Atomic force microscopy (AFM) investigations of living cells provide new information in both biology and medicine. However, slow cell dynamics and the need for statistically significant sample sizes mean that data collection can be an extremely lengthy process. We address this problem by parallelizing AFM experiments using a two-dimensional cantilever array, instead of a single cantilever. We have developed an instrument able to operate a two-dimensional cantilever array, to perform topographical and mechanical investigations in both air and liquid. Deflection readout for all cantilevers of the probe array is performed in parallel and online by interferometry. Probe arrays were microfabricated in silicon nitride. Proof-of-concept has been demonstrated by analyzing the topography of hard surfaces and fixed cells in parallel, and by performing parallel force spectroscopy on living cells. These results open new research opportunities in cell biology by measuring the adhesion and elastic properties of a large number of cells. Both properties are essential parameters for research in metastatic cancer development.