How do I find events (free/paid) that would allow me to play chess locally with other players?
The USCF has a registry of all USCF-sanctioned chess clubs.
Searching for "chess" on Meetup.com will return any meetup groups in your area.
Your problem is meeting people who play chess. Google is a good starting place. Look for clubs. Also consider travel to tournaments.
Try meetup. Check with libraries and churches and schools at all levels. It may be informal not an official club that plays.
Look in the park when the weather is good. Put an ad on craigslist. Ads on bulletin boards. Ask people.
Play with a set in public. Coffee shops and malls. People will see you and may want to play.
These days many prefer to play online instead of in person. Try it. Also there are apps and programs that play well.