The locals seem to have mixed views about Riva, but as a visitor I thought it was very pretty and added a modern, social charm to the otherwise beautiful old city.
Riva is full of cafes, icecream joints, little shops selling lavender and local knick knacks. The ocean view is calming and you can spot boats and ferries going about their day. It is spacious so except during extremely crowded periods, there is place to walk, stop, and sit on the little benches overlooking the sea. Great place to relax with a coffee or a beer, read a book, look into the ocean... It is everything a promenade should be and nothing that it shouldn't!