Besides the basic organization in nucleosome core particles (NCPs), eukaryotic chromatin is further packed through interactions with numerous protein complexes including transcription factors, chromatin remodeling and modifying enzymes. This nucleoprotein complex provides the template for many important biological processes, such as DNA replication, transcription, and DNA repair. Thus, to understand the molecular basis of these DNA transactions, it is critical to define individual changes of the chromatin structure at precise genomic regions where these machineries assemble and drive biological reactions. Single-molecule approaches provide the only possible solution to overcome the heterogenous nature of chromatin and monitor the behavior of individual chromatin transactions in real-time. In this review, we will give an overview of currently available single-molecule methods to obtain mechanistic insights into nucleosome positioning, histone modifications and DNA replication and transcription analysis-previously unattainable with population-based assays.