Just getting back into this wonderful hobby, I initially was looking at a GoTo as I am mainly under around the same light pollution as you describe, maybe a touch better. I have an old dob I bought as a teenager back in the mid 80s. Back then my finder was sighting down the tube.
Fast forward to now, Got back in the hobby last December. First thing I did was get a Telrad. Due to extreme cold/clouds, I've only had my scope out a few times. In my light polluted back yard I tried star hopping to a few objects that seemed easy to hop to. That is the Telrad as concentric circles that correspond to degrees in the sky. Using Stellarium [http://stellarium.org/](you should grab this if haven't yet) I picked out a few objects, used the Telrad overlay to see where the circles lied in relation to stars I could see. If it was 2 large circles away, I noted that and moved accordingly. I used that method in my back yard, and found just a few objects in short order. The others I knew I as looking in the right place, just didn't see them.
I then went to a star party last month in much darker skies. Using the same method I easily found those objects that were elusive in my back yard. Found M1 on the first try by just lining up the middle circle on the one star in Taurus. (See attached pic) Lined it up, looked in the eye-piece and there it was. In my backyard I never saw it. I have an 8" scope and it is reported that I SHOULD be able to see them in my conditions as others have seen them with smaller scopes in worse conditions. I am attributing it to my inexperience observing. As I found out, just because you can see something, doesn't mean you are observing; if that makes sense.
I am waiting for the clouds to clear and the star parties to really start up in my area so I can head to darker sites and try the Telrad more. If it proves to work well I'll get a star atlas and make little loops of wires to match the scale to make hopping easier as I prefer to star hop. This link explains that better than I can.... http://www.skyandtel...-the-telescope/
So far I have not found the need for a magnified finder, but, as they say, YMMV.
Another thing I am working on is manual setting circles. Due to me finding out about these not long ago, and a few mis-steps I think this maybe a great addition to star hopping, but I don't have it working 100% yet. I could try to explain it here, but this long link does a much better job. https://www.cloudyni...degree-circles/
My fist mis-step was making my azimuth circle go the wrong way so everything was 180 degrees off, easy fix. The next was trying to use my digital angle finder in sub freezing weather. It was SUPER SLOW to respond so I was chasing it WAY too much. Now I keep it in my pocket when not used to fix that. Final thing is I didn't level the scope so my reading were about 10-20 degrees off. Some in the thread say it isn't necessary. Haven't had a chance yet to try it with a level scope, but I am guessing that will resolve the last issue. I use the Celestron Skyportal and SkEye apps on my phone to get the up-to-date coordinates.
You don't mention where you are, but one of the best things I did was hook up with the local astronomy club. Actually 2 for me as I am in between Pittsburgh and Youngstown. Just google "astronomy clubs near me", or if you don't have location services active, "astronomy clubs near <your town here> My only, so far, star party I went to was extremely helpful. Learned more in one night there than the whole time I've been on CN, and that's saying something as CN has been VERY VERY helpful. Nothing like seeing actual scopes and viewing through different ones to see what you like. For me I compared my 30+ year old 8" to a modern 12" and if I was sitting down I would have fell out of my chair. It was only one object (M42), but the difference was night and day. WAY more than I expected it would have been. I plan on hitting more star parties and viewing different objects with different scopes/eyepieces before deciding if I want to upgrade.
Edited by AnalogKid, 13 April 2018 - 10:59 AM.