Abstract Glioma stem cells (GSCs) are presumably major culprits for brain tumor initiation, progression, and recurrence after conventional therapies. Thus, selective targeting and eradication of GSCs may provide a promising and effective therapeutic approach. Here, we isolated a GSC-targeting (GSCT) peptide that demonstrated selective binding affinity for many undifferentiated GSCs using in vitro phage display technology. This GSCT peptide binds to isotypes of Nestin proteins specifically expressed in GSCs, enabling it to target Nestin-positive cells in human glioblastoma tissues. In human glioblastoma tissue specimens, the fluorescence-conjugated GSCT peptide could visualize putative GSC populations, showing its possible use as a diagnostic agent. GSCT peptide is also internalized into undifferentiated GSCs specifically in vitro, and moreover, intravenously injected GSCT peptide effectively penetrated into tissues, specifically accumulated in gliomas that arise from subcutaneous and orthotopic implantation, and predominantly targeted Nestin-positive cells in these tumors. Thus, our GSCT peptide may be useful for the development of more promising therapeutic and diagnostic modalities that target GSCs in brain tumors.