We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Washington D.C. Public Restrooms

Which Washington DC hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Minnesota
Level Contributor
6 posts
79 reviews
Save Topic
Washington D.C. Public Restrooms

Here's a question: Public Restrooms..........

Off the National Mall...... are there any public restrooms where a person doesn't have to wait in the regular site-seeing line just to get into a building?

Can the public just walk into any restaurant and use the facility without eating?

At the popular momuments?

This is one topic I cannot find any info on! LOL

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
19,733 posts
50 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Washington D.C. Public Restrooms

Look what I found in a few seconds using Google: …about.com/library/…blmapMallBathrooms.htm

washington dc
Level Contributor
3,726 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Washington D.C. Public Restrooms

All the museums and major sites have restrooms. Every restaurant/cafe/hotel should let you use the restroom. If they don't, politely ask for a manager. DC depends on tourist money.

Fairfax County...
Level Contributor
2,339 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Washington D.C. Public Restrooms

I think you would still need to wait on line, if there is one, before you can get into a museum to use the bathroom. I suppose only the security guard can have the definitive answer on this, but I have not seen anyone cut in front of a line and said I am just using the bathroom so I don't have to wait.

Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
11,846 posts
109 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Washington D.C. Public Restrooms

You will have to wait in line to go through "security" in any public building/museum before you are allowed to use a restroom. There's no special treatment given to anyone saying they just need to use a restroom--no matter how much of an "emergency" you may consider it to be.

Even though a restaurant should allow you to use their restroom even if you are not dining there, it's "bad form" to ask to do so. It would be much better to go to a fast food restaurant to do this as you don't have to request permission to use the restroom and you aren't dealing with a seating hostess, etc.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
717 posts
50 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Washington D.C. Public Restrooms

I've walked into restaurants in DC and tons of other cities and never ever been turned down when I say politely and sweetly, "May I please use your bathroom?" I disagree that it's bad form to do so. Well, maybe if you went in to a very dressy restaurant looking all schlubby from a full day of sightseeing dressed in sweats and sneakers. :) It CAN feel a bit awkward, though, depending on the situation.

I think hotels are the best choice of all - even better than fast food restaurants b/c those bathrooms tend to be sketchy (and ironically THOSE restaurants are the ones in which they most jealously guard bathroom access - you often have to get a key or token from someone at the front desk - apparently b/c they fear homeless people or others doing things in the bathroom they don't want done - some of them have signs about "no illegal activities allowed in this restroom" or whatever).

If you go into a hotel and it's obvious where the restroom is, just go there like you know where you're going. If it's not obvious where the restroom is, ask a front desk person very nicely, "Excuse me, where is the restroom?" and there is a 99.9999 percent chance they'll point you to the restroom without any drama.

Dallas
Level Contributor
2,726 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Washington D.C. Public Restrooms

We just keep an eye out for Starbuck's, Subway Sandwich shops, McDonald's, etc. DIdn't have any problems this last trip.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
150 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Washington D.C. Public Restrooms

If it helps, per my recent experience, Lincoln Memorial, I was able to walk inside (door on side of building) to use the restroom. There was a small exhibit area inside as well as you walked through.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial along the Tidal Basin side, was able to go inside (doorway on one of the side of the walls), elevator downstairs to go to the restroom. There is a souvenir shop inside there as well.

Dallas
Level Contributor
2,726 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Washington D.C. Public Restrooms

Also a very nice restroom adjacent to the MLK Memorial.

La Plata, Maryland
Level Contributor
1,237 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Washington D.C. Public Restrooms

Starbucks restaurants in general, are noted for letting anyone use their bathrooms without question. They claim this is true even in busy Manhattan, NY.

Edited: 07 April 2014, 01:04
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
15 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Washington D.C. Public Restrooms

There's a restroom close by the World War 2 memorial too. I remember using it at night when I was there.