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Short story writer William Sydney Porter, whose pen name was O. Henry, lived in this home for three years while he spent time in Austin. It was constructed in 1891 and is filled with rare books, O. Henry's writing desk, original furniture, photographs, personal belongings and the chairs that brought The Gift of the Magi to life. Enjoy a guided tour and learn about the history of this home and its famous occupant. The house has been moved twice since from its original location at 308 East Fourth Street. It now features a gift shop with books, videotapes and more. The museum offers writing clubs for Austin children and sponsors many local events such as the Victorian Christmas celebration and the "O. Henry Pun-Off." Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
The Joseph & Susanna Dickinson Hannig Museum is located right in the middle of downtown Austin, but is still a hidden gem. This place was the home of Susanna Dickinson, who was one of the two survivors of the Battle of Alamo, the second being her little daughter. This rubble rock-style house provides one a good glimpse into her life after the battle, where she settled with her fifth husband. There are other artifacts relating to local Texan history, as well as temporary exhibitions on different subjects.
Started by a donation received from a church, the Trinity Street Players Theatre, is truly one of the best kept secrets of Austin. This no-nonsense and no-frills theater group presents some of the most heart-touching plays, that hit the spot every time. Located at Trinity Street, it lies a stones throw away from downtown. Amazing casting, strong performances and power-packed shows are what they seem to be popular for. There are no ticket prices to see any of their plays, however a donation is always appreciated. A highly recommended theater for all those who love this art form, Trinity Street Players Theatre won't disappoint you.
Right next door to Esther's Follies, its sibling act is a venue for local and visiting comics. Featuring all the elements of the stand-up comic's typical venue; dimly lit, crowded audience, bar, central stage; it has sustained the careers of many a local comedian for ages. In the past, it has showcased people such as the late, great comics Sam Kinison and Bill Hicks, both of whom began their careers in Texas. Beer and other drinks are cheap and the comedy is pretty constant. A stable of regular performers keeps the place friendly do not be surprised if the Esther's Follies gang turns up a lot.
One part vaudeville and one part stinging political/social satire, this place has been amusing and delighting its guests, as well as the pedestrians who pass by its front-stage windows and observe its goings-on, since the late 1970s. A troupe of multi-talented performers write, act, sing and dance their way across a broad and constantly updated comedic map that pokes fun at our elected officials, celebrity icons, and regular citizens. It is not all for laughs, though; a magical act comes on a couple of times per show to startle and captivate your senses. This is a true downtown institution.