Balmain is a peninsula suburb west of Sydney's city centre. It is a middle class area with a Victorian and arty flair to it, unlike its previous population of dockland workers. It has several pubs and cafes, and the best way to get to it would be on a ferry from Circular Quay.
Darling Street is where you will find most of the shops, which offer books, clothes, gifts and even antiques. You should also visit the St Andrews Church Market, which is held on Saturday. You will also find a host of places to eat along Darling Street, with a whole variety of styles of food.