Passport to Iron City: The Alita Experience

Alita: Battle Angel is a new film by James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez, starring Rosa Salazar as the battle angel herself. The movie is based on a somewhat niche manga by writer and artist, Yukito Kishiro, which was released in the early 90s. In my early days attending and cosplaying at anime convention, I had seen the cult following that this particular franchise had. In fact, I remember plenty of people telling me that I should cosplay Alita… but that was far and long ago, during my youth.

Fast forward to today, and I would have never have guessed that this faithful Hollywood adaptation is currently #1 at the box office. To celebrate the movie, Passport to Iron City is an elaborate pop-up for fans to experience in Los Angeles, Houston and New York.

I was lucky enough to go and I have to admit, I didn’t really know what to expect. Most described it as “part escape room, part immersive theater”– which could really go a lot of different ways.

In the end, my friends and I had way more fun than we anticipated and we really got into the game. I am not kidding, we really got into it! I may have yelled at my teammates once or twice… I may have.

At the beginning after you check-in, you will spend a lot of your time hanging out inside Kansas Bar, where you can purchase specialty beer and meet/get to know your team mates. You get a little bit of information on a tablet at your team table, and you can try and make plans with your teammates. If I had been more prepared, I would have taken strategy planning much more seriously before we were thrown in.

Once you are inside the actual game, it will become clear that the main objective is to earn as much credits as possible in less than 40 minutes and then bet money at Motorball, which is the very exciting finale.

There are different stations that hosts different challenges in order to earn credits for your team. From simpler tasks such as guessing different smells from bottles at the Marketplace; to solving much more complicated puzzles at the Scrapyard. I definitely got sweaty from running around and letting my brain work overtime. Who knew we would get so passionate over fake money? My only complaint was that we didn’t have time to do everything inside the space. Or just time to appreciate the space itself.

The sets inside the experience were all pretty amazing and well-done. I wished I had taken more photos, but again, I was way too busy winning them credits…

The verdict: Passport to Iron City was tons of fun for both fans of Alita and non-fans as well who just want to have fun and be challenged at a really cool pop-up experience. The experience runs through March and you can find out more at

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