Inorganic semiconductor nanostructures have attracted increasing interest in recent years because of their distinguishable role in fundamental studies and technical applications, mainly due to their size- and shape-dependent properties and flexible processing methods. The use of such nanostructures in optic, optoelectric, and piezoelectric prospects is expected to play a crucial role in future nanoscale devices. Cadmium selenide (CdSe), a well-known direct bandgap II-VI semiconductor in which the bandgap favors absorption over a wide range of the visible spectrum, has been a promising material for applications in such fields as photodetectors, field-effect transistors (FETs), field emitters, solar cells, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), memory devices, biosensors, and biomedical imaging. The research on CdSe nanostructures has made remarkable progress in the last few years. The research activities on CdSe nanostructures including various methods for the synthesis of CdSe nanostructures and the unique properties and device applications of these nanostructures are reviewed. Potential future directions of this research area are also highlighted.