Valparaíso  is a walker’s city, so long as those walkers are willing to test their legs and lungs on its steep staircases and narrow alleyways—though they may prefer to use the ascensores  whenever possible. The following paragraphs detail the main hill neighborhoods from west to east (unofficial estimates put the total number of hills at about 45).
While the most prominent landmarks are mentioned here, there is much more to see, as the city’s typical constructions, with calamina siding and remarkable if unexpected architectural flourishes, seemingly occupy every square inch of declivitous lots that would be considered unbuildable almost anywhere else in the world. There’s a surprise around every corner, but the most famous feature is poet Pablo Neruda’s La Sebastiana  home on Cerro Bellavista.
At the base of Cerro Artillería, the Plaza Aduana (alternatively known as Plaza Wheelwright) is the site of the former Aduana de Valparaíso (Customs House, 1854), a national monument since superseded by a newer building on Plaza Sotomayor. The Ascensor Artillería climbs to Paseo 21 de Mayo, a harbor-view terrace that’s home to the Museo Naval y Marítimo  (1893), the naval and maritime museum.
Several blocks north of Plaza Sotomayor, at the foot of Cerro Santo Domingo, Plaza Echaurren is the likely spot of Saavedra’s 1536 landing. Almost immediately west, overlooking the Plaza Matriz, the Iglesia la Matriz del Salvador (1842) is one of a series of successors to the original colonial chapel built in 1559. Designed by parish priest José Antonio Riobó, the basilica-style construction is a national historical monument and the heart of Valparaíso ’s oldest barrio; itself a zona típica national monument, the neighborhood has a reputation for petty crime, but Sunday mornings are safe enough, as Porteño faithful gather for Mass and most delinquents are sleeping off their Saturday night debaucheries.
From the top of Calle Hurtado, midway between Plaza Echaurren and Plaza Sotomayor, the Ascensor Cordillera (1887) climbs to Plaza Eleuterio Ramírez, a short stroll from the Museo del Mar Lord Cochrane , which occupies a colonial-style house built by Juan Mouat in 1841. This was also the site of Chile’s first astronomical observatory.
From the Plaza de Justicia, immediately behind Plaza Sotomayor and the Primera Zona Naval, Ascensor El Peral (1902) is the access point to Cerro Alegre, a neighborhood that was picturesque enough to serve as a backdrop for a Chilean TV soap opera some years back.
From El Peral’s upper exit, Paseo Yugoeslavo leads directly to the Palacio Baburizza, a former mansion housing the city’s Museo de Bellas Artes  (Fine Arts Museum). Immediately adjacent is the Universidad de Playa Ancha’s Facultad de Artes, a haven for Porteño art students.
Almost directly south, toward Cerro Concepción, the passageway steps known as Pasaje Bavestrello pass directly through the middle of an apartment building, a nearly perfect integration of public and private space; on occasion, locals project movies onto the apartment walls. Calle Urriola marks the border between Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción.
The city’s first funicular, Ascensor Concepción (1883) climbs from a nearly hidden entrance at the upper end of Carreño, just off Prat, to scenic Paseo Gervasoni.
Among the sights in this zona típica are the Museo El Mirador de Lukas , memorializing Porteño cartoonist and caricaturist Renzo Pecchenino, directly on Gervasoni; Chile’s second Protestant church, dating from 1858; the Iglesia Anglicana San Pablo (Pilcomayo 566; classical organ concerts take place every Sunday at 12:30 p.m.); and the 1897 Gothic-style Iglesia Luterana (Beethoven and Abtao).
Paseo Atkinson and Paseo Dimalow are typical hillside promenades, the latter linking with Ascensor Reina Victoria (1902), an easy route to or from Plaza Aníbal Pinto.
Reached by a series of steep streets and staircases, but no ascensores, Cerro Panteón is home to three ridgetop cemeteries, of which the most interesting is the Cementerio de Disidentes, where Valparaíso ’s non-Catholic immigrant communities found their final resting place. Immediately east is Cerro Cárcel, site of the former city prison.
At the upper end of Huito, reached by Ascensor Espíritu Santo but also by streets and staircases, Cerro Bellavista is the site of the Museo al Cielo Abierto (Open Sky Museum), a series of colorful, mostly abstract, murals in strategic sites by more than a dozen well-known Chilean artists, including Roberto Matta, Nemesio Antúnez, and Roser Bru.
Cerro Bellavista is also the focus of city renovation efforts by the Fundación Valparaíso (Héctor Calvo 205, tel. 0322/593156, www.fundacionvalparaiso.org ), which has renovated an abandoned and dilapidated house into its “campus.” Families in several historical houses here have taken advantage of the Fundación’s technical and financial assistance to restore the facades of their homes.
On Bellavista’s uppermost reaches, poet Pablo Neruda bought La Sebastiana , one of his three outlandish houses (the other two are in Santiago  and at Isla Negra , south of Valparaíso ). Like the others, La Sebastiana  is open to the public.
One of Valparaíso ’s more easterly neighborhoods, Cerro Barón is home to one of its most literally conspicuous landmarks: for arriving vessels, the towering Iglesia San Francisco (Blanco Viel and Zañartu), a national historical monument dating from 1845, was their first glimpse of the city (the port’s historical nickname “Pancho,” a diminutive of Francisco, also derives from the church). The imposing Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (1931) overlooks Avenida España from Cerro Los Placeres.
From the Feria Persa Barón, a working-class flea market at the north end of Avenida Argentina, the Ascensor Barón (1906; the city’s first electric funicular) climbs to the Mirador Diego Portales, a scenic overlook that’s the best starting point for exploring the neighborhood.