Urbanization is an extensive and complicated human activity all over the world. Presently, it is a consensus that urbanization could exert certain impact on local precipitation. However, owning to the complexity of precipitation formation and distribution in different regions, as well as the limitation of metrological observation and numerical simulation models, there are different views on the physical mechanisms and driving factors about urbanization influencing rainfall. In addition, disputes continue on the phenomenon and traits of urban influencing rainfall. Hence, this paper reviews the main mechanisms of urban effects on rainfall. Then, observation analysis and numerical simulation of urbanization impact on precipitation are retrospected. For the former, main results are summarized and compared for studies both based on surface gauge observations and remote sensing data. For the latter, urbanization influence on precipitation are summarized both for single factor and compound factors. Finally, main problems requiring deep exploration in future are recommended from five aspects, i. e. the integrated observation of urban meteorology, the comprehensive detection of urbanization precipitation effects, the refined simulation of urbanization impact on precipitation and the adaptation and regulation measures. This paper is conducive to deepening the understanding of urbanization effect on precipitation. Additionally, it provides valuable references for the adaption and regulation of the negative change of precipitation caused by urbanization.