The people? The archetecture? The culture? The beach?
The city is attractive, and is known as the Amsterdam of the southern hemisphere because of the canals and bridges (it was built by the Dutch when they controlled this part of Brazil). There is not much left from that period but the docks are still attractive.
The beaches are great but there are more shark attacks in the area because of the reefs (recife). If you want beach go just south to Porto das Galinhas.
The people are just like those in any big city. In a hurry, rude, concerned about paying the bills. All cities that size, all over the world, are about the same.
If you want to enjoy the culture go during Carnaval, but try Olinda, not Recife itself.