The Sundance Film Festival, held in Park City, Utah, each January is the perfect winter getaway for your post-Christmas blues. Once a small mining town about 30 minutes outside of Salt Lake City, Park City is now best known as a ski destination and playground for celebrities during the 10-day festival. Movie buffs and celebrity-spotters, alike, flock to this town each year for a behind-the-scenes look at the world of independent film.

Where to stay

While there are plenty of hotels and resorts in Park City, they can cost a pretty penny during the festival. Consider renting a condo or home nearby through Airbnb; this option is often cheaper and gives you the ability to cook your own meals. Salt Lake City is another popular lodging option as it’s not only home to the primary airport used by festivalgoers, it is the location for some of the festival’s screenings, which spread out across three cities. 

Tips for the festival

Do your homework before you get to Park City. Be sure to check out the movie guide that’s released in December. Tickets cost just $20 per show and give you access to a Q&A session with the director and, occasionally, the cast members.

If you can’t snag tickets to a film you wanted to see, there are wait-list lines you can try as well. Be prepared to wait up to two hours in the cold for these re-released tickets though. With the average temperature in this rugged mountain climate ranging between 12° and 33° Fahrenheit in January, be sure to bundle up.

When you’re not watching films, take in the musical and comedic performances happening around town, or check out one of the many panels where you can learn everything about a film’s production.

Where to eat

Conde Nast Traveler has a list of hot spots to check out when in Park City, including Ciseros, a little Italian restaurant with a nightclub in the basement; the Freshmarket on Park Ave., a regular grocery store where you may run into a celebrity or two; and Zoom, which is home to a mouth-watering truffle mac and cheese.

Take five

Park City boasts some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the country, and January brings with it more than just good cinema to the area; it brings an average snowfall of about 30 inches. With many people focused on the festival, the slopes will be calling with fresh powder and shorter lift lines. Check out Park City Mountain Resort, which has a run that ends right in town.

Have you ever been to the Sundance Film Festival? We want to hear about it! Share your experience with us and other Fast Park guests on our Facebook page.