O. Henry Museum
The O. Henry Museum is a great place to learn more about one of Austin's most celebrated authors. Though William Sidney Porter (aka O. Henry) only rented the house during his Austin days, the city has since acquired it as a local landmark and provides free docent-led tours from noon to 5 PM every Wednesday through Sunday.
Whether you're already a big fan of O. Henry's short stories, or only know about his existence thanks to the nearby HandleBar mural, you'll learn a lot about the king of the twist ending here, including theories about his conviction on embezzlement charges and the prison term that subsequently launched his writing career.
Literary artifacts abound, including the wicker chairs that inspired O. Henry's best-known work, "The Gift of the Magi," and plenty of period pieces like the family piano, magazines in which the author's works appeared, and even a map he created while employed at the Texas General Land Office.
2012 marks O. Henry's 150th birthday, so a brand-new exhibit entitled "O. Henry: Original Slacker" will be on display starting in September, and the museum also hosts an annual Pun-Off event in honor of the wordsmithing author who invented terms such as "banana republic" and was the original author of the Rolling Stone (then an Onion-esque newspaper that mocked politicians).
Slackers, mustache fans and literary types will all get a kick out of this laid-back Austin original.