Cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer (CPD) photolyase (PL) is a structure-specific DNA repair enzyme that uses blue light to repair CPD on DNA. Cryptochrome (CRY) DASH enzymes use blue light for the repair of CPD lesions on single-stranded (ss) DNA, although some may also repair these lesions on double-stranded (ds) DNA. In addition, CRY DASH may be involved in blue light signaling, similar to cryptochromes. The focus of this review is on spectroscopic and biophysical-chemical experiments of the enzyme–substrate complex that have contributed to a more detailed understanding of all the aspects of the CPD repair mechanism of CPD photolyase and CRY DASH. This will be performed in the backdrop of the available X-ray crystal structures of these enzymes bound to a CPD-like lesion. These structures helped to confirm conclusions that were drawn earlier from spectroscopic and biophysical-chemical experiments, and they have a critical function as a framework to design new experiments and to interpret new experimental data. This review will show the important synergy between X-ray crystallography and spectroscopic/biophysical-chemical investigations that is essential to obtain a sufficiently detailed picture of the overall mechanism of CPD photolyases and CRY DASH proteins.