The Birchwood neighborhood contains large lots, mature landscaping, and narrow streets, which lend a rural atmosphere to the neighborhood. Apartment complexes have been constructed in the multifamily zoned areas primarily along Northwest Avenue and W. Maplewood. In addition, there is a commercial area located near the intersection of Northwest, W. Maplewood and Birchwood Avenue that provides services to the Birchwood, Cornwall Park and Columbia neighborhoods.
Other significant features of the neighborhood include the Bellingham Golf and Country Club, the Squalicum Creek Greenbelt, Bellingham Technical College and Shuksan Middle School.
Birchwood Park provides neighborhood amenities including a playground, basketball court, picnic shelter and open play field. Shuksan Meadows, adjacent to Shuksan Middle School, provides a playground and half-court basketball near the apartment complexes. Squalicum Creek Park is a new community park acquired with Beyond Greenway Levy funds. The master plan for this 42-acre park includes lighted ball fields, multi-use fields, playgrounds, picnic shelters, enclosed pavilion building and an off-leash dog park. Little Squalicum Park, located just outside the neighborhood boundary, provides salt water frontage on Bellingham Bay. The Bay-to- Baker Trail and greenway connects Little Squalicum, Birchwood and Squalicum Creek Parks.