We report on the hard X-ray burst and the first similar to 100 days of NICER monitoring of the soft X-ray temporal and spectral evolution of the newly discovered magnetar Swift J1818.0-1607. The burst properties are typical of magnetars with a duration of T-90 = 10 4 ms and a temperature ofkT = 8.4 0.7 keV. The 2-8 keV pulse shows a broad, single-peak profile with a pulse fraction increasing with time from 30% to 43%. The NICER observations reveal strong timing noise with (v) over dot varying erratically by a factor of 10, with an average long-term spin-down rate of (v) over dot = (-2.48 +/- 0.03) x 10(-11) s(-2), implying an equatorial surface magnetic field of 2.5 x 10(14) G and a young characteristic age of similar to 470 yr. We detect a large spin-up glitch at MJD 58928.56 followed by a candidate spin-down glitch at MJD 58934.81, with no accompanying flux enhancements. The persistent soft X-ray spectrum of Swift J1818.0-1607 can be modeled as an absorbed blackbody with a temperature of similar to 1 keV. Its flux decayed by similar to 60% while the modeled emitting area decreased by similar to 30% over the NICER observing campaign. This decrease, coupled with the increase in the pulse fraction, points to a shrinking hot spot on the neutron star surface. Assuming a distance of 6.5 kpc, we measure a peak X-ray luminosity of 1.9 x 10(35)erg s(-1), lower than its spin-down luminosity of 7.2 x 10(35)erg s(-1). Its quiescent thermal luminosity is less than or similar to 1.7 x 10(34)erg s(-1), lower than those of canonical young magnetars. We conclude that Swift J1818.0-1607 is an important link between regular magnetars and high-magnetic-field, rotation-powered pulsars.