Pittsburgh events and attractions for December.

Got Gas?
Dec. 1 marked the 100th anniversary of the nation’s first drive-in service station and it was located in Pittsburgh. In 1913, Ford Motor Company was manufacturing a new Model T car every three minutes. But, there was only a patchwork system of places to fuel these vehicles. Enter the Gulf Refining Co. service station in Pittsburgh. The small brick pagoda-style building, located, about five miles away from downtown also offered tube and tire installation, free water and air, in addition to road maps and gas.

Music to the Ears
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has released “Strauss,” a new recording with Music Director Manfred Honeck. The 60-minute CD contains Strauss’ Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration and Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks. It’s available for $20 atwww.pittsburghsymphony.org and in Heinz Hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony. The release is part of a new series with the Reference Recordings label, with a PSO recording of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony slated for spring 2014.

Parador and Penguins
The Parador Inn in Pittsburgh is offering a special promotion geared towards hockey fans. When you book a stay at the Parador for any Pittsburgh Penguins home game, you will be able to take advantage of a $100 rate and receive a special gift. The rate includes free parking, overnight accommodations and full breakfast. To take advantage of the promotion, you’ll need to show your ticket or online confirmation at check-in. www.theparadorinn.com

Phipps Earns 4 Stars
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens was awarded the Four Stars Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) certification for its new Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL). This is the first project to have ever received the program’s highest level of recognition. SITES is the nation’s most comprehensive rating system for sustainable landscapes. The CSL is considered one of the greenest buildings on Earth. It is expected to be the first building in the world to achieve this SITES standard in tandem with the Living Building Challenge and LEED Platinum, a certification earned in September when the CSL received the highest level of distinction ever given. http://phipps.conservatory.org/

Affordable, Livable
Pittsburgh – repeatedly named the most livable city in the country – is the fifth most affordable U.S. metro area for housing, according to Chicago-based Interest.com, a national real estate information website. Interest.com analyzed the median household incomes of residents in metropolitan areas across the country compared to the cost of buying a median-priced, single-family home in those areas.

Dance Parties
The Bulgarian Macedonian National Educational and Cultural Center, located just outside of Pittsburgh, begins its new season of folk dance parties. These dances, known as “Vecherinkas,” are held in the evenings on the third Saturday of each month throughJune 21, 2014. The events feature live music; and folk dance experts offer lessons during the first hour. http://bmnecc.org/