Free places to meditate in Melbourne’s CBD
By Sarah O’Brien
The CBD might be a busy, bustling place but there are still pockets amongst all the busy that can accommodate some much-needed meditation time. I know when I worked in the CBD finding a spot to sit down and close my eyes outside the office could completely shift my day.
We asked our Mahasoma community where they meditated around the CBD and we got some great responses! We picked the best and most accessible places and have compiled them below for you all to enjoy.
If you have any additions to the list, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add them in!
Enjoy your new meditation spots!
Mingary – the quite place
Location: Russell Street side of the St Michaels Uniting Church, 120 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD
Hours: 9am – 4.30pm weekdays, 9am – 1pm weekends
‘Mingary’ is a Gaelic word meaning ‘the quiet place’. It is a non-denominational space that has been developed as a place for personal reflection and offers a peaceful escape from the city outside. It’s a small space you can go into during opening hours that offers a bit more quiet that some of the outdoor spaces and does have a few chairs to meditate on.
Kedampa Meditation Centre
Location: 140 Queen Street, Melbourne CBD
Hours: Monday – Thursday, see website for more details
The Kedampa Meditation Centre is set up as an open meditation space. Up a short elevator ride, it’s a huge space that offers chairs, cushions and bolsters to meditate on. It’s usually very quiet, and you can use the space for as long as you like. You need to sign in at the desk downstairs and then the space is all yours!
St Paul’s Cathedral
Location: Corner of Flinders street and Swanson Street, Melbourne
Hours: check in on when Mass is being held, otherwise the space is open to the public. Mass times are updated regularly on the homepage of the website.
St Paul’s is a beautiful cathedral right opposite Flinders Street Station. It can get a bit chilly at times so rug up, but it’s a nice, safe space to duck in to whenever you need to close your eyes for 20 mins. You have to check in with the Mass times, but otherwise it’s open to the public to use.
State Library of Victoria
Location: 328 Swanston St, Melbourne
Hours: 10 am to 6 or 9 pm every day
There are so many little nooks for meditating in the State Library! It’s a safe, quiet space so you can easily put your headphones in and meditate. It can be a little quieter upstairs rather than the bigger reading rooms.
Carlton/ Parliament/Fitzroy Gardens
Location: Spring Street and Wellington Parade
There are 3 big open gardens right next to each other up the top end of the city. Parliament Gardens are right across the road from the Lonsdale St exit of Parliament station, opposite the 96 tram stop. They’re smaller gardens with some nice water features and are nice and close to main public transport routes.
The Carlton Gardens offer a bit more space, and are right next to the Exhibition Building. There is a lot of bench space around the park and it’s a great space to stop and meditate before heading out to Fitzroy, Carlton or Collingwood.
The Fitzroy Gardens offer a lot of nice, private leafy space. They’re a bit further to get too but if you have the time, it’s well worth the effort!
Location: Corner of William and La Trobe Streets
The Flagstaff Gardens are right in the heart of the legal precinct but are a beautiful, quiet escape from the busy court complex. They get quite busy in summer, but you can always find a space to meditate in. I spent many hours meditating here and would highly recommend.
Alexandra/Royal Botanical Gardens
Location: St Kilda Road
Located right along the rivers edge, the Alexandra Gardens are only a stone’s throw away from the Arts Centre and Flinders Street Station but offer some nice quiet spaces for meditation and people watching. If you keep following the path around, you’ll find yourself in the Royal Botanic Gardens where there are an infinite number of places you can find for meditation!
Location: Behind Federation Square, Batman Avenue
Tucked behind Federation Square, Birrarung Marr is an art-lined space that is always open. 'Birrarung' is the traditional name of the Yarra River, and 'marr' refers to the mist that sometimes settles over the Birrarung. Loosely the words are often translated to 'river of mists'. The space was opened to celebrate art and the culture of the traditional owners of the land on which Melbourne has been built.