For ten days each year, Park City transforms. We go from a bustling ski town to an international hot-spot filled with celebrities, directors, producers, movie buyers, and, of course, sponsors. Fashionably, our guests shift from GoreTex clad to more likely adorned in (p)leather and stilettos. While some merchants move out for the festival to make room for official and non-official venues and sponsor activation, many of our year-round merchants remain open for business.
As the festival nears, we like to share a few tips we’ve learned over the years to help everyone enjoy the Sundance Film Festival. Whether you are a longtime Park City local, a seasoned Sundancer, or here for your first visit, we’re confident you’ll learn a thing or two.
What to Wear
The most critical wardrobe decision you can make for the festival is sensible footwear. Even if it doesn’t appear to be very snowy, Park City is a mountain town located nearly 7,000 feet above sea level, and it is the middle of winter. You will likely be walking outside. Don’t stress if you arrive in Park City without proper footwear; several Main Street merchants sell fashionable and sensible shoes and boots appropriate (I promise such a thing does exist) for Park City’s winter climate.
As discussed, it will be cold during the festival, which means you’ll want to consider a hat and a warm coat. What you wear underneath the coat depends on where you are going and your coat. If headed for a night on the town we get it, you probably do want to wear that little black dress just make sure your coat keeps you warm getting to and from the venue and that note about footwear above still applies, pack the stilettos in your bag.
What to Eat
Park City has some of the best restaurants you will find in a mountain town, and there are a number of them. If you’ve yet to make reservations, you’ll probably want to work on that now and remember to be flexible. Many restaurants will have a few prime shifts that may prove challenging to get a table, but many of the top bars and restaurants offer bar service sometimes without a reservation. If you have a small party call your top spots and see what they can offer. If you’re flexible, consider lunch. You’ll still get to experience the restaurant and may even save a little money visiting during lunch service.
There will likely be a meal or two you’ll want to grab-and-go. Park City Provisions by Riverhorse at the top of Main Street offers quick service cuisine by the team from the famed Riverhorse located on Main Street. Crystal Park Cantina isn’t quite grab-and-go, but you will find quick-service Mexican cuisine open to the public.
You will need an afternoon pick-me-up (or two). While many of the official Sundance venues offer free coffee, we recommend stopping by Java Cow right in the middle of Main Street or Atticus on Lower Main for fresh-made pastries and delicious warm drinks.
Where to Party
Let’s be honest, Sundance may have started as a festival of film, but these days it doubles as a festival of fun and 2020 is no exception.
Many venues have top acts booked with tickets available to the public. Check performances at The Cabin, Park City Live, and OP Rockwell, or pop into the Spur, No Name or O’Shucks to grab a drink and chill.
How to Get Around
First, please don’t drive. It’s just not necessary. There are limited ways to access Main Street, and the more cars that are on the road make it more difficult for everyone. The Park City / Summit County transit system is FREE and is supplemented by Sundance Film Festival transit during the festival, meaning it is easy to hop on a bus and get where you need to go.
Where to Experience
Even if you don’t have tickets for screenings and don’t have an official Sundance credential, you CAN enjoy the atmosphere Sundance brings to Park City. Many official Sundance venues are open to the public and offer freebies to any who visit. My must-stops include:
- Acura Festival Village at 480 Swede Alley with complimentary hot beverages, phone charging stations, and photo booths to document your experiences.
- Sundance TV HQ for panel conversations with industry leaders in content creation and entertainment and of course coffee, swag and festival updates.
- Chase Sapphire on Main where you can pick up the official 2020 Sundance Film Festival water bottle.
Browse all official Sundance Film Festival venues here.
Even if Sundance isn’t your thing, check out your favorite shops and restaurants to see what extras they are offering during the festival. The first weekend of the festival, Mary Jane’s will be offering Trish McEvoy Pop Up with complimentary makeovers, and Cake Boutique will feature an NSF Truck Show and Surratt Pop Up.
As Sundance approaches get your game plan together, but most importantly, enjoy this opportunity. The Sundance Film Festival is a bucket list item for many, many people, and for those of us lucky enough to live in Park City, it is right in our backyard.
I hope to see you on the street.