The alpha herpesviruses, a subfamily of the herpesviruses, are neurotropic pathogens found associated with most mammalian species. The prototypic member of this subfamily is herpes simplex virus type 1, the causative agent of recurrent cold sores in humans. The mild nature of this disease is a testament to the complex and highly regulated life cycle of the alpha herpesviruses. The cellular mechanisms used by these viruses to disseminate infection in the nervous system are beginning to be understood. Here, we overview the life cycle of alpha herpesviruses with an emphasis on assembly and transport of viral particles in neurons.