you're still not sure...here are other methods of finding a bathroom in Manhattan.

Lulu toilet app bathrooms in new york city
Some of the private Lulu bathrooms available for as little as $0.99

Medium Difficulty : Use Google/Apple Map

You are probably familiar with your GPS app!

This method doesn't require you to download another app since you probably already use Google Maps, but it does have its limitations. Typing "public toilet", "restroom", "WC", "public bathroom", "facility" or "baño" will show you some results on your GPS map.

Google Maps doesn't give much information about public bathrooms.

However one of the biggest problems is that Google and Apple Maps both have different public databases. This means that when you search for a bathroom on Google Maps, you might not see anything near you, while Apple Maps might show something, and vice-versa. Lulu displays public toilets that both GPS apps have. In addition to this, neither of the two apps lists amenities. That means that if you are looking for something specific, like wheelchair accessibility, or bright lighting, or a baby tray - you won't know until you get there if the location can accommodate you.

Lastly, many of the locations listed on your GPS apps don't have accurate bathroom hours for public locations. That is because the New York City government has a weird method of choosing when locations close. It's based on when the sun sets, not on the specific hour.

Overall, while it's definitely a good option to find a toilet using this method, you run the risk of walking a lot of blocks only to find your public toilet closed, or with no amenities, not to mention a long line.


The Hardest Difficulty: Walk Around and Ask


Walking around and asking for the nearest bathroom definitely has to be the hardest method there is to find a bathroom in Manhattan.


Getting a New Yorker to stop and give you directions is as big of a gamble as hitting the tables in Vegas!


new yorkers walking fast
Most New Yorkers won't stop and chat

Another thing you can attempt to do is to walk inside a restaurant and ask politely if they can let you use their restroom. Unfortunately due to the high volume of customers most restaurants have, coming in and explaining your situation won't often be met with kindness as they are primarily trying to understand if you're looking for a table and where they can sit you. In addition to this, due to the bad plumbing in most historic buildings in New York City, many restaurants try to limit the use of their restrooms to customers only, as clogging can cost quite a bit. This is why they are actually willing to partner with us. Not only do we list their locations during times that they are comfortable receiving non-diners, but we also limit the number of times we can sell their restroom, while at the same time paying them a toilet fee - so to create a win-win scenario where you have more options and cleaner facilities, while they limit their risk on their business.


Finding a bathroom in Manhattan has always been a struggle but it doesn't have to keep being one. There are options out there to help you find a clean and accessible toilet near you.


As we mentioned before the Lulu app is the easiest way to help you navigate through Manhattan with the confidence that you can always find a high-quality bathroom near you.


Give it a try! Download Lulu.