Where to Meditate for Free in San Diego
At these nine public places of zen, you can "om" away from home almost anytime, plus five workshops this month
Meditation Gardens Encinitas | Photo: Emily Kkaszton
Breathe in the salty air off of Swami’s State Beach amid lush greenery, koi fish, and sounds of nature in one of San Diego’s most sprawling public places for reflection.
Open Tuesday–Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; 215 West K Street, Encinitas
A downtown counterpart to the Encinitas center, these gardens in Bankers Hill provide a smaller landscape for contemplation.
Open daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; 3072 First Avenue, Bankers Hill
The San Diego chapter of this international Buddhist belief system is open for public meditation sittings on Sunday 9–11 a.m. and Thursday 6:45–7:45 p.m. Farther north, there are off-site meditation hours every Wednesday 7–8:30 p.m. at Anahata Yoga in Encinitas.
6727 Flanders Drive, Sorrento Valley
Catch some serenity before you catch a flight from San Diego International Airport in Terminal 2’s nondenominational meditation and reflection room, with two benches and water-print glass panels by artist Norie Sato to keep you feeling grounded before takeoff.
Like a flash sale or surprise album release, this charming sanctuary located above Lighthouse Ice Cream announces its free meditation sessions sporadically with signage on the sidewalk and on Facebook and Twitter, with the hashtag #randomOM.
5059 Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach
No need to be a resort guest to get into the meditation rooms at the headquarters of this world-renowned practice. Drop by in between the guided classes, which are also open to anyone free of charge, Tuesday–Friday 7:45–8:15 a.m. and Monday–Friday 6–6:30 p.m., for some inner reflection and relaxation.
Open daily 6 a.m.–10 p.m.; 2100 Costa Del Mar Road, Carlsbad
Discuss, then destress. That’s the agenda for the free community meditations at a cottage near San Dieguito County Park on Tuesday and Thursday 6:30–8 p.m. and Sunday 2–3:30 p.m. Feeling generous? Donations are accepted and go directly toward the International Campaign for Tibet.
4523 Sun Valley Road, Del Mar
It was founded by Buddhists, but this serene gem in University Heights welcomes visitors of all backgrounds and beliefs to use its main hall for free morning and evening classes or individual meditation throughout the day.
Open Monday–Friday from 8 a.m.–9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; 4144 Campus Avenue, University Heights
Part of an international group of centers that follow the Indian spiritual leader’s teachings, this little oasis, with a statue of Sri Chinmoy and three benches, is meant for you to sit and “om” awhile.
Open 24/7; 2520 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights