Best public toilets in the city?
If you read our November 2011 guide to the best public bathrooms in Jerusalem, you now know where to run if you’re caught short while touring in the Holy City.
Now it’s Tel Aviv’s turn, just in time for summer travelers.
Like Jerusalem, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality provides a map of public restrooms on its Hebrew website. It’s part of the recently launched iView web application, a free Geographic Information System (GIS) that shows you where to find Tel-O-Fun bike rental stations, parking lots and more.
Pick up a printed map at tourist information offices on the beach promenade and near the Jaffa Clock Tower.
City tourism spokeswoman Mira Marcus tells ISRAEL21c there are hundreds of publicly maintained bathrooms scattered around the city. “In the Yarkon Park alone, there are 16 sites that have dozens of bathrooms stalls, with signs pointing in their direction,” she says.
There are restrooms at each municipal beach, too. Most charge one shekel for entry.
In our toilet trek around Tel Aviv, we focused on finding the top 10 WCs in the central part of the city, where visitors are most likely to be walking around if they’re not on the beach. One word of warning: We found that bathrooms in public parks are sometimes locked even during the posted hours of operation.
1. 2theloo, 9 King George Street and inside the Dizengoff Center
It’s not maintained by the city, but this ingenious for-profit public restroom chain (founded in Amsterdam) is undoubtedly the best option for a pit stop in central Tel Aviv, and it costs only NIS 3 (less than a buck).
A very welcoming attendant offered to show us around the King George branch without paying. (Once you’ve seen 2theloo, you won’t think a bathroom tour is an odd concept.) Open from 10-8 daily except Saturdays, this spotless and inviting loo has seven toilets and two urinals. Each is brightly decorated by theme, such as the beach and the jungle. There’s a low toilet for kids, a changing table for babies, and wheelchair access. In the corridor are relevant “gift” items for sale, from the practical (Kotex) to the fun (toilet-shaped candy).
2. Municipal building, 69 Ibn Gavirol
If you’re wandering through Rabin Square, or visiting City Hall on business, you can take care of your personal business as well in its green-tiled public restroom. The ladies’ has two well-stocked stalls, five sinks, a changing table and – very reassuringly – a posted check-off for cleaning personnel. Apparently it gets spiffed up every hour or so.
3. Gan Ha’Ir, 71 Ibn Gvirol
Rumor had it that this small upscale shopping center, near Rabin Square, boasts the best public toilets in the city. And indeed, they are really nice. Signs point the way as soon as you enter the mall, with a choice of upstairs or downstairs. We checked out the lower-level ladies room, which has 12 stalls (one with wheelchair access), six sinks, a changing table and ample soap and paper products.
4. Magen David Square, Allenby and Nahalat Binyamin streets
Open Sundays to Fridays, 8-8, this public restroom – down a flight of stairs from street level at the entrance to the Carmel Market — stands out for its size: 10 stalls and nine sinks (though two of the toilets were out of order when we visited). An attendant keeps it stocked with paper goods and soap, but there is a one-shekel charge.
5. Reich Community Center for Senior Citizens, 106 Arlozorov
Just past the information desk are small but nice bathrooms. The ladies room has two spacious stalls (one with wheelchair access), one sink and plenty of paper goods and soap. Open 8-1 and 4-7, Sundays through Thursdays.
6. Passageway between Dizengoff and Frishman, at 101 Dizengoff
You can access this large, clean, well-marked public john from either of these two main streets, Sundays to Fridays from 9am to 7pm. There are three sinks and three stalls on the women’s side. No paper towels, but the automatic dryer works.
7. Beit Tami Community Center, Mordecai Park between Sheinkin and Merkaz Ba’alei Melaha
A child-friendly loo in this center off trendy Sheinkin Street has a changing table, two clean stalls, two sinks and ample soap. Hours: 9am to 1pm Sunday through Thursday; 4-8 Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday; 3-7 Monday and Wednesday. Beit Tami, as well as 2theloo and Magen David Square, are within easy walking distance of the Nahalat Binyamin street fair on Tuesdays and Fridays. (There is also a restroom in Mordecai Park, but it was locked when we visited.)
8. Magid Community Center, 63 Nordau
Magid serves an area of many English-speaking immigrant families. It offers a pleasant, spotless, yellow-and-gray tiled restroom with five stalls and three sinks. It was the only one we saw that had a sink designed for easy access to children and people in wheelchairs. Hours: Sundays through Wednesdays, 8:30am to 8pm.
9. Mitchell Senior Center, 12 Mandelstam
If you’re shopping for wedding gowns (or anything else) on Dizengoff Street between Jabotinsky and Nordau, here’s a perfect place to pop in for a bathroom break just one block to the east. The clean restrooms are one flight up from the main lobby – there is an elevator if you need it – and the ladies side has two stalls, one sink and plenty of soap and paper. The center opens at 8am Sundays to Thursdays and remains upon until 4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30pm the other days.
10. Dizengoff Square at 1 Reines
Although this was closed due to short-term street construction on the day we visited, we are including this centrally located, freestanding public restroom on our list because it’s right below the newly renovated Agam Fire and Water Fountain in Dizengoff Square – a very convenient setting – and it’s open seven days a week, 10am to 8pm. Worst-case scenario, you can ask to use the restrooms in the Cinema or Center Chic boutique hotels just off the square.