Modern Arnstadt has a population of approximately 25,000. It is a manufacturing center with glassworks and foundries, a solar panel production plant as well as glove-manufacturing and wood-finishing businesses. Manganese is one of the ores mined in the vicinity.
The composer Johann Sebastian Bach, whose family lived for generations in the vicinity of Arnstadt, became the organist at St Boniface's church in 1703. Most Bach scholars believe his well-known "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" was written here between 1703 and 1709.