The dorsal striatum, which consists of the caudate and putamen, is the gateway to the basal ganglia. It receives convergent excitatory afferents from cortex and thalamus and forms the origin of the direct and indirect pathways, which are distinct basal ganglia circuits involved in motor control. It is also a major site of activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Striatal plasticity alters the transfer of information throughout basal ganglia circuits and may represent a key neural substrate for adaptive motor control and procedural memory. Here, we review current understanding of synaptic plasticity in the striatum and its role in the physiology and pathophysiology of basal ganglia function.