Molecules that exhibit solid-state luminescence enhancement, i.e. the rare property to be more strongly emissive in the solid state than in solution, find an increasing number of applications in the fields of optoelectronic and nanophotonic devices, sensors, security papers, imaging, and theranostics. Benzazole (BZ) heterocycles are of particular value in this context. The simple enlargement of their π-electron system using a –C=C–Ar or –N=C–Ar moiety is enough for intrinsic solid-state luminescence enhancement (SLE) properties to appear. Their association with a variety of polyaromatic motifs leads to SLE-active molecules that frequently display attractive electroluminescent properties and are sensitive to mechanical stimuli. The excited-state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) process that takes place in some hydroxy derivatives reinforces the SLE effect and enables the development of new sensors based on a protection/deprotection strategy. BZ may also be incorporated into frameworks that are prototypical aggregation-induced enhancement (AIE) luminogens, such as the popular tetraphenylethene (TPE), leading to materials with excellent optical and electroluminescent performance. This review encompasses the various ways to use BZ units in SLE systems. It underlines the significant progresses recently made in the understanding of the photophysical mechanisms involved. A brief overview of the synthesis shows that BZ units are robust building blocks, easily incorporated into a variety of structures. Generally speaking, we try to show how these small heterocycles may offer advantages for the design of increasingly efficient luminescent materials.