How extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) and antimicrobial-resistant E. coli disseminate through the population is undefined. We studied public restrooms for contamination with E. coli and ExPEC in relation to source and extensively characterized the E. coli isolates. For this, we cultured 1,120 environmental samples from 56 public restrooms in 33 establishments (obtained from 10 cities in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, metropolitan area in 2003) for E. coli and compared ecological data with culture results. Isolates underwent virulence genotyping, phylotyping, clonal typing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and disk diffusion antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Overall, 168 samples (15% from 89% of restrooms) fluoresced, indicating presumptive E. coli: 25 samples (2.2% from 32% of restrooms) yielded E. coli isolates, and 10 samples (0.9% from 16% of restrooms) contained ExPEC. Restroom category and cleanliness level significantly predicted only fluorescence, gender predicted fluorescence and E. coli, and feces-like material and toilet-associated sites predicted all three endpoints. Of the 25 E. coli isolates, 7 (28%) were from phylogenetic group B2(virulence-associated), and 8 (32%) were ExPEC. ExPEC isolates more commonly represented group B2 (50% versus 18%) and had significantly higher virulence gene scores than non-ExPEC isolates. Six isolates (24%) exhibited≥3-class antibiotic resistance, 10 (40%) represented classic human-associated sequence types, and one closely resembled reference human clinical isolates by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Thus, E. coli, ExPEC, and antimicrobial- resistant E. coli sporadically contaminate public restrooms, in ways corresponding with restroom characteristics and within- restroom sites. Such restroom-source E. coli strains likely reflect human fecal contamination, may pose a health threat, and may contribute to population-wide dissemination of such strains.