Mestre has long profited from its close proximity to Venice. In the Middle Ages it acted as a gateway to the mainland for Venetian merchants. Today it acts as a gateway to Venice for thousands of tourists looking for better value than the overpriced, overcrowded islands of Venice.
The first time I visited Venice, back in 2006, I passed through Mestre on the train, and it didn't look like much. I was glad I'd decided to stay on the island of Lido instead. But this time I took a chance, and it paid off. Mestre proved a pleasant, if bland, alternative to Lido, which isn't that exciting itself, despite the "Venetian" island claim.
It's less than ten minutes from Mestre to Venice, across the Ponte della Libertà that stretches out into the lagoon. You can travel by bus or train for about a euro, which is nothing compared to the money you'll save on hotels and food. But it's not just savings you'll enjoy - you'll be free of the throngs of tourists and the people who prey on them. Plus you plenty of opportunities to eat great local food, prepared by locals for locals.
Sorry, I haven't got any pictures. It's not really a photogenic place. Not ugly, just... well it's a place people live!