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Exclusive | Sundance 2009 Part Two

Exclusive | Sundance 2009 Part Two

Party Park City-style

Inside Park City
Park City lies 30 miles (a mere 40-minute drive) east of Salt Lake City, a destination with surprisingly enjoyable gay social possibilities. Although Park City itself has no gay bars, hangouts, or accommodations, the town is progressive and welcoming, and this is especially the case during Sundance.

Book Now!
If you haven't already booked a room during the week of Sundance, do so immediately. Many accommodations fill up months ahead of time. You can still always stay down the hill in Salt Lake City and commute each day; don't shun that option if you're trying to save money or you simply planned your Sundance visit too late.

Sleep in the Park
During Sundance, hotel rooms in Park City begin at nearly $200 a night, and condo and house rentals go for a good deal more. There's usually a five- to seven-night minimum, and it's often easier to score rooms during the latter half of Sundance than during the beginning. If you arrive by car, park it wherever you're staying and leave it there: Park City is relatively compact, with narrow roads. During the festival, parking is impossible and traffic a nuisance. On the other hand, an extensive network of shuttle buses and taxis serves the entire community and even outlying villages.

The "Inn" Crowd
If you want to be right in the thick of the action, consider staying at one of the downtown inns, such as romantic Washington School Inn (543 Park Ave; 435-649-3800 or 800-824-1672; $140+), which has 15 opulent rooms and sits two blocks from the Town Ski Lift.

A larger option in the heart of downtown, the Treasure Mountain Inn (255 Main St; 800-344-2460; $195+) has studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites, and is the site of the alternative Slamdance film festival. All Seasons Resorts ($199+) represent eight condos and are offering special rates for Queer Lounge participants.

Get a Lift
A sometimes overlooked fact about Park City while Sundance is happening: At the height of the winter ski season, lift lines are shortest during the film festival. If you're keen on attending a few film screenings but are just as interested in getting some time in on the slopes, visit Park City during Sundance.

You'll Need Calories
Park City abounds with stellar restaurants and bars. One of the most reliable, 350 Main (350 Main St; 435-649-3140; $19-29), serves some of the more creative fare in town. Although its main dining room is a bit stuffy, the side bar at Butcher's Chop House (751 Main St; 435-647-0040; $10-65) has a warm and cozy ambience and draws its share of trendy types and same-sexers. You can order everything from filet mignon to barbecued-chicken pizza.

Robert Redford's Zoom (660 Main Street; 435-649-9108; $12-39) is the site of many of the hippest festival parties. Head to the Blind Dog Grill (1781 Sidewinder Drive; 801-655-0800; $12-39) for superb sushi and eclectic delights from Kobe beef burgers to "dreamloaf."

Kick Up Your Heels
Although there's no gay-specific nightlife, every bar and lounge in town is queer-friendly. The round of Queer Lounge brunches, happy hours, and parties are the best bet for the socially inclined. A reliable standby is The Spur (350 Main St; 435-615-1618), a hip Western-style space with a fashionable crowd and a light bar-food menu.

What Locals Don't Want You to Know
Shhhh ... locals don't want PIBs (short for "people in black," the slightly derisive nickname for the hordes that descend on Sundance each year) to know, but on the Monday following the close of Sundance (January 30, this year), the Park City Library screens all of the festival's winning movies for free. If you happen to be around an extra day, drop by the library. And if you want to avoid dirty stares, leave the black fur coats, sunglasses, and cell phone in your hotel room and dress down like a local.

Part One | Part Two

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