Plaistow is a residential area, including several council estates. The main roads are the A112, Prince Regent Lane/ Greengate Street/ The Broadway/ High Street/ Plaistow Road, which is a former Roman road, and the A124 (Barking Road), which passes south west/ north east through Plaistow and past the West Ham United F.C. Ground. Commercial and retail premises are on the A112 at Greengate Street leading north and Prince Regent Lane south, leading to Newham Sixth Form College, and along the A124. It contains generally smaller shops compared to Stratford or West Ham.
Plaistow North and Plaistow South are two of the ten wards making up the UK parliamentary constituency of West Ham.