But take the time and trouble to stop, look up or around you, and you will be rewarded with some stunning architecture which reflects the town's rich heritage and history. Thanks to local author Caroline Barnsley, author of South Shields in 50 Buildings (Amberley, £14.99) for the inspiration and many of the pictures.
Built in 1857 for bankers Messrs Dale Young and Co, this magnificently-curved building on the corner of King Street and Fowler Street has been a bank ever since. It's one of our favourite buildings.
It has divided opinion since work started on it in 2010. With its sloped front representing the prow of a ship pointing at the river, it's definitely grown on us.
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Stroll down Mill Dam and look left before you turn to the Customs House and you'll see this late Victorian curved terrace, which was converted to apartments in the 1980s.
Look up as you pass under the Metro bridge as you head down King Street, and you'll see this marvellous building, originally the Edinburgh Bakery, built in the 1880s.
This Grade II-listed building, in Charlotte Terrace, at the bottom of Westoe Road, is a great example of a late Victorian pub, built in 1898 by South Shields architect John Wardle Donald.
Built for town clerk Joseph Mason Moore in 1881, Harton Hall was originally much bigger, but parts appear to have been demolished for Moore Avenue to be built.
Built by public subscription in 1873, to mark Robert Ingham's retirement as the town's first MP. It closed in 1990 and is now used for residential purposes.
Now a pub, this was one of the grandest buildings in the town when it opened in 1869 as the Marine School. It originally had on observatory on top, but this was removed in 1979 before renovation.
Housed at Nos 101-103 King Street, this ornate Renaissance Palazzao-style building was designed by architect J.D. Kitson and completed in 1913. Look up or you'll probably miss it!
Next time you buy a paper or put a bet on, look up at this magnificent building right beside the Metro bridge in King Street. Originally a pub, it was also a coaching station for railway passengers.
Built in 1885 to replace a floating mission, this fine old institution contained a church, reading and writing rooms, classrooms and accommodation, and catered for 1,000 seamen a year at its peak.
This impressive building dates back to the late 19th century, when it was constructed for the South Shields Poor Law Union. It now houses South Tyneside Fostering Service.
Built in 1768 by the Dean and Chapter of Durham as the centrepiece of the new Market Place, the building was replaced by a new Town Hall in 1910. Restored in 1977, it is Grade I-listed.
This wonderfully-ornate building on the corner of Fowler Street dates back to the early 20th century. Although the area is being redeveloped, Riddicks will remain as a building of significant architectural merit.
Built in around 1886, this sandstone-front building at the Mill Dam was home to the River Police and Tyne Port Sanitary Authority. The 1980s saw the building converted into apartments.
This fine building started life as the Royal Assembly Hall in 1889 and has had various names and uses over the years, including The Scala and Gaumont cinemas.
You must have noticed this building and have probably had a pint there. Dating back to 1903, it closed in 1991 and various other uses were mooted. When they all fell through, it re-opened as a pub.
You can't fail to have noticed the Town Hall, but often have you stopped to admire its majesty? Designed by architect Ernest Fetch, it took five years to build and opened in 1910. Simply magnificent.
Turn down Stanhope Street from Mile End Road and behold this magnificent building. Formerly part of the Royal Assembly Rooms, since December 2015 it has been cocktail bar Tinker Smiths.
Round the corner from the Mission to Seafarers, Unity Hall was a 19th century meeting house built as a charitable gift of the Bishop of Durham. It is now 11 luxury apartments.