Implementation of laser-plasma-based acceleration stages in user-oriented facilities requires the definition and deployment of appropriate diagnostic methodologies to monitor and control the acceleration process. An overview is given here of optical diagnostics for density measurement in laser-plasma acceleration stages, with emphasis on well-established and easily implemented approaches. Diagnostics for both neutral gas and free-electron number density are considered, highlighting real-time measurement capabilities. Optical interferometry, in its various configurations, from standard two-arm to more advanced common-path designs, is discussed, along with spectroscopic techniques such as Stark broadening and Raman scattering. A critical analysis of the diagnostics presented is given concerning their implementation in laser-plasma acceleration stages for the production of high-quality GeV electron bunches.