Zen in the city: 5 tranquil Metro Detroit Spots for Meditation and Mindfulness

By: Katie Goncalves | May 29, 2023
Overhead view of the Scarab Club, Detroit

Overhead view of the Scarab Club, Detroit

Life in the city can get incredibly stressful. From the traffic and construction to crowded places and never-ending things to do, it can be hard to find the time to just chill out. But taking care of our mental health is more important now than ever and ensuring we have time to ourselves in a peaceful place is key. Luckily there are some places right in the city that allow people to kick back and relax for a bit and just enjoy the peacefulness of their surroundings. Here are five tranquil Metro Detroit spots for meditation and mindfulness.

The Scarab Club

The Scarab Club is an art and literary club founded in 1907. The Scarab Club is housed in a historic mansion designed by renowned architect Albert Kahn. According to Executive Director Kathryn Diamond, “The Scarab Club serves as a gallery, with dozens of exhibitions that feature regional artists and are free and open to the public; a resource for artists to local artists, with opportunities for them to display, sell and educate the public about their work; an intimate concert venue featuring both young and seasoned musicians in a multitude of genres including chamber music, blues, and jazz and other genres; a studio, where both experienced artists and novices can come to cultivate new skills and produce work; and a meeting place of deep historical significance, committed to promoting Detroit’s image as a hub of creativity, innovation, and inspiration.”

The gallery at the Scarab Club, Detroit
Gallery at the Scarab Club, Detroit

Belle Isle 

Belle Isle is a little pocket of calm just outside of Downtown Detroit. You can bring a picnic and enjoy the grounds, or take a walk by the water. A popular destination on Belle Isle is the Belle Isle Conservatory. Although it is currently closed for renovations, The Belle Isle Conservatory was opened in 1904 and features a variety of exotic plants, including palms, orchids, ferns, and cacti. The conservatory is an incredibly serene and peaceful environment. Stroll through the tropical and arid sections inside which feature plants from all around the world. Or on a nice day, enjoy the lily pond and rose garden outdoors.

Detroit Zen Center

The Detroit Zen Center was founded in 1990 by Zen Monk Hwalson Sunim. The Detroit Zen Center is a spiritual branch of Sudeok-sa Temple in Korea, founded 5-800AD. They offer daily meditation sessions, as well as workshops and retreats. For those seeking the ultimate zen retreat, you can stay in a room in a residence adjacent to the Detroit Zen Center, which includes daily meditation practice, organic and vegan breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and volunteering opportunities. 

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Cranbrook House & Gardens

Cranbrook House & Gardens is a historic estate designed by renowned Detroit architect Albert Kahn and features a variety of architectural styles, including English Tudor and Italian Renaissance. The gardens feature formal terraces, a reflecting pool, a bog garden, and a sunken garden. Cranbrook House & Gardens is a popular location for outdoor meditation due to its natural beauty and serene atmosphere.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens

The Matthaei Botanical Gardens cover over 300 acres and feature a variety of plants, including native Michigan plants, tropical plants, and desert plants. There are a variety of outdoor spaces including the Great Lakes Garden, the Gaffield Children’s Garden, and the Gateway Garden of New World Plants. The Sitting Garden is a popular place for some tranquil quiet time, as are the four walking trails that wind through the 90+ acres North of the main building.