An amazingly wide range of complex behavior emerges from the cerebral cortex. Much of the information processing that leads to these behaviors is performed in neocortical circuits that span throughout the six layers of the cortex. Maintaining this circuit activity requires substantial quantities of oxygen and energy substrates, which are delivered by the complex yet well-organized and tightly-regulated vascular system. In this review, we provide a detailed characterization of the most relevant anatomical and functional features of the cortical vasculature. This includes a compilation of the available data on laminar variation of vascular density and the topological aspects of the microvascular system. We also review the spatio-temporal dynamics of cortical blood flow regulation and oxygenation, many aspects of which remain poorly understood. Finally, we discuss some of the important implications of vascular density, distribution, oxygenation and blood flow regulation for (laminar) fMRI.