Metastasis is the complex process by which primary tumor cells migrate and establish secondary tumors in an adjacent or distant location in the body. Early detection of metastatic disease and effective therapeutic options for targeting these detected metastases remain impediments to effectively treating patients with advanced cancers. If metastatic lesions are identified early, patients might maximally benefit from effective early therapeutic interventions. Further, monitoring patients whose primary tumors are effectively treated for potential metastatic disease onset is also highly valuable. Finally, patients with metastatic disease can be monitored for efficacy of specific therapeutic interventions through effective metastatic detection techniques. Thus, being able to detect and visualize metastatic lesions is key and provides potential to greatly improve overall patient outcomes. In order to achieve these objectives, researchers have endeavored to mechanistically define the steps involved in the metastatic process as well as ways to effectively detect metastatic progression. We presently overview various preclinical and clinical in vitro and in vivo assays developed to more efficiently detect tumor metastases, which provides the foundation for developing more effective therapies for this invariably fatal component of the cancerous process.