Cellular materials with periodic architectures have been extensively investigated over the past decade for their potential to provide multifunctional solutions for a variety of applications, including lightweight thermo-structural panels, blast resistant structures, and high-authority morphing components. Stiffer and stronger than stochastic foams, periodic cellular materials lend themselves well to geometry optimization, enabling a high degree of tailorability and superior performance benefits. This article reviews a commonly established optimal design protocol, extensively adopted at the macro-scale for both single and multifunctional structures. Two prototypical examples are discussed: the design of strong and lightweight sandwich beams subject to mechanical loads and the combined material/ geometry optimization of actively cooled combustors for hypersonic vehicles. With this body of literature in mind, we present a motivation for the development of micro-architected materials, namely periodic multiscale cellular materials with overall macroscopic dimensions yet with features (such as the unit cell or subunit cell constituents) at the micro- or nano-scale. We review a suite of viable manufacturing approaches and discuss the need for advanced experimental tools, numerical models, and optimization strategies. In analyzing challenges and opportunities, we conclude that the technology is approaching maturity for the development of micro-architected materials with unprecedented combinations of properties (e.g., specific stiffness and strength), with tremendous potential impact on a number of fields.