This is a great time to look at Mars in a telescope. Although it is now decreasing in size, it's still big enough. Plus, as Mars rotates, Syrtis Major, a very high contrast feature, becomes visible at convenient hours before midnight for American observers - this will happen in early May, when Mars is still at decent size. For Europeans, Syrtis should be visible these days during early night hours, I think.
Seeing (absence of atmospheric turbulence) is crucial. If seeing is not at least decent (3/5), then you won't see much, or anything at all. In great seeing, you'll see quite a few details.
Make sure your telescope is collimated PERFECTLY. Mars requires great performance from the optics.
Make sure your telescope is at thermal equilibrium with the air - take it outside 1 or even 2 hours before you observe, and let it cool off. Reflectors 200 mm (8") and larger - use a fan on the primary mirror.
Use the highest magnification allowed by seeing.
Here's a tool to predict seeing (pick a location close to your home):
Here's a tool that shows you which side of Mars is visible to you right now:
I did some observations tonight. I used a small aperture (150 mm, or 6"), but seeing was very good (4/5). I was able to discern a few dark features (Mare Acidalium, plus the Mare Erythraeum / Mare Sirenum combo); they were washed out and faint, but clearly there when turbulence was down. The polar cap was excellent - very tiny, but surprisingly bright and clear.
All of this was at 255x. When going down to 180x, the Mare formations were less visible, and the polar cap was all but lost.
Go out and do it. It's a great show.