Sundance comes to Park City once a year in a flash of celebrities, concerts, free stuff and of course, movies. Some locals forgo the trek up the mountain and remain in Salt Lake where you can still catch almost all of the movies screening at Sundance, however; to get the full experience I highly advocate going to Park City for some of the best people watching you might get all year. Here are a few of things we feel like you should consider if you plan on having a successful Sundance experience.
Getting Sundance tickets seems to change every year. If you are a local, you have the advantage of earlier ticket purchasing and the option to buy individual tickets. Since I have yet to make my millions, I always go for the individual tickets which are $20 a piece and usually are open for sale a couple of weeks before the festival. If you are not a local, you don’t get as early of a time-slot to buy, but individual tickets are still available. There are also ticket packages that range from $200 to upwards of $1,500. Buying tickets can start as early as October so make sure you set some reminders to check the website.
There is also an option to waitlist Sundance tickets via the Sundance app or out in front of the box office. Their site has more info on that as well. I also highly recommend downloading the Sundance app since it has info on the movies, maps, great facts and can even create a calendar for you so you never miss a movie.
From Salt Lake promptly call Uber Chopper, for a cool $200 a person, to drop you off in Park City. You can look like the fake celeb you have always wanted to impersonate. Yes, this was a real thing this year – Uber app upped the anti and provided private chopper rides from Salt Lake up to the mountain (we considered it, if only to take awesome instagram pictures). If you are commuting from Salt Lake be prepared to pay for parking. The minimum is $20 for the day and you can take their very quick and easy shuttle up to Main St. until 2 a.m. Our go-to parking place is at the Yarrow Hotel which is one of the main stops on the lime shuttle route. And don’t worry, Sundance has volunteers at almost every bus stop to help you navigate the many route circles. They don’t want you to miss your movie either!
An Important note: During the time of Sundance, Park City to Salt Lake becomes the most ticketed stretch of highway in the country, if you needed any more reason to not drink and drive. The fuzz is everywhere and it’s likely to be snowing which means only the soberest of drivers should attempt the commute. Its always best to play it safe!
What to do when you get there
Okay you made it there, now what? If you are not planning on seeing movies, there is still plenty to do! Sponsors come in and set up camp up and down Main St. Pop into what ever you can and explore what they have to offer. Some require credentials but you can check on the Sundance App which ones are open to the public. A lot of the pop-ups provide free food and drinks, and even charging stations if your phone is about to kick the bucket. This year there were also some interactive exhibits, virtual reality demos, and photo booths that you could access right off of Main St.
Now for the really important part, people watching. My go to location is O’Shucks. They have an outdoor patio on Main and chalices of beer to keep you hydrated and happily people watching for hours. You can also get equally good entertainment in some of the booths that sponsors have set up on the street.
This may be the trickiest part of Sundance. My biggest tip is that if you are not on a list, or a hoard of 5 females don’t even bother. The act of getting on lists is sometimes a lot easier than you would imagine. A lot of parties are free to RSVP for, you just have to do it a head of time. So follow some of the sponsors on twitter or check their events calendars and you can easily find some parties to put your name on the list for. Of course this is advice from someone who has no connection to the film industry. If you are being flown in for Sundance, you are likely to have a better time and already be on a few lists.
If you don’t RSVP there are some bars you can get into with a cover charge ranging from $5-$20. Just look for the local taverns: NoName, Wasatch Brewery, O’shucks, Collies, ect and you should have no problem getting in there.