A letter from our editor…

I love birthdays.

I’m a sucker for a celebration. My own birthdays are typically marked with a week of drawn-out events, much to the reluctance of my long-suffering husband. But I also love the joy that celebrating the birthdays of my nearest and dearest brings me. As I’ve gotten older, and it’s increasingly challenging to align diaries with my friends scattered across the globe, it’s typically birthdays that bring us together. And so that time becomes all the more meaningful.

But the birthday I’m referring to here, is that of What’s On. The first issue of What’s On was published in June 1979, making us 45 years old this month. So to mark our milestone 45th, our cover story is a compilation of the best of the best from the UAE’s leisure, entertainment and dining scene. From top homegrown brands, restaurants, nightlife hotspots and stays, to cultural stars and unmissable attractions, each edit features 45 standout names and places contributing to making the UAE the greatest place on the planet. Consider this your complete UAE bucket list.

I might be biased, but I think we’ve aged rather well. When What’s On launched, the UAE was unrecognisable compared to the thriving global metropolis that it’s now proudly known as. You can read all about how the adventures of What’s On began on p11, where our founder Ian Fairservice revisits the first issue and those brilliant early days of the brand.

And as the UAE has evolved, so have we, reaching millions of residents and visitors every month across print, digital, and social media. As our readers are such an integral part of our story, we invited you to share what you love about the UAE with us via social media. The responses, from people of all ages and from all corners of the globe, renewed my belief in how truly lucky we all are to call this wonderful country home. Read 45 of our favourites from p19.

Enjoy the issue below.