I am trying to get away from the idea of having a reception at a hotel as a convenience. I would like to have the reception at a "unique" venue, but not have to worry about guests driving to their hotel. Any suggestions?
You might want to try a less conventional hotel. I also went to CWRU and Glidden House is right on campus (http://www.gliddenhouse.com/). They are a little pricey though. The other thing to consider is that sometimes a hotel will run a shuttle to and from your venue. You can also look into hiring a bus to transport guests. Hope you find your space!
I had the same problem! Have you considered the Old Arcade downtown? It is really unique, but the top two floors are a Hyatt hotel, so it has the best of both worlds. I have a lot of out of town guests so a hotel made sense, but I hated the look of a hotel ballroom. If you have any more questions about it, feel free to email me at email@example.com. Other places to consider if you decide to use a shuttle are the zoo, the courthouse downtown, the botanical gardens, art museum, severance hall, or western reserve historical society. Actually, for the courthouse guests could probably walk to hotels downtown, so that may work too.
Here's one more thing that may be helpful in terms of considering venues...acoustics.
Back when I was considering venues, our wedding planner and photographers mentioned that certain venues, especially ones with very tall ceilings, might look impressive and photograph really well, but can have awful acoustics with a lot of echo. That might not be the biggest concern of the whole process, but maybe something to keep in mind and ask the venue about.