The blood–brain barrier (BBB) is a highly complex structure, which separates the extracellular fluid of the central nervous system (CNS) from the blood of CNS vessels. A wide range of neurologic conditions, including stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and brain tumors, are associated with perturbations of the BBB that contribute to their pathology. The common consequence of a BBB dysfunction is increased permeability, leading to extravasation of plasma constituents and vasogenic brain edema. The BBB impairment can persist for long periods, being involved in secondary inflammation and neuronal dysfunction, thus contributing to disease pathogenesis. Therefore, reliable imaging of the BBB impairment is of major importance in both clinical management of brain diseases and in experimental research. From landmark studies by Ehrlich and Goldman, the use of dyes (probes) has played a critical role in understanding BBB functions. In recent years methodologic advances in morphologic and functional brain imaging have provided insight into cellular and molecular interactions underlying BBB dysfunction in animal disease models. These imaging techniques, which range from in situ staining to noninvasive in vivo imaging, have different spatial resolution, sensitivity, and capacity for quantitative and kinetic measures of the BBB impairment. Despite significant advances, the translation of these techniques into clinical applications remains slow. This review outlines key recent advances in imaging techniques that have contributed to the understanding of BBB dysfunction in disease and discusses major obstacles and opportunities to advance these techniques into the clinical realm.