Chances are your favorite indie movie of all time—whether that'd be Reservoir Dogs, Garden State, Memento, Heathers, Tangerine, or American Psycho—had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Founded by Robert Redford, this venerable indie film fest attracts not only up-and-coming filmmakers but a slew of Hollywood heavyweights. During Sundance, the quaint but fabulous ski resort town becomes a hotspot for A-listers, so you’re bound to run into someone famous.
This year's festival, which kicks off on January 21, will premiere movies starring actors such as Julianne Moore, Paul Rudd, Anna Kendrick, Ewan McGregor, Ellen Page, Nick Jonas and Selena Gomez. Want to know what's Javier Bardem's favorite Italian restaurant in Park City is or where Ryan Gosling goes skiing? Don’t worry, we know just where to look.
Photo Credit: Washington School House Hotel
When it comes to accommodations, Sundance’s host hotel, the Waldorf Astoria, has everything you could ask for for a glitzy winter getaway—big rooms, grand chandeliers, cozy fireplaces, relaxing spa treatments and helicopter rides. Nearby, the Stein Eriksen Lodge is another great choice for a stay and provides high-end amenities and stylish touches you might expect from a resort built by (and named after) a Norwegian ski champion. As far as we know, Mariah Carey and Emmy Rossum didn't seem to have any complaints when they stayed there.
High-profile guests who value privacy over pampering should check into the Washington School House which boasts only 12 rooms in its 19th-century school house. This boutique hotel is so intimate, don't be surprised if you get to know your fellow guests during your stay, which has included various celebrities over the years such as Matthew McConaughey.
Photo Credit: Zoom
For a tasty meal in between movie screenings, you can turn to Park City's pseudo mayor Robert Redford. The actor opened a colorful and casual restaurant on Main St. named Zoom which is frequented by plenty of glitterati. For something with more gravitas, head over to Riverhorse, widely considered the best restaurant in Park City, and has been visited by Jeffrey Tambor. As for Javier Bardem, the Spanish actor has been spotted enjoying a hearty Italian meal at Grappa, a three-story rustic farmhouse. And if you're in the mood for Asian cuisine, follow in Dave Grohl’s footsteps and head to Shabu for sushi or take Lena Dunham’s lead and visit Wahso Asian Grill. The Girls creator hosted a benefit for Planned Parenthood there.
Photo Credit: O.P. Rockwell
As far as nightlife, Park City has only two places to go if you don't feel like drinking at a faux Irish pub. O.P. Rockwell is part swanky speakeasy cocktail lounge, one-part cozy stonewall lodge and part live music venue. Pretty much the only place in Park City that's aiming for an Aspen-level nightlife experience. If you want to suit up with a liquor jacket earlier in the day, High West Distillery and its craft whiskey is another local hotspot popular with the aprés ski set.
Photo Credit: Park City Mountain Resort
Recently two nearby resorts (Park City and Canyons) joined forces to become the largest single ski resort in the country. This means one ski lift ticket gets you twice the celeb sightings. Meanwhile members of the Sundance jury, like director Quentin Tarantino, have been seen hanging out at the more-upscale Deer Valley Ski Resort where snowboarding is not allowed. Not an Olympic champion when it comes to skiing or snowboarding? Pull a John Stamos and head over to Lofty Peaks Adventures for a day of 007-style snowmobiling.
Photo Credit: Silver Queen Fine Art Gallery
While the above suggestions may not always produce the result you want, one surefire way to run into an A-lister is simply by walking down Main St. The avenue is home to many restaurants, galleries and boutique shops. The Fatali Gallery features one-of-a-kind originals by the famous landscape photographer who has even-more famous fans like President Obama. The Silver Queen Fine Art Gallery has the type of contemporary artwork that lures in younger stars, like Emma Roberts and Chace Crawford.
But the ultimate place to see and (get paid to) be seen during Sundance has got to be the makeshift Village at the Lift, a promotional, paparazzi-laden hub that takes over Park City's Town Lift. This collection of pop-up shops, restaurants and branded booths, along with the Getty Image Portrait Studio, has attracted the likes of James Franco, Keira Knightley, supermodel Chanel Iman and a ton of other celebs who are guaranteed to show up (because they get paid to do so).