You can take the World Series in October. Give us the one in August any day.
Every year, teams from across the country and around the world converge on Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for one of our favorite rites of summer, the Little League World Series. Every kid arrives dreaming of a championship.
While only one team earns the title, they all emerge as winners, enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience and exposure to new places and cultures that broaden their worlds. They make new friends and they do what 12-year-olds everywhere love to do — they play ball.
We’re lucky to be located a mere 97 minutes from the Little League World Series Complex in Lycoming County. We get swept up when a hometown team does well, such as the Red Land boys a few years ago — but really, we just love all the sportsmanship and teambuilding that Little League emphasizes.
Are you thinking about taking a trip to Williamsport for the LLWS this year? Here’s everything you need to know about planning your trip.
Where: Little League World Series Complex in Williamsport, Pennsylvania
What: Little League World Series, held every year in late August. This year’s LLWS begins Aug. 15 and runs through Aug. 25.
Who: 16 teams, eight from the United States and eight from the rest of the world
Defending champ: Honolulu (Hawaii), though teams can’t really defend their titles; you’re ineligible to play when you’re older than 12
Spectating: Entrance to the LLWS games is free. Though games get crowded when a “local” (read: Mid-Atlantic or New England) team brings along a bunch of fans, the venues almost never fill up.
The big games are played in Lamade Stadium, and the best seats are on the hill behind it. Be sure to bring a few big pieces of cardboard so your kids (or you!) can go “sledding” down the hill, a time-honored LLWS pastime. Up to 30,000 fans can watch at this stadium. Most of the other diamonds can seat about 3,000.
Because the event is such a big draw, you’ll find fun games and lots of vendors set up inside. All the major baseball brands have a presence, and they bring the latest bats and gloves for your kids to try out. (We advise you not to buy equipment at LLWS, though, because the prices are jacked up.)
You can’t take aerosol cans of sunscreen into the stadium, nor can you bring in full bottles of liquid, though you can take empty water bottles and fill them up inside.
Where to park: You can park for free on East Mountain Road and take a shuttle to the game. On busy days, this fills up quickly. Opting for paid parking will get you closer to the complex. Many people who live nearby open up their yards to cars for a price. Most “lots” sit on Route 15 and cost $5-$10 for the day. Be sure to bring cash!
Where to stay: If you live in Central PA, Williamsport is an easy day trip — no need to get a room. But if you want to make a weekend of it, a few of the closest options to the complex include:
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Williamsport
Hampton Inn Williamsport
TownePlace Suites by Marriott Williamsport
Holiday Inn Williamsport
Residence Inn by Marriott Williamsport
Like to camp? There’s a KOA site about 25 minutes away with a pool, playground, miniature golf and more.
Where to eat: The LLWS Complex sits about five minutes away from downtown Williamsport. The stadium food is like all stadium food, pretty bland and overpriced, so you may want to eat at least one meal elsewhere. If you venture downtown, we recommend:
The Brickyard Restaurant & Ale House
Peter Herdic House Restaurant
The Stonehouse Wood Fired Pizza and Pasteria
Driving home after a game? Stop at Lewisburg Freez, about 25 minutes down Route 15, for some amazing postgame ice cream.
What to do: You can go to games all day long. But if you want a break, here are a few fun things worth checking out nearby:
World of Little League Museum: Located right on the LLWS Complex grounds, this is a must-visit for baseball lovers.
Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland: This amphibian-reptile zoo features exhibits, live shows and the chance to feed live birds.
Christy Mathewson’s grave: Mathewson pitched 17 seasons for the New York Giants, leading them to a World Series win, and was a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s first class. He’s buried in the Lewisburg Cemetery.