Mesalamine (5-ASA) is the mainstay therapy in patients with mild-to-moderate active ulcerative colitis (UC). However, non-adherence to therapy and practice variability among gastroenterologists represent long-standing barriers, leading to poor outcomes. Additionally, targets to treat in UC are increasingly evolving from focusing on clinical remission to achieving endoscopic and histological healing. To date, systemic steroids are still recommended in non-responders to 5-ASA, despite their well-known side effects. Importantly, with the advent of new therapeutic options such as oral corticosteroids with topical activity (e.g., budesonide multimatrix system (MMX)), biologics, and small molecules, some issues need to be addressed for the optimal management of these patients in daily clinical practice. The specific positioning of these drugs in patients with mild-to-moderate disease remains unclear. This review aims to identify current challenges in clinical practice and to provide physicians with key strategies to optimize treatment of patients with mild-to-moderate UC, and ultimately achieve more ambitious therapeutic goals.