Lifestyle & Belief

The best public restroom in America?


One of two "family-friendly" restrooms at the Field Museum in Chicago.


The Field Museum

Not all public restrooms are gross.

The Field Museum in Chicago has taken top honors in the 10th annual “Best Restroom in America” competition, presented by Cintas Corp., a Cincinnati-based restroom hygiene products supplier. Applicants for the award were winnowed down to ten finalists based on “exceptional hygiene, style, public accessibility and usability,” the company said. Online voters determined the winner.

Some of the features that set the Field Museum’s facilities apart, according to Cintas: Eco-friendly automated water faucets and hand dryers and a “tot area” with smaller toilets for children. Hourly cleaning (3,500 visitors traipse through the museum each day) and enough stalls and sinks also impressed the judges.

The Field Museum beat some strong contenders for the title of America’s next top bathroom. Finalists included the Presidential Luxury Restroom Trailer from Chantilly, Va.-based portable restroom company Don’s Johns. It comes with granite counters and shelves, black marbleized walls and a flat-screen TV. And yes, one was set up for President Obama to use during his 2009 inauguration.

Other finalists were Brooklyn, N.Y., restaurant Habana Outpost’s glass-topped restroom, which uses collected rainwater to flush the toilets; and the men’s room at Main Street Station Casino in Las Vegas, where the urinals are set into an authentic graffiti-covered section of the Berlin Wall.

The country’s best restroom received a plaque and bragging rights. "The Field Museum is honored to receive this award,” Jim Croft, vice president of finance, said in a statement. “The Museum strives to give visitors the best service and exhibitions; we also feel this about the amenities.”