Atherosclerotic plaques constitute the primary cause of heart attack and stroke. However, we still lack a clear identification of the plaques. Here, we evaluate the feasibility of scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM) and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy (TRFS) in atherosclerotic plaque characterization. We perform dual-modality microscopic imaging of the human carotid atherosclerotic plaques. We first show that the acoustic impedance values are statistically higher in calcified regions compared with the collagen-rich areas. We then use CdTe/CdS quantum dots for imaging the atherosclerotic plaques by TRFS and show that fluorescence lifetime values of the quantum dots in collagen-rich areas are notably different from the ones in calcified areas. In summary, both modalities are successful in differentiating the calcified regions from the collagen-rich areas within the plaques indicating that these techniques are confirmatory and may be combined to characterize atherosclerotic plaques in the future.