Skiers in Park City, Utah, have had to make way for movie buffs and celebrities who flooded the town last week for the annual Sundance Film Festival. Even if you missed the kickoff, the fest runs through January 26, so there’s still plenty of time to attend movie screenings, not to mention enjoy countless parties, luxury hotels and good food. Here’s what to know about where to go, party, stay and eat this year:
Where to go
With so many screenings and events filling the Sundance calendar, selecting where to go can seem daunting. A few buzzed-about movies to keep in mind are The Skeleton Twins (Saturday Night Live alums Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader), Laggies (Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz and Sam Rockwell) and Wish I Was Here (Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Josh Gad). Catch the tail end of the festival’s 16th installment of the ASCAP Music Café showcase, too, with performances by Matthew Perryman Jones (Jan. 21), Cardinal Sons (Jan. 23) and The Parlotones (Jan. 24), among others.
Where to party
Park City’s major thoroughfare is Main Street, which is dotted with various restaurants and bars that are prime for a good time. Village at the Lift is back again for its 12th year, bringing a collection of pop-up areas where you can relax and hang out. Stop by the Stella Artois Café for a cold brew and cuisine from chefs Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of popular Los Angeles-based eateries Son of a Gun and Animal Restaurant, or sneak a peek at the festival coverage at the CNN Film Lounge.
Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Waldorf Astoria Park City recently built its outdoor Powder Ice Lounge, a 14-foot bar made fully of carved ice along with sculpted ice furniture. Cozy up with a fur blanket and a glass of champagne as you delight in live acoustic guitar and passed hors d’oeuvres such as goat cheese and bacon flatbread or elk carpaccio. Of course, no night is complete without paying a visit to the pop-up Tao nightclub on Main Street, where DJs such as Jesse Marco, Theory and Jonny Lennon will spin tunes nightly until 4 a.m.
Where to stay
There’s no shortage of luxury accommodations in Park City, so you really have your pick of the bunch when it comes to where you rest your head at night. Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The St. Regis Deer Valley is less than two miles from the screenings on Main Street, making it a convenient spot to stay during the festival. Ultra-luxe amenities such as St. Regis’ signature 24-hour butler service, nightly champagne sabering and keys to a Bentley Flying Spur or Continental GT Speed (until January 21) make for a memorable experience.
Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Montage Deer Valley is another sure bet, located slopeside and just a quick drive from the Sundance scene. Once you’ve have enough of the action on Main Street, retreat back to the hotel’s Vista Lounge, where you can listen to the sweet sounds of well-known artists such as KT Tunstall (Jan. 21) and Lee DeWyze (Jan. 22). Aside from all-star music, Montage’s ski-in/ski-out access proves especially handy if you want a break from the screenings to go out on the slopes.
A little-known way to land those coveted screening tickets is to book one of the festival packages at Sundance Mountain Resort. The Epic Package provides four nights in a mountain cottage, breakfast, eight tickets to screenings at the Sundance Resort Village, two tickets to screenings in Park City and two festival credentials. The Epic Premier Package includes the same perks, plus a dinner in the Foundry Grill, another dinner in The Tree Room and a massage. Set at the base of Mount Timpanogos, Sundance Mountain Resort may seem out of the way — the Provo hotel is about 35 miles outside of the festival action — but it offers a complimentary shuttle to Park City. Bonus: It has its own screening room.
Where to eat
Toast to Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford by having a meal at his Park City restaurant, Zoom, located right around the corner from Main Street. The warm, rustic feel of the space is complemented by its sophisticated American cuisine, with comfort dishes such as truffle mac and cheese, braised short ribs and wild mushroom risotto on the menu. Whether or not you’re staying at The St. Regis Deer Valley, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant, J&G Grill, should also be at the top of your dining list. Plates such as grilled Clarks Farm lamb chops or Koosharem Valley trout can be enjoyed alongside a crackling fireplace and views of the mountains. Don’t forget about Four-Star Powder restaurant inside Waldorf Astoria Park City, either — the eatery’s signature dish during the festival is roasted venison with gnocchi, braised endive and tomato fondue.
Photos Courtesy of Mark Maziarz, Fred Hayes and Starwood Hotels And Resorts Worldwide