The Plaka is still in some sections a hold over from an older an more sedate Athens. At one point they were going to tear it down as part of urban re-newal but came to their senses.
Now its a tourist area and somewhat over priced for food and drink but not too bad. Adrianou (Hadrian) and Kydatheneon Sts. are the two main drags of the Plaka. Hephestou St. is the beginning of the flea market open daily but busiest on Sundays.
Recently there has been quite a bit of modernization, especially to store fronts, which make some of them resemble the mall back home. Not with standing its the place to go in Athens along with Anafiotika to get a feel for an older Athens.
Also it is one of the main areas to look for those gifts for yourself or the folks back home. There is so much stuff here it's hard to know where to begin. Leather goods, jewelry, shoes & sandals, scarves, furs, cotton beach outfits, museum reproductions, army surpluss and the list goes on. Its loaded with tourist trinkets and knic-knacks from the kitch to some real bargains. Bargaining is the way to go. Even though I am half Greek, I still get treated like a tourist till I open my mouth and then I still get charged more. It's a sad fact, but true all over Greece: Tourists Pay More. Don't be afraid to bargain, don't buy from the first store you get to. Ask the price so you get relative idea and then move on till you find the price you like. If it still seems expensive then start to moan and groan and play tough. These folks want to make a sale. Today, for example, 2 friends and I ate at an out door tavern in Plaka and a gypsy lady came by with some shawls, Sabrina liked one and the price was 80 Euros We finally paid her 20 Euros as she was following us down the street to close the deal. We probably still paid too much. Americans are used to paying the asking price and in a lot of situations in Greece, such as a restaurant, that will be the norm. Tourist shopping is a different story!
For pictures of stores in the Plaka please see menu.