The Sundance Film Festival is exciting enough to draw almost 50,000 people to Utah each year, but if you love good food and the outdoors, the festival is just an added perk.
During the 10-day event, screenings take place in multiple cities, so we’ve mapped out great activities and delicious food close to the most popular Sundance theaters for those of you who want to do more than stare at a screen all day.
See our guide to attending Sundance for tips on navigating the movie madness.
Do: Sundance Mountain Resort
When Robert Redford opened Sundance Mountain Resort, he couldn’t get a loan from the bank. Since then, the resort has become one of Utah’s most magical destinations and a refuge for artists and filmmakers on 5,000 acres up Provo Canyon. You can spend the day skiing or simply enjoying the quiet while you shop for an artisan-made gift—Redford is also a patron of the jewelry designers, rug makers and painters.
Dine: Tree Room Restaurant
With soft lighting and Native American rugs on wooden walls, the Tree Room Restaurant is the idyllic place for dining post-ski. Try the steelhead trout with prosciutto and smoked paprika sauce before following the smell of pines and view of Mount Timpanogos outside.
See: Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room
Make your day at Sundance Mountain Resort Saturday, Jan. 23 or Monday, Jan. 25. On Saturday at 3 p.m. you can break from the slopes to watch the documentary Resilience, about a new movement among doctors, educators and communities using brain research to disrupt cycles of violence, disease and addiction. On Monday, at noon, watch Captain Fantastic, about a Pacific Northwest father (Viggo Mortensen) who raises his kids deep in the forest and the struggle they face as they reenter society.
Downtown Salt Lake City
Land of the Enlightened
photo courtesy of Sundance Film Festival
Do: City Creek Canyon and Gallivan Center Ice Rink
Run, jog or hike up City Creek Canyon on the north side of downtown Salt Lake City. The entrance to the Canyon is a park filled with war memorials, and the path takes you into the canyon for miles and miles alongside a creek and under fir and pine trees. Dogs are welcome.
If you’re more comfortable on ice, skate outside at the Gallivan Center Ice Rink in downtown Salt Lake.
Dine: Even Stevens Sandwiches and Avenues Bistro
For a daytime bite, hit up Even Stevens Sandwiches, where, for every sandwich you order, they donate a sandwich to someone or some organization in need. Our picks include the sloppy Joe made with beef and chorizo slow-simmered with pickled red onion, and the banh belly sandwich stuffed with soy glazed pork belly, pickled slaw, roasted jalapenos, cucumbers, garlic aioli and cilantro.
A casual restaurant set in an urban homestead (honey and eggs are from the backyard bees and hens), Avenues is a tight-knit eatery in the city’s popular Avenues neighborhood. Eat simple yet delicious dishes from food raised (or caught) and cooked with integrity. The breads are made on site by the owner’s daughter of Back Alley Bakery—don’t miss her marbled rye bread made with Valrhona Chocolate or brown butter monkey bread, thick with pecans.
See: Broadway Centre Cinema and Eccles Theater
If you spend the day in downtown Salt Lake City on Monday, Jan. 25, you can catch The Land of the Enlightened (pictured above) at 6:45 p.m., in which director Pieter-Jan De Pue takes viewers into war-torn Afghanistan, where young gangs of boys sell explosives from leftover mines, control trade routes and make their playgrounds amid the ruins of war. Otherwise, on Friday, Jan. 29 at 11:59 p.m., catch Yoga Hosers, a funny, quirky film starring Johnny Depp, Depp’s daughter and screenwriter Kevin Smith’s daughter. Both films will be screened at the Broadway Centre Cinema.
Plan to be in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 22 at 9 a.m. if you want to see Other People, a film that captures a funny and relatable family. For something more serious, visit Salt Lake on Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m. or Jan. 26 at 9 a.m. for screenings of Little Men, in which two middle school children deal with new friendships and gentrification. Both will be screened at the Eccles Theater.