This is Part II of North Point Lodge's Sundance Film Festival basics series. Part I discusses the basic facts about the Sundance Film Festival. Part II discusses attending the Sundance Film Festival on a budget. Part III discusses my favorite tips and secrets for making the Sundance Film Festival a memorable experience.
Rubbing shoulders with movie stars is rarely a cheap experience, and the Sundance Film Festival is no exception. That said, there are simple ways that you can make a trip to the Sundance Film Festival surprisingly affordable. Here are our top strategies:
Book a Vacation Rental and Bring a Group
Our number one tip for is to book a vacation rental. Park City hotels during the Sundance Film Festival are notoriously expensive and fill up fast. Vacation rentals, on the other hand, are significantly more affordable on a per guest basis. North Point Lodge, for example, accommodates up to 19 people and charged $749 per night during the height of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. On a per guest basis, that's less than $40 per night! You won't find that kind of value from a hotel.
Sundance During the Second Week
The Sundance Film Festival is a 10 day affair. The first half of the festival is the most popular and, therefore, accommodations are less affordable. The second half of the festival, including after the winners are announced, is less popular and, therefore, accommodations are more affordable. You'll also have an easier time securing tickets if you come during the second weekend of the festival.
Prepare Your Own Food
Because vacation rentals have kitchens, you can also save a significant amount of money by preparing a few meals during your stay. There are a number of quality grocery stores and specialty food stores in the area with affordable prices. Plus, after a few days, eating out three times a day becomes a more of a chore.
There are amazing restaurants along Main Street, and you should definitely try some of them during your stay. To save a few dollars and escape the festival crowds, however, consider eating at a casual dining restaurant a bit further from Main Street, like at Squatters on Park Avenue. You can also try some of the restaurants located at Kimball Junction, near the Redstone Theater venue. Both of these options all located along the free bus and shuttle routes.
Use the Free Buses and Shuttles
When over 40,000 people descend on a small town, parking becomes a nightmare. Fortunately, Park City has an excellent free bus system and Sundance has festival shuttles that can get you where you need to go without worrying about where to park. You might even consider foregoing a rental car entirely by using a group limousine service to get from the airport to Park City. Just make sure to ask whether your vacation rental is located near a stop on Park City's free bus system or the festival shuttle route.