I'm so happy to finally have some time to get back to writing after working two jobs at once!
I have no idea how I pulled this off but I was somehow able to convince one of my very best friends to come to Sundance with me, meet Brando aka @brandonhoshaw on Instagram where you'll see he is full of mystery and adventure. Not only does he love to travel as much as I do, he's also pursuing lifestyle + wedding photography which makes traveling with him even more fun because he's not camera shy and he doesn't mind stopping for random pictures along the way. We first crossed paths in 2012 when I was still living in Seattle, he was besties with my neighbors, I was too so naturally, we all became good friends. Eventually, everyone started moving away and into their own lives and we ended up losing touch in 2015. The universe knew we were destined to be together though and in February 2017 we started talking again, so much that we actually planned a trip for him to come visit me that summer. It was one of the most intense ten days of my life, I moved out of my apartment into my very own place by myself, I lost a best friend of several years, and definitely had boy dramz, but Brando was there for me through it all. Since then he has come back out for my birthday and pre Christmas celebrations, and I am so grateful I got to experience my favorite event of the year with him.
January 17 - 22, 2018
I can't recommend our Airbnb enough, this was actually my second time staying here and both times truly exceeded all of my expectations. I started looking at lodging July 1, 2017, and after weighing my options I decided to book with Mike that same day. I paid a total of $1,386.00 which was $1,125 x 5 nights plus $133.00 service fee and $128.00 in occupancy taxes. Keep in mind this is the first week of the festival, and believe me when I say that $225/night is a pretty good average of what you'll find in Park City. The reason I find this place so valuable is the simple fact that we were a 10-minute drive from Main Street. The first time I did Sundance I stayed in Salt Lake City, and I never made that mistake again because if you're looking for that festival experience you're going to want to be part of the buzz which is in Park City.
If you haven't tried out Airbnb yet, here is $40 off your first trip on me :)
Brando only lives four hours from Utah so he decided to drive and so generously saved us from having to make the decision of whether or not to rent a car. I've explained in detail under TIPS my thoughts on this!
Here is the price breakdown: $64 in gas, $120 in parking and $32 in Lyfts, a grand total of $216 in transportation costs.
There is more to Park City than just Main Street!
Go see a film on opening night!
It's a special experience that I'm happy I was part of, there's nothing like starting off your festival on the very first night. I saw GENERATION WEALTH by Lauren Greenfield at the MARC Theatre and honestly, think it was the best movie to see before all the festivities began. I'm one of those people that feels discouraged when I do something super cool but don't have that perfect photo to show all of my Instagram followers what I've been up to. Lauren's perspective on the digital age reminded me that at the end of the day these things don't matter and they certainly don't last. It's showing at SXSW so if you're going this year I encourage anyone to check it out otherwise it will be released in the US and Canada this July!
On another note, there's always a Q&A after, and I encourage anyone to stay for it even if you don't have questions yourself. You get to see the director and sometimes even the cast, I always found the different questions to be interesting and once again it's all part of the festival experience.
I paid $650 for a 10 Ticket Package (First-Half) Credential, look out for my Sundance Ticket Guide!
PARK CITY YOGA ADVENTURES PADDLEBOARD YOGA
I found this little gem on Pinterest when I was researching what to do in Park City, photos of people doing downward facing dog on top of paddleboards in blue water caught my eye immediately.
The classes didn't book up as fast as I thought they would for that week, I made my reservation early but was able to change dates the week of once we figured out Brando's travel plans so I wouldn't stress too hard about making up your mind right away. They don't charge you until after your class which is nice because you can choose to pay with cash or a different card when you get there, and if plans change they just ask that you let them know 24 hours in advance.
It took us about 30 minutes to get there from our Airbnb, there was plenty of parking when we arrived, and we learned that there are other companies that rent out the crater for different activities, so if yoga isn't your thing do some research because we saw snorkeling and other fun things happening there as well.
