Burnside is predominantly residential area. Much of it was built up during the latter half of the 20th century, and this development began in the region of the bridge which carries the A9 road over Wolf Burn, at ND106691. A belt of agricultural land still separates the district from central Thurso.
A bishop's castle was established near the mouth of Wolf Burn while Caithness was part of the Norse Earldom of Orkney: foundations are all that now remain.
'The New Weigh Inn' hotel (or motel) is on the eastern edge of the district, at a junction of the A9 road with the A836.