Dalian is one of the most heavily developed industrial areas of China, Dalian is located west of the Yellow Sea and east of Bohai Sea roughly in the middle of the Liaodong/Liaotung peninsula at its narrowest neck oristhmus. With a coastline of 1,906km, it governs the entire Liaodong Peninsula and about 260 surrounding islands and reefs. It is south-west of the Yalu River, and its harbor entrance forms a sub-Bay known as Dalian Bay.

The city's climate is a monsoon-influenced humid continental climate, characterised by humid summers due to the East Asian monsoon, and cold, windy, dry winters that reflect the influence of the vast Siberian anticyclone. Average low temperatures in January are at around -6° C, while average high temperatures in July are at around 27°C.

Dalian has a modern and recently (2006) expanded international airport,Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport, with direct flights to the most major cities in China, and to the selected cities in Japan, South Korea and Germany.

The city's location means that train trips to most Chinese cities outside China's northeastern region require changing trains in Shanghai or Beijing.