The Sundance Film Festival has been known to be the launching pad for many a successful independent film (Little Miss Sunshine, The Usual Suspects, and this year’s film-to-watch, Boyhood, all premiered at Sundance)—but this once small, idyllic film festival set in the mountains of Park City, Utah, is now much, much more than its humble beginnings. For two weeks every year in late January and early February, Park City becomes a hotspot laden with celebrities—albeit, more clad in North Face than their usual Christian Dior or McQueen. And with the influx of the who’s who of Hollywood, a flock of brands, shops, clubs, and restaurants follow suit with pop-up shops galore. So if you’re heading to the mountains this festival season, or if you just want to know what’s up, The Tig turned to the lovely Rachel Lauder to be our guide. As a co-producer of the film The Stanford Prison Experiment (not to mention coming from a lineage that might be familiar to all you beauty junkies out there), Rachel and the cast of crew have taken on Sundance to premiere their highly anticipated film, so she’s truly an insider at this year’s festival. Many thanks, Rachel, for taking all of us on this awesome journey into one of the world’s coolest and most fawn-worthy festivals. Take it away!
Montage Deer Valley – One of the newest in the luxury chain to open in Park City, this gorgeous hotel and residences (that calls itself the “Majesty of Deer Valley”, and for good reason) has a ski-in-ski out location atop Empire Pass on Deer Valley ski resort. Not only are the rooms phenomenal, the hotel also boasts an amazing spa, delicious restaurants, and even a bowling alley! And it’s only a 10 min drive to Main St. Park City.
Stein Eriksen Lodge – A famous Deer Valley resort with ski-in ski-out location that was built to resemble a 5-star Nordic resort offers remarkable, world-renowned accommodations including luxury condo rentals. Oh, and it also has a world famous brunch (most importantly, of course).
Hotel Park City – Located alongside the slopes of Park City, you’ll truly get a taste of a beautiful, traditional ski resort with its wooden walls, beautiful fireplaces, and plush leather decor—but that doesn’t mean it’s not without its modern luxuries, like a world-renowned spa.
Bistro 412 – This restaurant located in the heart of Main Street may be packed during Sundance, but it has a chill, relaxed vibe that’s a place to go to have fun, but not to be seen (and we all know there are more than enough of those to go around at this festival). The upstairs area gets very popular as the evening hour starts to get later as it’s not only a good place to eat, but it’s also a great place to drink, especially since there’s a DJ that starts spinning after 10pm.
Eveleigh x Snow Lodge– The L.A. hotspot set up post at The Snow Lodge for the 2015 festival—and if you haven’t had a chance to try the one on the Sunset Strip, head here for that Hollywood feel in the middle of the mountains. The food is fantastic, the setting is intimate, and the best part is that it’s actually located off of Main Street, so you’re outside of all the hustle and bustle.
ChefDance – We chose this as the location for one of our film’s final dinners in Sundance because the concept and dining experience is brilliant. The restaurant brings in about 70 acclaimed chefs, and each night, a handful of them create a special dinner with booze pairings for every specific film. Incredible!
Talisker Club* – Farm to table fine dining that also has an amazing atmosphere and gorgeous decor with black and white tiling and an open kitchen. The restaurant with one of the most highly sought-after reservation list is located in the heart of Main St., so you’re walking to distance to all the bars and shops.
Tao – Whether you’re at the one in Vegas, NYC, or at Sundance, this is the place to see and be seen. It’s packed, rowdy, and a whole lot of fun if you really want that true festival party experience. I saw Gina Rodriguez standing outside for over 30 minutes—so if a recent Golden Globe winner has to wait to get in—you know this place gets crazy.
Flanagan’s – An old school Irish pub where festival-goers head for a nice, cold beer when they’re sick of all the scene-y spots around town. It has a super laid-back vibe and is a fantastic place to just chill out with friends at the end of a (very long) day.
Blue Door/Grey Goose – The scene of our afterparty—and it was definitely the right place for a celebration. They offer up some serious Sundance-themed drinks, like hot cider with vodka and a cocktail with ginger beer and basil. It also has a wonderful outdoor patio (with heaters, don’t worry) that overlooks Main Street.
Burns Cowboy Shop – The most authentic (literally) country store you’ll find in all of Park City—Burns has been outfitting cowboys (and wannabe cowboys) in western wear for over 140 years. The store is filled to the brim with handmade leather goods and carries over 3,000 pairs of cowboy boots. Yee-haw!
High West – A whiskey distillery and saloon that pretty much speaks for itself. This place makes some awesome whiskey. They also offer up some food that they’ve dubbed “High Country Cuisine” to fill you up after you’ve downed (oh, I mean sipped) your whiskey tasting.
Birchbox Pop-Up* – Tig beauty fav and collaborator Birchbox has set up shop during this year’s Sundance. It may be snowing and you may be completely bundled up, but you certainly never know who you’re going to bump into at the festival—so you’ll definitely want to get your makeup on.
Cole Sport Park City* – A two level high end sporting good and mountain lifestyle store. They carry all of the top and most stylish ski brands like Frauenschuh and Bogner. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West even got outfitted there last week!
Ski – Deer Valley and Park City are two of the best ski resorts in the world. Deer Valley is a playground for the rich and famous, and it’s strictly skiing only (so it’s really great for us skiers). And if you’re heading to Deer Valley, don’t miss out on The St. Regis for their legendary après-ski. Park City is a little (ok, a lot) more relaxed, and it’s a much better option (well, your only option) if you’re a snowboarder.
Alpine Coaster – Channel your inner child and take a whirl down this Park City Mountain roller coaster on—wait for it—an alpine sled.
* TIG TIP
Images via: Rachel Lauder, The Hollywood Reporter, Bonjour, Exclusive Resorts, Absolut, Utah Style and Design, Bistro412, Popsugar, Project 22, Sweet Courage, Hawt Celebs, Deer Valley, St. Regis Deer Valley