Retreat Yourself: Best Places to Meditate in LA

Golden Lotus Temple and swans at the Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine
The Golden Lotus Temple at the Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine  |  Photo:  Yuri Hasegawa

“Good vibes only” can transcend from t-shirt slogan to a way of being - sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right place. Whether you're seeking long-term wellness or a quick vacation from worries, the City of Angels offers many options for getting into a positive headspace.

WATA at the Audubon Center in Debs Park
WATA at the Audubon Center | Instagram: @feelslikefloating
Nailah Hunter at Vasquez Rocks
Nailah Hunter at Vasquez Rocks | Instagram: @feelslikefloating


Floating is a weekly all-ages outdoor arts series that explores the harmony between soundscape and landscape. Each Floating gathering is a shared, sound-based experience in a natural setting. Curated performances and practices guide participants through a meditation, sound bath, divine improvisation, hike or other outdoor activity. Recent locations include the Audubon Center at Debs Park, Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden, and the spectacular Vasquez Rocks. Check the Floating schedule for upcoming events.

Forest Bathing at The Arboretum in Arcadia
Forest Bathing at The Arboretum | Photo: Dept. of Parks & Recreation

Forest Bathing

Inspired by the Japanese practice of shinrin yoku, Forest Bathing has been scientifically proven to boost immune strength, reduce stress and improve cognitive functioning.

Formally known as the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, The Arboretum (301 N. Baldwin Ave, Arcadia 91007) offers the monthly Forest Bathing: Second Sundays at Sunset, a gently guided immersion into "the more-than-human world." Accompanied by The Arboretum’s trees, plants and inhabitants, as well as the gentle ending of daylight, bring your weekend to a peaceful end and reset for the week ahead.

Forest Bathing is recommended for participants age 12 and older. Pricing is $25 for Arboretum members and $35 for non-members. Sign up at The Arboretum website.

Deities at ISKCON Los Angeles
Photo: ISKCON Los Angeles

Hare Krishna Cultural Center

Every Sunday, the ISKCON Los Angeles New Dwaraka Temple (3764 Watseka Ave, Los Angeles 90034) hosts the Sunday Love Feast, a community open house that starts with kirtan (call-and-response chanting) at 10am; followed by an aarti ceremony at noon, a lecture and prasadam, a free vegetarian feast.

Learn more about the International Society for Krishna Consciousness by strolling through their onsite museum, eat at Govinda’s Natural Foods Restaurant anytime, and check out the second floor gift shop for an array of devotional items.

Just Float in Pasadena
Photo: Just Float

Just Float

No need to book a flight to the Dead Sea, the world's largest float therapy center, Just Float (76 N. Hudson Ave. Suite 120, Pasadena 91101) is available for one-hour sessions. Each private float suite includes a changing area, shower and float tank - the water is filled with more than 1,300 lbs of Epsom salt. Just Float provides a towel, robe and basic amenities. Transition back to reality with a post-float tea in the lounge.

Gen-la Jampa in prayer at Kadampa Meditation Center Hollywood
Gen-la Jampa in prayer | Photo: Kadampa Meditation Center Hollywood, Facebook

Kadampa Meditation Center Hollywood

Kadampa Meditation Center Hollywood (4953 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles 90027) is the realized dream of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who first left his home in 1977 and later spread the New Kadampa Tradition throughout America.

Located in Los Feliz, the center offers 30-minute midday meditations; a free monthly Open House, which includes a tour, guided meditation and refreshments; and a free weekly prayer for world peace on Sundays from 10-10:45am (online donations available). Check the online calendar for upcoming classes, retreats and special events.

Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens
Photo: Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens

Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens

Located in the heart of West Adams, Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (3500 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles 90018) is an unobtrusive campus that's called a “spiritual oasis in the city” - visitors feel at home right away whether they're walking the stone labyrinth, meditating in the foliage-filled gardens, or experiencing one of the many talks, sound baths or yoga classes held in the mansion. The villa’s current incarnation is maintained by the Movement of Inner Spiritual Awareness, but the Italian Renaissance-style architecture reflects the culture and taste of original owner Secundo Guasti, the owner of one of California’s first wineries. The property was later owned by director Busby Berkeley. Tours are free but reservations must be made in advance. Returning visitors may skip the tour and just come to enjoy the silence.

Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine
Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Self-Realization Fellowship

Established in Los Angeles in 1925 by Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi, Self Realization Fellowship welcomes visitors to walk the tranquil grounds of its international headquarters (aka the Mother Center) at Mount Washington, the Hollywood Temple & Ashram Center, and the Lake Shrine Temple & Retreat in Pacific Palisades. Guided group meditation, retreats, study groups, kirtans and other opportunities for communing are open to all.

Jamie Bechtold at The Soundbath Center
Jamie Bechtold | Photo: The Soundbath Center

Sound Baths

Give yourself a sonic massage with a sound bath - vibrations of crystal singing bowls, gongs, flutes, wind chimes and more wash over you, offering a meditative experience that resonates through your body for days.

Sign up for a sound bath session at The Soundbath Center (4688 Eagle Rock Blvd, Los Angeles 90041), Unplug Meditation (12401 Wilshire Blvd. #101, Los Angeles 90025) and The Arboretum (301 N. Baldwin Ave, Arcadia 91007).

Transcendental Meditation
Photo: Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi began teaching Transcendental Meditation (TM) in India in the mid-1950s. The silent mantra meditation technique gained popularity in the 60s and 70s thanks to famous practitioners like The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Celeb advocates include David Lynch, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey. On the TM website, Hugh Jackman touts its benefits: "Nothing has ever opened my eyes like Transcendental Meditation has. It makes me calm and happy and it gives me peace and quiet in what’s a pretty chaotic life!"

TM claims it's the only meditation that's taught one-on-one by a certified instructor for "a much deeper experience." In-person and at-home courses are available at TM locations in Los Feliz and West LA. The nonprofit recently began offering an income-based pricing plan, as well as partial grant support to individuals in need.

Swamiji’s Breakfast at Vedanta Society Hollywood Temple
Swamiji’s Breakfast | Photo: Vedanta Society of Southern California

Vedanta Society of Southern California

Try “chanting for beginners” on Saturdays, then learn what those words in yoga class really mean in a Sunday Sanskrit class at the Vedanta Society Hollywood Temple (1946 Vedanta Pl, Hollywood 90068). The property includes a temple, monastery, convent, bookshop and library - so tread lightly, though the temple is open to the public from morning meditation through evening classes. The history of this place goes back to Swami Vivikenanda’s visit to South Pasadena in the late 1890s. Full schedule available on the Vedanta Society website.