In this talk, we will provide an overview of results in the setting of granular crystals, consisting of beads interacting through Hertzian contacts. In 1d we show that there exist three prototypical types of coherent nonlinear waveforms: shock waves, traveling solitary waves and discrete breathers. The latter are time-periodic, spatially localized structures. For each one, we will analyze the existence theory, presenting connections to prototypical models of nonlinear wave theory, such as the Burgers equation, the Korteweg-de Vries equation and the nonlinear Schrodinger (NLS) equation, respectively. We will also explore the stability of such structures, presenting some explicit stability criteria analogous to the Vakhitov-Kolokolov criterion in the NLS model. Finally, for each one of these structures, we will complement the mathematical theory and numerical computations with state-of-the-art experiments, allowing their quantitative identification and visualization. Finally, time permitting, ongoing extensions of these themes will be briefly touched upon, most notably in higher dimensions, in heterogeneous or disordered chains and in the presence of damping and driving; associated open questions will also be outlined.