The targeting of antigen-presenting cells has recently gained strong attention for both targeted vaccine delivery and immunomodulation. We prepared surface-modified stealth microspheres that display various mannose-based ligands at graded ligand densities to target phagocytic C-type lectin receptors (CLRs) on human dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages. Decoration of microspheres with carbohydrate ligands was achieved (i) by electrostatic surface assembly of mannan onto previously formed adlayers of poly(l-lysine) (PLL) or a mix of PLL and poly( l-lysine)- graft-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLL-PEG), or (ii) through assembly of PLL-PEG equipped with small substructure mannoside ligands, such as mono- and trimannose, as terminal substitution of the PEG chains. Microspheres carrying mannoside ligands were also studied in combination with an integrin-targeting RGD peptide ligand. Because of the presence of a mannan or PEG corona, such microspheres were protected against protein adsorption and opsonization, thus allowing the formation of specific ligand-receptor interactions. Mannoside density was the major factor for the phagocytosis of mannoside-decorated microspheres, although with limited efficiency. This strengthens the recent hypothesis by other authors that the mannose receptor (MR) only acts as a phagocytic receptor when in conjunction with yet unidentified partner receptor(s). Analysis of DC surface markers for maturation revealed that neither surface-assembled mannan nor mannoside-modified surfaces on the microspheres could stimulate DC maturation. Thus, phagocytosis upon recognition by CLRs alone cannot trigger DC activation toward a T helper response. The microparticulate platform established in this work represents a promising tool for systematic investigations of specific ligand-receptor interactions upon phagocytosis, including the screening for potential ligands and ligand combinations in the context of vaccine delivery and immunomodulation.