Macrophages play a key role in inflammation and they are frequently observed in vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque. In the present study, macrophages phagocytosing gold nanorod (AuNR) were observed by optical-resolution (OR) and acoustic-resolution (AR) photoacoustic microscope (PAM). The OR-PAM consisted of diode laser optically focused to 60 micron and planar ultrasonic transducer with the central frequency of 8 MHz placed under the object. AR-PAM consisted of concave ultrasonic transducer with the central frequency of 20 MHz and optical fiber through the center hole of the transducer for laser irradiation. First, PA signal from gold, silver and copper wire were measured in order to determine the best metal substrate for enhancing PA contrast. Gold generated largest PA signal. AuNR with the resonance wavelength of 1064 nm was co-cultured with the macrophages for phagocytosis. PA signal was successfully detected from macrophages with AuNR by both OR-PAM and AR-PAM. PA imaging of the macrophages with AuNR indicates inflammation in the vulnerable plaque and AR-PAM method would be applicable for clinical settings.