I will be arriving by bus to Venice from Slovenia in mid July and will be there for 2 nights with an early morning departure back to the states on day 3. In which area should I stay in Venice to take advantage of the most opportunity to see interesting things. I will have been in Croatia/Slovenia for 3 weeks and may want an area that is a little off the beaten path in Venice. Thanks for input.
Almost any district except San Marco. Dorsoduro is a little less busy, but still good access to the sights in San Marco.
I also like the Dorsoduro very much, it's quieter and more residential. On my last trip, I stayed at La Calcina. It's a 5-minute walk to the Academia (and vaporetto on the Grand Canal) and there's another vaporetto line that stops almost in front of it, and also goes to San Marco and the train station.
San Marco is actually a pretty huge neighborhood and parts of it are definitely less touristy. But Venice is so compact that it doesn't make much difference where you stay, as long as you stay in Venice proper and not on the mainland (such as Mestre) or on the Lido. That said, the San Polo, and Dorsoduro n'hoods are not on the main tourist "highway" connecting the train station, Rialto and Piazza San Marco. If you really want to be out of the tourist path, consider Castello, to the east of San Marco. FWIW, we're coming up on our fourth visit to Venice. The first two times we stayed at Pensione Guerrato in San Polo. The third time we stayed on the Lido to save money. Big mistake. This time we'll be staying in Dorsoduro.
I don't know how long you are staying, but we rented an apartment on our last trip. Both VRBO and Homeaway have worked for us. I find it difficult to find fairly priced high quality restaurants but the homemade pasta shops are unbeatable. Easy dinner and relaxing, then go out for dessert.
We have stayed at Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo in Dorsuduro and were very happy there. Also have stayed in Cannareggio at Ca Dogaressa and were very happy with the Jr. Suite. It has 3 windows that look out over the Cannareggio Canal which we enjoyed. Although it had a canal view it was quiet at night, which is a plus. I would stay at either hotel again!
Have a Great trip!