Today Mars is closer to Earth than it will be for the next 269 years!
The reason for this varying distance is the red planet’s elliptical orbit which alters the distance between the planets each time Earth overtakes Mars. The attached animation below should give you a feel for how this works.
This close proximity means Mars is particularly bright at the moment shining at magnitude 2.8, and will remain so for the next month and a half. In fact Mars is twice as bright as Jupiter at the moment and will be brighter than the gas giant until September 7th.
Weather permitting you can see Mars sitting low in the South after dark, burning like a brilliant red coal. Viewing surface details requires a telescope at a reasonable magnification, currently hampered by the planet wide dust storms raging on the surface of Mars.