Cellulose nanocrystals are unique nanomaterials derived from the most abundant and almost inexhaustible natural polymer, cellulose. These nanomaterials have received significant interest due to their mechanical, optical, chemical, and rheological properties. Cellulose nanocrystals primarily obtained from naturally occurring cellulose fibers are biodegradable and renewable in nature and hence they serve as a sustainable and environmentally friendly material for most applications. These nanocrystals are basically hydrophilic in nature; however, they can be surface functionalized to meet various challenging requirements, such as the development of high-performance nanocomposites, using hydrophobic polymer matrices. Considering the ever-increasing interdisciplinary research being carried out on cellulose nanocrystals, this review aims to collate the knowledge available about the sources, chemical structure, and physical and chemical isolation procedures, as well as describes the mechanical, optical, and rheological properties, of cellulose nanocrystals. Innovative applications in diverse fields such as biomedical engineering, material sciences, electronics, catalysis, etc, wherein these cellulose nanocrystals can be used, are highlighted.