For most of the year Park City Utah is all about skiing, hiking and outdoor adventures. But, for 10 days every January the focus switches and movies become the main attraction. During Sundance Film Festival industry insiders, celebrities, filmmakers and movie buffs all come together to celebrate independent films. Whether you love the escape of a good movie or prefer thought-provoking documentaries, the star-studded festival offers something for every film lover. But, before the fun starts, there is a bit of planning involved in attending. First timers and old pros alike have questions about how to make the most of their Sundance experience. We have all the information you need to make your Sundance trip a success, and it all starts with finding the right place to stay and booking it early. The only thing we left out is the popcorn.
Where should I stay?
To make the most of your Sundance experience, you need to rent a vacation home. Sure, you could stay at one of the many resorts or hotels in the area, but no one wants to leave a busy day at the fest just to go back to an over-full resort. And, through you will surely want to sample the local food, restaurants and bars will be packed with festivalgoers and the waits will be long. Renting a house, condo or townhouse gives you plenty of privacy and loads of convenience. You’ll be able to sleep in a comfy bed, sip coffee on a private patio, make your favorite meal in a gourmet kitchen and end the day sipping wine in the hot tub. You won’t get any of that at a hotel.
When should I book?
Now! Planning a trip to Sundance isn’t like waking up on a Sunday morning and deciding to see a last-minute matinee. With over 40,000 people heading to Park City for the festival, the best vacation homes start booking up as early as the summer before the festival, I would plan to book sooner! However, many excellent vacation rental properties are still available in October and November, but you need to act quick. They don’t last long! While you’ll want to compare homes to find the best one for you group, once you see something you like, don’t hesitate! If you don’t jump on that amazing rental property quickly, someone else will be staying in the perfect place and living out your Sundance dream.
How do I find the right place?
The perfect vacation home for your Sundance trip all depends on your group and your style. Of course, you will want a home in a convenient location, so start your search in the prime areas near the festival venues. If you are looking to stretch your travel dollar, sharing a home with a group of friends is the best way to get a great value. Many homes in the area feature multiple master suites and are expertly laid out to accommodate big groups.
The best way to find the right vacation rental is to get some help from the pros. Resort Property Management lists all the best Park City area vacation rentals for you to search through at you leisure. Whether you are sneaking in a few minutes of vacation planning at the office while your boss isn’t looking, or your are fighting insomnia at 3:00 AM, vacation proprieties are waiting for you to find them. And, if you want a little help booking your accommodations before they are all gone, a quick call to Resort Property Management gets you all the help you need.
Once I’m there how do I get around?
Park City offers a free shuttle service all year long, making it easy for visitors to get to the slopes of into town. During the 10 magical days and nights of the festival, there is also a free Sundance shuttle which allows visitors to hop on and off at the various venues. Getting around Park City couldn’t be easier. That two, or even four-car garage at your vacation rental property may look very tempting, but there is no reason to rent a vehicle. Many vacation homes are located just steps from shuttle stops and, if you want to get away from the festival, ski in ski out properties let you step out the door and into the fun.
When should I go?
The 10 days of the Sundance Film Festival are broken into two sections, the first half, and the second half. Every film is screened at least once in the first five days and again in the second five days. Plus, the parties and celebration continue from beginning to end, so you will be able to soak up the full experience no matter when you go. More celebrities attend during the first half of the festival, so if you want to do a little Hollywood star gazing that it is the time to go. However, fewer people attend overall during the second half, making it easier to score a luxury vacation home during those days. Plus, the town and venues more crowded. So, if you want to do a little actual stargazing and experience all Park City has to offer, the less busy second-half of the festival might be for you.
What movies should I see?
The Egyptian Theatre in Park City for the Sundance Film Festival. Forget the traffic, crowds or long lines; the biggest challenge at Sundance is deciding which films to see. With over 200 films screened at the festival each year, there is no shortage of excellent movies to indulge in. There are 10 categories of films screened at Sundance, including World Cinema, Shorts, Premiers and a Park City at Midnight section for films that are sure to garner a strong reaction, such as horror flicks and over-the-top comedies. Films in the Independent Feature Film competition usually get the most attention and draw the largest crowds.
Is there anything else to do at the festival?
Absolutely! Aside from the film screening there are many movie-related activities to take part in. There are workshops, Q&A sessions and panels where you can learn more about the film industry and hear the stars’ take on some of their roles.
Though Sundance is primarily a film festival, creativity of all sorts get a chance to shine. If you are a music lover, there are plenty of concerts and live music in the bars and pubs around town. Plus, there are comedy shows from both big name and up-and-coming acts. Park City has a lively art community year-round, so art shows ranging from photography to landscape paintings are a natural part of the festival.
And of course, there are the parties! The biggest bashes are the opening and closing galas, but there are multiple parties going on every night. In fact, nightlife in Park City is never bigger or brighter than it is during Sundance. In addition to the local bars, some of the most famous clubs in the world open pop-up locations to welcome celebrities and guests alike.
Yeah, I’m not into that…
Perfect! The 10 days of Sundance are still an excellent time to come to Park City, even if you don’t want to partake in the festival. In fact, it’s one of the best times of the year to hit the slopes. Since the majority of people are in town for the big event, the mountains are far less crowded. While everyone else is sitting in theaters, you can have your pick of ski runs with no need to dodge anyone.