Lastly, the water is PERFECT, it's not lukewarm, it's jacuzzi warm and it feels fantastic. I do not recommend bringing your phone to your board with you even if it's waterproof because we fell in a lot. If there's time after the class, the instructor will turn the lights on and help everyone get their photos before taking all the paddleboards out of the water.
The more people that join the class, the cheaper it is, so get your friends onboard, do keep in mind it is a two person minimum so you will need to convince at least one buddy to participate.
We paid $75 each plus tip, a total of $95.71 for this excursion.
We spent most of our time at the Youtube house visiting our friends that were helping run it. They were showing ISLE OF THE DOGS by Wes Anderson in VR which was such a treat because I thought it was only at New Frontier during the different Mobile segments and we did not get tickets in time to go. The whole upstairs was Wes Anderson themed and he's one of my favorites so this was definitely one of my festival highlights. They also served hot chocolate downstairs with large marshmallows that had our face on them! That's my favorite part of Main Street, is seeing all of the creative things different companies come up with.
We also spent time at Chase and Acura, but to be honest with you, many of the really cool houses are invite only so unless you have PR or you're rolling around with a celeb it will be difficult to find your way inside without strong connections. It's a good thing to consider when you're figuring out which weekend you want to come out for, weekend one is about the buzz and weekend two is more for movie lovers.
SNOW TUBING AT GORGOZA PARK
This was a last minute excursion all thanks to our friend Raquel who invited us along, we hit the hill right before seeing a film, it was definitely my idea of a perfect day.
You can buy an all-day pass or one ride, we went with just one ride since we were limited on time. You pick your tube, then ride up on a snow escalator, if you choose to do the big hill then you ride up on another device this time sitting in your tube and being pulled along to the top. Finally, you're at the top of the hill facing several different lanes, it's your choice which one you want to go down and then someone will help send you off when it's your turn.
It's not nearly as scary as it seems so if you feel like you shouldn't go because you don't have snow pants or you're afraid of flipping over it probably won't happen. Brando and I went down it side by side, I had my phone out the whole time taking pictures and felt super safe not holding on to my tube. It's a leisure ride, and by the time we got to the bottom, we honestly wanted to go again.
We paid $11.00 each for one ride!
I dropped the ball on taking photos of food on this trip, but I DID take a one of my favorite spot. Also, this is probably the most fun I've had trying new food because we tried anything and everything that looked cool. The other favorites that I didn't capture were Bangkok Thai on Main and Bistro 412 both on Main Street!
I spent $158.42 total on food, this also includes a few groceries that I picked up on my first day.
Main Street Pizza & Noodle
This was my very first meal in Park City, my dear friend Katie and I went here after she picked me up from the airport. We shared a caesar salad and each had our own pasta, I could have done without the salad but the garlic bread and tortellini were to die for. I found myself craving it throughout the rest of my trip but forced myself to try new things, oh, and the sparkling water is NOT extra yay!
As I've said above, this is a trip that should be planned early if you want to pay a reasonable price to stay in Park City and you are serious about seeing films which will require buying tickets in advance. I would recommend starting the planning process about 6 months before the festival.
If you're staying anywhere near a shuttle stop, most likely a fancy hotel, then I do not recommend renting a car because the shuttle is free and efficient for getting around. If you're not near one and staying in Park City I would recommend renting a car because Uber and Lyft rides will stack up fast and it's not a reliable means of transportation because they're not always available. Before we drove to The Library we were going to try to Lyft there and no matter what car we selected they were all an hour away.
If you are staying anywhere outside of Park City, definitely get a car.
More than anything I wish we had done more, like seeing Kaskade at Park City Live or going to something at The Music Cafe. But I think that's the fun part about a trip like this, every year is going to be different especially depending on who you go with. Brando and I are already talking about next year and we're actually considering going the second weekend. As I've been saying there's a lot of buzz during the first weekend which is exciting but because of how many industry attendees there were, it made it very difficult to see films on the waitlist and there was even an instance where ticket holders weren't getting in due to how many pass holders there were.
I will be writing a ticket guide next so look out for that for the 101 on everything tickets/films!