WORK. HOME. FAMILY. SCHOOL. FITNESS. SOCIAL PLANS. There’s no doubt about it. Most of us lead hectic lives with little downtime to relax, meditate or even just take a cleansing breath. But we can’t be our best selves unless we take time for self-care. Luckily, there are some very special places in our community that offer peaceful and serene respites from all of the chaos. In short, consider visiting one of these tranquil venues when you need to take some time to slow down and reflect. Here, some of our favorite spots for mindful moments in L.A.
MILDRED E. MATHIAS BOTANICAL GARDEN
707 Tiverton Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Located on the southeastern corner of the UCLA campus, this seven-acre garden, named after American botanist Dr. Mildred Esther Mathias Hassler, first opened in 1929. Firstly, the spectacular oasis contains a diverse collection of plants from around the world. Wander for just a few minutes into the garden and you will completely forget you are in the heart of the city as you take in the koi pond, walking trails, majestic trees and more. In addition, self-guided or docent-led tours are available daily, or you can just walk through on your own, soaking in the beauty and majesty of the gardens. With more than a dozen unique collections, the Botanical Garden is a nature-laden jewel in the midst of urban L.A.
L.A. GARDENS OF THE WORLD
2001 Thousand Oaks Boulevard
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
The gorgeous Gardens of the World was designed as a monument to commemorate various cultures from around the world. Envisioned and built by Ed and Lynn Hogan, founders of Pleasant Holidays, this local gem opened in 2001 across the street from the Thousand Oaks Civic Center. The lush grounds contain many delights. For starters, the Japanese Garden, featuring a peaceful setting surrounding an authentic Japanese Pagoda set in the midst of a koi pond. Secondly, the English Perennial and Rose Garden, bursting with vivid displays of rose varieties of all sizes and colors. Further, the Italian Garden with a romantic grape arbor, cypress trees and a fountain inspired by Italian architecture—and much more! Open Tuesday through Sunday, Gardens of the World is the perfect place to pause and savor a tranquil moment.
SELF-REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP LAKE SHRINE
17190 Sunset Boulevard
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Lake Shrine is part of Self-Realization Fellowship founded in 1950 by Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian monk who introduced millions to the teachings of meditation and yoga. Just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean, it is a spiritual environment that includes a lakeside Meditation Garden with shrines and waterfalls, a hilltop temple with weekly inspirational services and meditations, a retreat for silent renewal and an ashram for monks of Self-Realization Fellowship. To sum up, the Meditation Garden is open daily, except Mondays and holidays, and has paths for walking, benches for quiet meditation and shrines for worship.
3401 Serra Road
Malibu, CA 90265
Meanwhile, this picturesque venue, a Catholic retreat and conference center, provides a beautiful, serene setting for personal reflection and renewal. Serra Retreat is located on top of a 26-acre knoll in gorgeous Malibu with views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains. Moreover, the large property includes paths and walkways with benches for guests to read, meditate and enjoy the manicured gardens. The Franciscan Friars continue the tradition begun in 1943 of welcoming group and private retreats, as well as workshops. The public is welcome to visit the grounds for personal prayer and relaxation Monday through Friday, as well as to participate in personal or group retreats on weekdays and weekends.