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Six free things to do this week

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This week in free stuff to do we have a virtual-reality experience, intense pro-bike races, artsy parties, and movies in the park. Come take a look and plan your week.

Virtual Reality: The New Frontier

(Garden Terrace of Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-375-7600)

For the next three days, guests at the Walker Art Center will have a chance to experience international and local selections from independent virtual reality filmmakers. On the schedule will be pieces from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier. Minnesota works include simRvR, Let’s Go Crazy, and Black Lives Matter MPLS. So how will you jump into their world? There will be phones with gear on site for folks to take turns viewing. Cardboard viewers will also be handed out to attendees, so they can turn their own smartphone into a virtual reality machine. 3-5 p.m. Tuesday; 2-4 p.m. Wednesday; 5-8 p.m. Thursday.

Casablanca
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(Father Hennepin Bluff Park, 420 Main St. SE, Minneapolis)

Tuesday at dusk.

Jurassic World

(Bottineau Field Park, 2000 Second St. NE, Minneapolis)

Wednesday at dusk.

North Star Pro Bike Races

(Various locations)

Every summer, North Star Pro Bike Races turn the Twin Cities into a giant race track. Each day offers a new race at a new location with its own unique challenges. Things kick off Wednesday morning with the St. Paul Riverfront Time Trial. Though the views will be pretty, riders will be focused on cycling, as mere minutes could take pro athletes out of the event. Later in the evening, the St. Paul Downtown Criterium will requires riders to zoom by Mears Park and Lowertown buildings, occasionally trekking along on brick roads. The following day takes participants out to the countryside for the Cannon Falls Road Race. Spectators may want to do a little winery touring or antiquing as cyclists make their way to Red Wing and back. Friday's Uptown Minneapolis Criterium is always a nail-biter, as racers must make six super-tight turns on the .88-kilometer track, looping around multiple times. For the new North Mankato Road Race, riders will take laps through rural scenery before ending on top of a hill on Valerie Lane. Finally, the notorious Stillwater Criterium requires athletes to trek up the perilously steep Chilkoot Hill multiple times. From there, the ultimate winner emerges. For more info, visit www.northstarbicyclefestival.com. Wednesday through Sunday.     

Third Thursday: Art & Lit

(Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2400 S. Third Ave., Minneapolis; 612-870-3000)

This month's installment of Third Thursday will celebrate the intersection of art and literature with activities for revelers. Local literari will be in attendance, including Doug Wilhide, who will give a tour of poetry-inspired art in the galleries. Got writer's block? Milkweed Editions will have props and story prompts. The Loft Literary Center will invite people to play with Mia-themed book covers. Collaborate with narrative comic artists Alex Mitchell and Niky Motekallem, and take in music from Desdamona. Gastrotruck will be on hand serving treats at this party, which will be mostly outdoors. Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.

Parsing Silence: Meditations on Solitude

(University of Minnesota, Paul Whitney Larson Art Gallery, 2017 Buford Ave., St. Paul; 612-625-0214)

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For those who need to decompress from the stress of the week and the chatter from online, consider checking out Lindsy Halleckson's new art show, featuring calming paintings meant to be viewed in quiet meditation. Thursday, 5 to 7 p.m.