Several technologies have attempted to deliver the analytical capabilities of Raman and fluorescence spectroscopies to developing nanotechnologies. They have, however, two limitations when applied to nanoscale structures: (i) diffraction limit and (ii) weak signal due to a small sampling volume. To overcome the first obstacle, researchers traditionally use aperture-limited near-field optics based on optical fibers with extremely small apertures (down to ~50 nm). Low transmission through the apertures exacerbates the second limitation by strongly decreasing the measured optical signal. An alternative method based on plasmon optics, strong and very local enhancement of the electric field of light in the vicinity of plasmon nanoparticles (usually Ag or Au), helps to overcome both problems. We overview developments in apertureless near-field optics that are based on a combination of optical spectroscopy and scanning probe microscopy (SPM), with SPM tips modified to have plasmon resonance at the apex. Apertureless near-field microscopy enables traditional confocal optical imaging, scanning probe microscopy (SPM), and a combination of optical and SPM imaging with spatial resolution ~10-20nm, unprecedented for optical techniques. We demonstrate simultaneous Raman and SPM imaging of semiconductor structures and also discuss the challenges facing widespread applicability of this emerging technology, for areas as far ranging as biomedical, semiconductor, and composite materials research.