The extensively exposed late Carboniferous volcanic and volcaniclastic successions along the northern margin of the North Tianshan are called the Arbasay Formation. We present field-based mapping, petrography, zircon cathodoluminescence (CL) images, and U–Pb dates, as well as whole-rock geochemical data for these rocks, in order to constrain their formation age and petrogenesis, and understand the geodynamic setting. Conspicuously, the Arbasay Formation shows typical basalt–andesite–dacite–rhyolite volcanic series, and is dominated by andesites with a small amount of basalts and rhyolites based on the geological profile. U–Pb isotopic dating using the LA-ICP-MS method on zircons reveals that the volcanic rocks in the Arbasay Formation formed at 308–305 Ma, that is, late Carboniferous, rather than early Permian as previously proposed. Geochemically, the volcanic rocks mainly belong to the calc-alkaline series and have arc-like geochemical compositions. They are enriched in LREEs ((La/Yb)N = 2.9–7.5) and LILEs (K, Rb, Ba) and depleted in HFSEs (Nb, Ta, Ti). In the tectonic discrimination diagrams, the basalts mainly fall into the area of continental arc. Given our U–Pb dating results, geochemical characteristics, and the regional geological framework, we propose that the late Carboniferous volcanic rocks originated from the arc-related setting, not the intracontinental rift-related setting. They are possibly the major constituents of a continental arc that is formed with the southward subduction of the North Tianshan Oceanic lithosphere.