Traditionally, signal transduction from GPCRs is thought to emanate from the cell surface where receptor interactions with external stimuli can be transformed into a broad range of cellular responses. However, emergent data show that numerous GPCRs are also associated with various intracellular membranes where they may couple to different signalling systems, display unique desensitization patterns and/or exhibit distinct patterns of subcellular distribution. Although many GPCRs can be activated at the cell surface and subsequently endocytosed and transported to a unique intracellular site, other intracellular GPCRs can be activated in situ either via de novo ligand synthesis, diffusion of permeable ligands or active transport of nonpermeable ligands. Current findings reinforce the notion that intracellular GPCRs play a dynamic role in various biological functions including learning and memory, contractility and angiogenesis. As new intracellular GPCR roles are defined, the need to selectively tailor agonists and/or antagonists to both intracellular and cell surface receptors may lead to the development of more effective therapeutic tools. Linked Articles: This article is part of a themed section on Molecular Pharmacology of GPCRs. To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v175.21/issuetoc.