CuO, a p-type metal oxide semiconductor has been accepted as a potential material for gas sensor, bio sensors, photodetectors and batteries because of their abundant source, reasonable cost, ease of fabrication and compact size. The size, morphology, dimensionality and surface properties of nanostructures are important parameters that determine the performances of nanomaterials. Moreover, properties of CuO can be tuned by doping it with various metal atoms in order to satisfy the specific needs and applications. In the present work a facile and wet chemical synthesis method has been employed for the preparation of pure and Zn-doped polycrystalline 1-D CuO nanochain (Cu1-XZnXO, x=0 (S0), 0.01 (S1), 0.03 (S3), 0.05 (S5)). The exploration of the structural, morphological and optical properties of the pure and Zn-doped CuO samples have been carried by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM), energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX), Transmission electron microscope (TEM) and fluorescence spectroscopy. The Rietveld refinements of XRD data of the samples have been done using Fullprof software and the results mark the formation of single phase monoclinic structure and also confirmed the successful doping of Zn ions into CuO lattice. Moreover, decrease in cell volume and particle size has been observed for Zn doped samples, thus, showing the influence of Zn substitution on the crystalline structure of CuO. FESEM images of the samples clearly present the bundles of nanochains constituting of nanoparticles whose diameter gradually reduced from ~31.7 nm to ~23.2 nm by increasing Zn doping from x=0 to 0.05 in the CuO sample. Furthermore, EDX data confirm the presence of Cu, O and Zn elements in the sample. TEM results show that the nanoparticles become organized and assembled to form a nanochain like structure. High resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM) images of S0 and S3 samples display the lattice fringes of spacing 0.232 nm that correspond to (111) crystalline plane of the monoclinic CuO. Selected area electron diffraction (SAED) pattern shows several concentric diffraction rings masked by spots, thus, indicating the polycrystalline nature of the nanochains. From the fluorescence spectra of the samples, it has been observed that doping of Zn in CuO creates oxygen vacancies which are manifested by an increase in intensity of visible emission peak. This study suggest that the Zn doped CuO 1-D nanochain could be promising materials for optical and optoelectronic applications at a low cost.