Balmain is on the Balmain peninsula, opposite Millers Point at the entrance to Darling Harbour. Although Balmain is only a couple of kilometres from the centre of Sydney, the trip by road or on foot is about 6 km. Ferry services connect Balmain and Balmain East to Sydney city, and road access is via the Anzac Bridge and through Rozelle.
Darling Street runs through Balmain from the Balmain East ferry stop and west into neighbouring suburb Rozelle. It is lined with terrace houses, cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops. Like Rozelle, Balmain has a remarkable number of small local pubs. Most of the housing is terraces, and the area is popular with professionals.
There are several parks in the area, including Gladstone Park on Darling Street and many others with bay views around Balmain East. The Balmain Market is held at St Andrews Congregational Church opposite Gladstone Park on Saturdays. Stalls sell gifts, handicrafts, fashion, and homewares. Balmain is also known as the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party in 1891.