A wide variety of crystalline nanowires (NWs) with outstanding mechanical properties have recently emerged. Measuring their mechanical properties and understanding their deformation mechanisms are of important relevance to many of their device applications. On the other hand, such crystalline NWs can provide an unprecedented platform for probing mechanics at the nanoscale. While challenging, the field of experimental mechanics of crystalline nanowires has emerged and seen exciting progress in the past decade. This review summarizes recent advances in this field, focusing on major experimental methods using atomic force microscope (AFM) and electron microscopes and key results on mechanics of crystalline nanowires learned from such experimental studies. Advances in several selected topics are discussed including elasticity, fracture, plasticity, and anelasticity. Finally, this review surveys some applications of crystalline nanowires such as flexible and stretchable electronics, nanocomposites, nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), energy harvesting and storage, and strain engineering, where mechanics plays a key role.