The Plaka is the tourist centre of the city, getting around it can be a challenge since there isn't a straight street to be found. Don't worry; there are a few tricks to help you out.
First of all, the Plaka is probably the most mapped area in all of Athens, and maybe even all of Greece. Finding a detailed map of this area is very easy, often even for free. Secondly you have a great visual marker to help you find your way, the Acropolis. This entire neighbourhood is pretty much built up on the hill of the Acropolis so it makes for a great visual marker.
When you first step into the Plaka, you'll probably think that you've been dropped into an outdoor tourist trap. In some ways this is true, but don't judge this neighbourhood too quickly. Amongst all the tourist shops there are many fine artisan shops, great hidden restaurants and quite hidden streets. All of this, and it's literally littered with ancient sites.
A good way to know if you're buying from a shop selling average tourist fair vs. a store selling finer crafts is to see what kind of range of items they're selling. I find that stores not selling a huge range of items and focusing on one particular kind of products are most likely dealing in finer products. Most people assume that any restaurant in the Plaka must be tourist only places and not "local". This isn’t true; locals in Athens regularly enjoy a snack, coffee, or meal in this neighbourhood.