"Relentlessly tacky, loud, and non-Seattle-like, it's best avoided."
While many other cities have bustling waterfronts where locals go to get away for an evening, Seattle has made a colossal blunder in cramming the waterfront with wasted potential. Along the strip of piers, everything is geared toward tourists, from the aquarium to Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. There is not one business that does not scream "Buy a t-shirt and salt water taffy here." Add that to the fact that so much of the area is dominated by a very ugly and utilitarian ferry terminal, and there is literally no reason for a local to want to hang out on the waterfront. It should also be mentioned that the Alaskan Way Viaduct (a double-decker highway) floats above the waterfront in all of its loud and dirty glory, as it provides one of two major N/S highways in the city. Due to instability from previous earthquake damage, it is being torn down and replaced by a tunnel, so maybe it will improve the area.